Enjoy your hunt, and follow these basic safety guidelines to get home safe and sound. Most important of all, keep the muzzle of your gun pointed in a safe direction at all times. Be 100% sure not only of your target, but what’s beyond it; even small bullets can travel a mile and half. No hunter, especially when “swinging” on game, should allow his or her gun to point at a person. Better to pass up a shot than risk injuring someone or damaging property.
- Deer/Bear/Small Game Hunters: Only load your gun when you’re ready to hunt, and unload it immediately after. Also, it’s hard to overstate the importance of wearing a fluorescent orange hat, vest, or jacket.
- Crossbows: It is unlawful to have a crossbow cocked while transporting it in a vehicle. Treat a cocked crossbow like a loaded firearm.
- Turkey Hunters: Never stalk a turkey—instead, scout out a good spot, call and wait for the turkeys to come to you. Always wear blaze orange as you enter and leave an area. Tie orange survey tape around a nearby tree to alert other hunters to your presence. Lean against a backstop that’s at least as wide as your shoulders. Avoid clothes that are red, white and blue and black, the colors of the male turkey.
- Pheasant Hunters: It is critically important that bird hunters know their surroundings and the whereabouts of their hunting partners and others before taking a shot. When a bird goes up and you are not sure where everyone is, hold your fire. Control the muzzle of your firearm at all times, and always maintain a safe zone of fire—the area in which you can shoot. Wear safety glasses and hunter orange on your head, back, and chest.
- Muzzleloaders: Black powder technology is getting better all the time, drawing more participants to this time-honored tradition. Treat every muzzleloader as if it were holding a charge, and mark the ramrod so you can easily check. Be extra careful to attach the ignition source only when you’re ready to hunt—once primed, the gun is ready to fire.
- Tree Stands: A number of serious incidents have happened to N.H. hunters using tree stands in recent years. Stay safe by always using a properly fitting full-body harness while climbing trees, installing or hunting from an elevated platform or tree stand. Never carry hunting equipment up or down the tree with you, always use a haul line. When hauling a gun into or out of a tree stand, keep the firearm muzzle pointed away from you. Keep firearms unloaded and the actions open, and broadheads in a hard-cased quiver, when using a haul line.
Rules for Safe Hunting
- Control the muzzle of your firearm. It should be pointed in a safe direction at all times. Treat every firearm as if it were loaded!
- Be sure of your target and look beyond, before you ever raise your firearm or draw your bow.
- Wear hunter orange to make yourself more visible to other hunters. Never assume you are alone in the woods.