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Pheasant Hunting Safety

In owning a firearm, you must undertake full-time responsibility for the firearm's safety and security. You must protect yourself and all others against injury from the firearm. Many safety features are incorporated in firearms. For your safety and the safety of others, do not rely on mechanical features alone.

Some items to remember for overall safety while hunting:

  • Always keep the muzzle pointed in a safe direction.
  • Treat every firearm as though it were loaded.
  • Always make sure the firearm is unloaded and keep the action open except when actually hunting or preparing to shoot.
  • Be sure the barrel and action are clear of obstruction and that you have the proper ammunition for the firearm you are carrying.
  • Be sure of your target before you pull the trigger.
  • Never point a firearm at anything you do not want to shoot. Avoid all horseplay with any firearm.
  • Never climb a fence, tree, or jump a ditch with a loaded firearm.
  • Never shoot at a flat hard surface or water.
  • Avoid alcohol and other drugs before or during shooting.
  • Never pass your firearm to another person until the cylinder or action is open and you visually check that it is unloaded.
  • Do not allow a firearm to be used by individuals who do not understand its safe operation and the rules of safe gun handling.
  • Be sure all accessories, such as holsters and grips, are compatible with the firearm and that the accessories do not interfere with safe operation.
  • Store your unloaded firearm and ammunition separately and in places inaccessible to children and unauthorized persons.
  • Wear safety glasses and ear protection whether indoors or out.
  • Always be aware of other people so that persons cannot accidentally walk into the line of fire.
  • Be alert at all times. Never shoot if you are tired, cold or impaired in any way.
  • Your firearm has been designed for ammunition of a specific type and caliber; do not alter the barrel, slide, or chamber of your gun.
  • Use only commercially manufactured ammunition.
  • If your firearm fails to fire when the hammer falls (misfires), keep the firearm pointed in a safe direction, remove your finger from the trigger, wait 10 seconds, remove the cartridge from the chamber and dispose of it properly.
  • If you hear an unusual sound or feel an unusual recoil when firing, stop firing, wait 10 seconds, unload the firearm, and examine the barrel bore for obstructions.
  • Make sure your barrel is clear and free of obstruction. If you see an obstruction, have the firearm serviced by a qualified, licensed gun smith. Never fire a firearm with an obstructed barrel.
  • Protect your firearms from theft.
  • Protect your firearms from misuse by untrained, unqualified or incompetent persons.
  • Obey all laws relating to the transportation of firearms.

Another great resource is the National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF) brochure on gun safety.