For the 2009-2010 hunting season, Georgia reported 45 hunting incidents, 14 of which involved firearms. With the upcoming Oct. 16 opening of firearms deer hunting season, hunters are encouraged to review the ‘Ten Commandments of Firearms Safety’ before heading to the woods.
“Ultimately, each hunter is responsible for keeping themselves and others safe while pursuing deer this hunting season,” says Walter Lane, Hunter Development Program Manager of the Department of Natural Resources’ Wildlife Resources Division. “This includes respecting all firearms and being absolutely certain of their target.”
The ‘Ten Commandments of Firearms Safety’ is an excellent safety checklist, covered in all hunter education courses and well worth a review by any hunter who utilizes firearms to hunt. The commandments are as follows:
One: Control the direction of the firearm’s muzzle. Keep the safety on and fingers off the trigger at all times until ready to shoot.
Two: Identify the target and what is beyond it before shooting. Know the identifying features of the game hunted and be absolutely certain that what you are aiming at is that game.
Three: Treat every firearm as if it is loaded.
Four: Be sure the barrel and action are clear of obstructions and that only the proper size ammunition is used in the firearm.
Five: Always unload a firearm when it is not in use, leave the actions open, and carry empty firearms in a case to and from shooting areas.
Six: Never aim a firearm at anything that you do not intend to shoot. Avoid all horseplay with a firearm.
Seven: Never climb a tree or fence, or jump a ditch or log, with a loaded firearm. Never pull a firearm towards you by the muzzle.
Eight: Never shoot a bullet at a flat, hard surface or at water. Make sure backstops are adequate during target practice.
Nine: Store firearms and ammunition separately and beyond the reach of children and careless adults.
Ten: Avoid all alcoholic beverages and drugs before and during shooting.
For more information on firearms safety, visit www.gohuntgeorgia.com or contact the Wildlife Resources Division’s Hunter Education office at (770) 388-0045.