Primitive weapons, like all firearms, should be handled with care. According to the Georgia Department of Natural Resources’ Wildlife Resources Division, hunters participating in the upcoming primitive weapons deer hunting season, Oct. 11-17, should be aware of the specific safety precautions that are required when using primitive weapons, such as muzzleloaders.
“All hunters planning on using a black powder gun during the upcoming primitive weapons season, especially those new to muzzleloaders, need to be aware of their specific safety requirements,” says Walter Lane, hunter development program manager with the Wildlife Resources Division. “While some of the basic firearms safety precautions, such as muzzle control and treating every gun as if it was loaded, remain the same, black powder guns have some specific safety tips that should be understood.”
Following are recommendations to ensure a safe experience:
- Never smoke in the proximity of a muzzleloader.
- Use an intermediate device, such as a measure, to pour powder into a barrel.
- Keep flask and powder containers away from flames and sparks to prevent an accidental explosion.
- Use only powders specific to each muzzleloader and recommended by that firearms manufacturer.
- Place percussion cap on nipple only when ready to shoot.
- The gun is safely unloaded only after removing the bullet, powder and percussion cap. If using a flintlock muzzleloader, remove the bullet and powder, and un-prime the flash pan.
- Use the recommended loading materials, the correct powder charge, the right diameter and weight bullet and the correct lead material.
- Never use plastic (poly) patches. These are different from sabots.
- Treat a misfire as though the gun could fire at any moment.
- Make sure the gun is unloaded before attempting to clean it.
- Make sure the projectile is firmly seated on the powder before capping and firing.
- Never blow down the barrel of a muzzleloader to clear or extinguish sparks.
- Keep the muzzle pointed in a safe direction.
- Read the owner’s manual and be familiar with its operation before using a muzzle-loading firearm.
- Handle every gun as if it was loaded.
- Do not use alcohol or drugs while handling a firearm.
All hunters, including archers, must wear at least 500 square inches of daylight fluorescent orange above the waist during the primitive weapons season.
To pursue deer in Georgia, hunters must have a valid hunting license, big game license and a current deer harvest record. If hunting on a WMA, a WMA license is required. Licenses can be purchased online at www.gohuntgeorgia.com/licenses-permits-passes , by phone at 1-800-366-2661 or at a license agent (list of agents available online).
For more information on muzzleloader safety, visit www.gohuntgeorgia.com/hunting/education.