30 Deer Hunting Safety Tips

By author of Brow Tines and Backstrap

Do You Hunt Responsibly?

Safety. It's rule No. 1 when deer hunting. Be responsible. Be safe. Here are 30 things you should be sure to do (or not do) while in the field.

Keep Guns and Ammo Locked Away When Not Being UsedPass a Hunter’s Education Course Before HuntingDon’t Mix Drinking and Smoking with Hunting and the Shooting SportsTell Someone Where You’ll Be Hunting AtCheck Weather Forecasts and Monitor It While AfieldKeep Navigating Tools with You on the HuntDress Properly for the Hunt You’re Going OnDon’t Wear Clothing with Similar Colors as the Game You PursueWear Camouflage InsteadInclude First-Aid and Survival Gear in Your Hunting PackAlways Point Your Weapon in a Safe DirectionWear Safety Glasses and Ear Plugs When Sighting FirearmsAlways Act as If a Gun Is Loaded (Even When It Isn’t)Unload Firearms When Not Actively Hunting in the FieldDon’t Hold Firearms In-Hand When Crossing Fences and Other ObstaclesPrevent and Check for Barrel Obstructions in FirearmsIf Your Gun Doesn’t Fire, Keep It Pointed in a Safe Direction and WaitAlways Check Weapons for Faulty PartsWear Hunter Orange During Firearm SeasonsIf You See Another Hunter, Make Yourself Known with Sound — Not MotionUse a Flashlight When Hunting in Areas Near Other HuntersBe Mindful and Respectful of Other Hunters Around YouInspect Treestands and Blinds for Damage AnnuallyUse a Safety Harness and Safety Line When Hunting from Elevated PositionsKeep Three Points of Contact When ClimbingUnload Guns Before Pulling Them Up into a TreestandClearly Identify Your Target Before Taking the ShotDon’t Take Shots at Game Without a BackgroundOrchestrate Deer Drives ResponsiblyBe Aware of Dangerous Game While Hunting in Areas That Have ThemBonus: Everything Else

1 | Keep Guns and Ammo Locked Away When Not Being Used

Firearm safety doesn’t just extend to the outdoors. It’s in the home, too. Keep your weapons locked in a safe where others can’t get to them — especially kids. Also, store the ammo safely and locked up separate from the firearms so that if someone gains access to the gun safe, they still don’t have ammunition to use.

Photo Credit: Shutterstock / Heller

2 | Pass a Hunter’s Education Course Before Hunting

Every person who wants to hunt should pass a hunter’s education course. You learn vital hunting 101 things you need to know before heading afield.

Photo Credit: Shutterstock

3 | Don’t Mix Drinking and Smoking with Hunting and the Shooting Sports

Do you drink or smoke? Don’t mix them with hunting or shooting. They don’t belong together. Leave the alcohol and smokes out of it. Be responsible.

Photo Credit: Shutterstock / JF Wallker

4 | Tell Someone Where You’ll Be Hunting At

You hope nothing ever goes wrong. But it can. And it does. Letting someone know where you’ll be hunting in the event things go south is good insurance that someone will find you in time of need. Leave a note on the table.

Photo Credit: Shutterstock / Korovin

5 | Check Weather Forecasts and Monitor It While Afield

Mother Nature is tough. She doesn’t discriminate. Stay vigilant in checking the weather before and during your trip into the outdoors. It could save your life in the event that inclement weather pops up.

Photo Credit: Josh Honeycutt

6 | Keep Navigating Tools with You on the Hunt

Map. Compass. GPS. Keep navigating tools in your hunting pack in the event you get lost. Better to have it and not need it than need it and not have it.

Photo Credit: Josh Honeycutt

7 | Dress Properly for the Hunt You’re Going On

Dressing appropriately is key. Don’t wear too much. Don’t wear too little. You don’t want to sweat. You don’t want to get cold. Hypothermia isn’t a joke.

Photo Credit: Josh Honeycutt

8 | Don’t Wear Clothing with Similar Colors as the Game You Pursue

Wearing clothing that looks like the game you’re pursuing isn’t a good idea. Making it possible for another hunter to mistake you for something you aren’t is a great way for an accident to happen.

Photo Credit: Shutterstock /  Dokhlib

9 | Wear Camouflage Instead

Instead, wear a quality Realtree camo pattern that will help conceal you. You want to blend into your environment — not stand out.

Photo Credit: Josh Honeycutt

10 | Include First-Aid and Survival Gear in Your Hunting Pack

Survival gear is important to keep in your pack. Emergency blankets. Bandages. Disinfectant. The whole kit. Have it all on hand in the event you or someone else gets injured or stranded.

Photo Credit: Shutterstock / Zhelty

11 | Always Point Your Weapon in a Safe Direction

Keep the business end of your hunting weapon pointed in a safe direction at all times. Don’t point it toward people. That might sound rudimentary. But you wouldn’t believe the number of times I was walking in the woods and gun barrel was pointed toward my face. It happens.

