Hunting season in North Dakota is a great time to make memories with your family and friends. The best hunting trip is when everyone comes home uninjured, except for the wild animal that you got! Before you go hunting, please remember these safety tips.
Know and follow the rules of firearm safety and practice safe behavior.
Load a firearm when you are in the field (away from buildings and vehicles) and you are ready to hunt.
Make sure your muzzle is pointed in a safe direction and your safety remains on until you are ready to fire.
Unload your gun when you are crossing hazards, such as slippery streams or deep ravines, going up or down steep hillsides, and when crossing fences.
If someone is ahead of you, or behind you, you’ll need to use judgement to determine if you should carry your firearm on your shoulder or a sling, in a cradle or two-hand carry position across your chest, or with your firearm pointed directly ahead while held on your arm near the elbow in an elbow or side carry position.
When crossing a fence or a deep ravine, make sure to unload your firearm and have a friend hold the firearm for you until you cross the obstacle. Once you are across, your friend can pass your firearm back to you keeping the muzzle pointed in a safe direction.
If you are crossing a ravine or creek by yourself, place the unloaded firearm on your shoulder with a sling so you have both hands free to aid with balance.
If you are crossing a fence, place the unloaded firearm on the ground with the muzzle pointing away from you and where you’ll cross the fence. Cross over, move in behind the firearm’s stock, reach under the fence, and move the firearm to you while watching the muzzle’s direction.
When going into your deer stand, take your unloaded firearm and tie a strong piece of rope onto the grip. Gently lay the firearm on the ground and tie the other end of the rope to your waist so it doesn’t become entangled in your feet. Climb up, secure your safety harness and pull the firearm up.
Going down the tree stand, follow this in the reverse order. As your lowered unarmed firearm nears the ground, slowly let it touch the ground and lower it until it is lying flat on the ground before climbing down.
Prepare an emergency preparedness pack and include the following: flashlight, fire-starting items including a lighter and tender, a whistle, a few snack bars, a poncho or rain suit, compass and map, a small folding saw, mirror for signaling and any necessary medications. You should also pack a first aid kit.
When you are hunting with someone else or a group, make sure to stop and discuss who can safely shoot. Know the safe zone before pull the trigger.
After you shoot any animal, proceed with caution. A wounded animal may behave in unpredictable ways. Stay behind the animal as you approach it.
If you are hunting with dogs, make sure you know where the dogs are at all times. Dogs tend to jump to catch fleeing birds and move into your zone of fire. Let the bird fly high before you swing and shoot.
Safety information above is from the National Rifle Association.