Primitive weapons, such as muzzleloaders, have specific safety use rules, beyond general firearms safety, that should be reviewed each year before heading to the woods. 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.
- Treat a misfire as though the gun could fire at any moment.
- 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.
- Make sure the gun is unloaded before attempting to clean it.
- 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, a big game license and a current deer harvest record. Licenses can be purchased online at www.GoOutdoorsGeorgia.com, by phone at 1-800-366-2661 or at a license agent (list of agents available online).
For more information on hunting safety, visit http://georgiawildlife.com/hunting/huntersafetytips.