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Shooting Safety Tips

The best tip is to review, understand, and obey the Ten Commandments of Firearms Safety.

Clay Target Shooting

Clay target shooting games provide an opportunity to test your shooting skills. The games are fun and also allow hunters to brush up on their marksmanship before the hunt. Safety rules on the clay target range are simple:

  • Review, understand and obey the Ten Commandments of Firearms Safety.
  • Watch the muzzle of the gun at all times, carrying the gun so that it doesn't point at your fellow shooters or guide.
  • Guns are loaded only when it is your turn to shoot.
  • Shooting glasses are required on the range as well as while field hunting. This is especially important while shooting because target fragments could fall on you.
  • Ear plugs or muffs are recommended and usually required on the range.

Keep your gun actions open while preparing to shoot, when removing or returning guns to a vehicle, or when simply visiting with friends on the range.

Upland Game

Pheasant and upland hunting offers some of the most exciting wing shooting. It also requires special attention to safety rules since you will be in the field at close quarters with a fellow hunter, a guide and a dog. It is also important to remember that flushed birds have unpredictable flight paths.  Always be sure to review, understand and obey the Ten Commandments of Firearms Safety.

Attention must be paid to your gun carry to ensure that the muzzle is always pointed away from your companions. Ensure that you, your fellow hunter, or guide agree on your zones of fire. Only take shots in your zone. Do not shoot at birds that fly between you, the guide or your fellow hunter. When in doubt, pass up the shot.

While you are walking the fields, stay in a line with your guide or your fellow hunter. This will not only provide a greater margin of safety, but improves the chance of flushing a bird. Also, be very careful not to take low shots that might endanger a dog.


Safety in waterfowl hunting begins before you enter the hunting blinds:

  • Review, understand and obey the Ten Commandments of Firearms Safety.
  • Make sure that the gun safety is on at all times, except when you are ready to shoot.
  • Guns should be loaded only with the muzzle pointed in a safe direction, preferably up.
  • Make sure you and your hunting partner agree on your zones of fire.
  • Guns should be stored vertically in the blind in a secure position until it is time to shoot. Don’t rest your gun across your lap.
  • Be conscious of muzzle blast at all times and don’t shoot over or near your hunting partner.
  • Assist your guide or partner by "marking" downward birds.
  • Tag your birds as soon as convenient for transportation to the picking room.
  • Good sportsmen only take shots they can make. This reduces the possibility of crippling a bird. When in doubt, pass up the shot. If you have questions about range or distance, check with your guide.
  • While you are waterfowling stay in the blind. Be sure and check with your guide or partner if you plan on retrieving a bird yourself.

Finally, before leaving the blind, and again before entering a vehicle, make sure your shotgun action is open and check your gun to ensure it is unloaded.

Courtesy of Remington


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