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Hunting Safety Tips

Hunting Regulations Icon Massachusetts Hunting & Fishing

Ten Basic Rules of Firearm Safety

  1. Treat every firearm as if it were loaded.
  2. Keep the muzzle pointed in a safe direction. Keep the action open and unloaded. Keep the safety “on” and your finger off the trigger.
  3. Be sure the barrel of the firearm is clear of obstructions. Check the chamber and magazine every time you pick it up. Only carry and use ammunition appropriate for your firearm.
  4. Never point a firearm at anything you do not intend to shoot. Agree to safe zones of fire for yourself and hunting companions and never swing beyond your area.
  5. Positively identify your target and what lies beyond. Make sure there is an adequate backstop when hunting or target practicing.
  6. Unload your firearm when climbing a tree, crossing a fence, jumping a ditch or traversing slippery or steep terrain. Never pull a firearm toward you by the muzzle.
  7. Be aware of the potential for ricochet. Never shoot at a hard, flat surface or water.
  8. Unload firearms when not in use, leaving the action open. Transport and carry firearms unloaded and cased when traveling to and from the field or target practice
  9. Store firearms and ammunition separately in locked compartments and beyond the reach of children.
  10. Never use alcohol or drugs that can impair your judgment before or while shooting.

Treestand Safety Tips

Treestands are popular with both hunters and wildlife photographers. Unfortunately, people fall from treestands every year which can result in serious injuries and potential death. Users can prevent these accidents by using caution while climbing up into and down from the stand and by wearing a full body fall-arrest harness system. Take a free online safety course offered in partnership with HunterCourse.com at www.huntercourse.com/treestandsafety. With a little common sense and an awareness of potential hazards, you can have a safe and enjoyable experience.

Safe Treestand Users ALWAYS:

  • Wear and properly use a certified full body fall-arrest harness system (FBFAHS) and certified treestands.
  • Read, understand and follow equipment manufacturer’s instructions.
  • Practice at ground level with their treestand and FBFAHS with another person present before the hunt.
  • Raise and lower an unloaded gun, bow, backpack and other gear with a haul line.
  • Select a live, healthy, straight tree that is the right size for their treestand.
  • Use only certified equipment & replace damaged or expired harnesses and stands.
  • Are safe and never hurry; keeping proper contact with the tree or treestand while climbing.
  • Have emergency equipment and a plan for recovery if a fall occurs. Take precautions to prevent suspension trauma.
  • Let a reliable person know where they will be, when they will return and who is with them.
  • Know their limitations and don’t take chances.