Outdoor Articles

Small game hunting and your safety in the wilderness

by Pursue The Outdoors on September 17th, 2006 in Safety

Small game hunting is a sport that pursues small animals to kill them for food or for prestige. Weapons usually used to hunt small game are guns, bow and arrows, or even the crossbow. Also called projectile weapons, it has had its fair share of accidents in the wilderness so rules have been set up for the safety of its enthusiasts.

A misfired weapon has a good chance of injuring or even killing the shooter and becomes a danger to his companions near him. Here are a few suggestions of how to practice safety in the wilderness:

1. Always assume a gun is loaded. Treat your weapons with the respect they deserve; even when the weapon is unloaded.

2. Never point your gun at anything you don’t intend to shoot. Make this a habit even when the weapon isn’t loaded.


3. An unused weapon must always be pointed in a safe direction.

4. Safeties that prevent the weapon from firing must be engaged until right before use, for an added level of safety.

5. Keep calm in all circumstances. Panicking or even unnecessarily hurrying increases the chances of an accident. An emotional person has no business handling a weapon. During times of high stress and anxiety they have greater chance of causing an accident.

6. Keep your target in front of you when stalking or lying in wait: this increases the chances of killing the game with minimal risk. Keep members of your party at your side or behind you.

7. See then shoot. Don’t shoot at anything you’re not sure of: you never know, you might be shooting at another human being. The recent accident caused by Dick Cheney to his hunting partner serves as a reminder to this rule.

8. Before attempting to climb, rappel, or dig, always unload your weapon; remove the cartridges or magazine from the weapon and check for rounds in the chamber.

9. Be aware of your weapon’s capability. Always know how far and how powerful your weapon is. This reduces the chances of shooting through a target into something you have no desire of hitting.

10. Wear ear plugs if needed to protect your hearing.

11. Before and after a hunt, always check and clean your weapon. Neglecting to do this may cause an accident due to worn or unclean parts; misfires and/or backfires can occur due to stoppages, rust, loose parts, etc. If necessary, carry tools to maintain your weapon in the field: remember to unload the weapon first.

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