5 Gun Safety Basics

Gun safety is extremely important when hunting and any time you handle firearms. Proper gun safety is an attitude, not just actions. I'm going to talk about 5 of the basic principles of gun safety, which are: 1. Treat every gun as if it were loaded 2. Always point your gun in a safe direction. 3. Never point your gun at anything you don't intend to shoot. 4. Keep your finger off the trigger until your ready to shoot. 5. Be sure of your target and what's beyond. Now that those are out on the table, here's a bit more on why each rule is so important. 1) Treat every gun as if it were loaded, because it encourages more safe handling of the gun rather than having an attitude, like, Oh, its OK. I know it's unloaded. These unloaded guns actually result in many accidents every single year. 2) Always remember to keep your gun pointed in a safe direction when you are handling it. What this means is that the muzzle should be pointed in such a direction that if the gun were to magically discharge on its own, no one would get hurt and no property would be damaged. 3) Never point your gun at anything you don't intend to shoot. What this means is that you should never point your gun at another hunter, dog, house, vehicle, etc. This also means that you should not use your gun's scope—if it has one—to look at animals in the distance, unless you intend to shoot what you are looking at. 4) Always keep your finger off the trigger until you are ready to shoot. Some triggers are hair triggers meaning that it only takes a very light pressure to make the trigger fire the gun. If you're like me, when your sights are trained on an animal, your blood is really pumping and your excitement level is sometimes through the roof! If you follow this simple rule, you can avoid throwing shots and avoid a flinch or startle reaction that causes the gun to shoot. 5) Be sure of your target and what is beyond. The bullet that you fire from the gun is not going to just magically stop after it hits what you are shooting at, unless you are shooting at a proper backstop, like a mound of dirt. An animal's body is not sufficient to stop a speeding bullet, so what that means is that after the bullet strikes its target, it keeps speeding along until it hits something that WILL stop it, like a house or car, or until gravity takes over. A little story about this one: I was deer hunting with my brother one time, and I had gotten cold, so we decided to walk back to the truck. On our way, we looked to the edge of a bean field to our right, and saw several deer. There was a small brushy irrigation ditch between us and the deer, and we decided to sneak up to the ditch to get a better look at the deer and see if I could get a shot at one. Once we got up to the ditch, we were about 150 yards from the deer, which was easily in range for the 30-06 I was carrying. We saw bucks, and four or five does (I don't really remember now because I was so focused on the bucks). The two bucks were both nice, but one of them was HUGE! I wanted to shoot the bigger of the two, and my brother gave me the go ahead. I looked through the scope, and the deer kept walking farther and farther into the bean field, from right to left. Just when I was about to shoot, my brother told me that I couldn't, because there was a house in the distance, directly past the deer. I was sure that I wouldn't miss, and I didn't completely understand at the time why he wouldn't let me shoot, but now I do. Anyway, to end this little story, I ended up shooting the smaller of the two bucks, and after we found it, we discovered that it was bigger than any buck my brother had ever shot, and was as wide as his chest! A nice buck and a valuable lesson in gun safety...not a bad day in the field! Have fun and STAY SAFE! Jessie Ann :-)