Photo Credit: Josh Honeycutt

12 | Wear Safety Glasses and Ear Plugs When Sighting Firearms

Your hearing and eyesight are irreplaceable commodities. Don’t take them for granted. Wear safety glasses and ear plugs anytime you use or are around firearms.

Photo Credit: Shutterstock / Joe Belanger

13 | Always Act as If a Gun Is Loaded (Even When It Isn’t)

Always act as if the guns you (and others) have are loaded — even if you know they aren’t. It’s good practice to treat all guns as if they have a round chambered and ready to fire. Respect the power a firearm has and don’t forget to take it seriously.

Photo Credit: Chantal Honeycutt

14 | Unload Firearms When Not Actively Hunting in the Field

If you aren’t in the field, there shouldn’t be any bullets in your gun. Unload firearms before going indoors. Unload them before getting into vehicles. Simply put, if you aren’t taking aim or waiting to do so, there shouldn’t be a round in your gun.

Photo Credit: Shutterstock / Vadim

15 | Don’t Hold Firearms In-Hand When Crossing Fences and Other Obstacles

It’s one of the first things you learn in your hunter’s education course. It’s a great rule of thumb, too. Don’t hold a firearm when crossing fences and other obstacles. If you’re on your own, safely lay the gun on the ground. If with someone, hand the gun across to them after they cross.

Photo Credit: Josh Honeycutt

16 | Prevent and Check for Barrel Obstructions in Firearms

A barrel obstruction is a one-way ticket to serious harm or even death. Firing a round when something is blocking inside the barrel is extremely dangerous. Take every precaution to prevent this from happening.

Photo Credit: Shutterstock

17 | If Your Gun Doesn’t Fire, Keep It Pointed in a Safe Direction and Wait

Misfires aren’t altogether common. But they do happen. When they do, keep your gun pointed in a safe direction for at least two or three minutes. Even if you pull the trigger, and the round doesn’t fire, it could do a delayed fire. That’s no bueno. Best keep the gun pointed safely in case it does.

Photo Credit: Shutterstock / Karina

18 | Always Check Weapons for Faulty Parts

Damaged equipment has serious potential for bodily harm. Regularly check your equipment for faulty parts to prevent this.

Photo Credit: Chantal Honeycutt

19 | Wear Hunter Orange During Firearm Seasons

State laws don’t require it for no reason. Wear hunter orange during all firearm seasons — even if it isn’t required. You can’t be too careful when gun hunting in areas where other hunters could possibly be.

Photo Credit: Bergara

20 | If You See Another Hunter, Make Yourself Known with Sound — Not Motion

It’s extremely common for hunters to bump into other hunters while in the outdoors. When this happen, speak out to them without moving. Make your presence known, and once they’ve heard and acknowledged you’re there, then move.

Photo Credit: Bill Konway

21 | Use a Flashlight When Hunting in Areas Near Other Hunters

I generally don’t use a flashlight (when it’s dark) while hunting on private property that other hunters aren’t on. But if there is even a slight possibility that someone could be in the area, use a flashlight to make your presence known so you aren’t mistaken for an animal.

Photo Credit: Coleman

22 | Be Mindful and Respectful of Other Hunters Around You

Respect others. That simple act will prevent a lot of altercations that happen between hunters every season. Keep that in your hip pocket for when you find yourself in a stressful situation.

Photo Credit: Bill Konway

23 | Inspect Treestands and Blinds for Damage Annually

Treestands and ground blinds break down over time. Do annual inspections at the very least is crucial for safety. Check for rusted metal, loose bolts and broken components. Fix them if you can. Replace them if you can’t.

Photo Credit: Realtree

24 | Use a Safety Harness and Safety Line When Hunting from Elevated Positions

Wearing a safety harness and using a safety line doesn’t need explanation. Use them. You risk everything by not doing so.

Photo Credit: Realtree

25 | Keep Three Points of Contact When Climbing

Follow the three-point rule when climbing into a stand or elevated blind. This is important for safe climbing of any kind.

Photo Credit: Shutterstock /  Realtree

26 | Unload Guns Before Pulling Them Up into a Treestand

Don’t hoist a loaded gun into the treestand. Unload it before you pull it up. One simple act that could save your or someone else’s life.

Photo Credit: Kimber

27 | Clearly Identify Your Target Before Taking the Shot

Don’t shoot unless you clearly identify your target. Don’t shoot if you’re unsure what you’re looking at. Take responsible shots — not risky ones.

Photo Credit: Shutterstock / Allred

28 | Don’t Take Shots at Game Without a Background

Make sure there’s a safe background beyond your target. Shooting at game that’s sky-lined is unacceptable. Bullets can travel for miles without a safe background to stop them. Always make sure there’s (safe) solid ground beyond your target.

Photo Credit: Shutterstock

29 | Orchestrate Deer Drives Responsibly

Deer drives are effective. But they can be dangerous if not executed properly (and safely). Map out where everyone will be. Know where they are at all times. Never shoot in anyone else’s direction.

Photo Credit: Realtree

30 | Be Aware of Dangerous Game While Hunting in Areas That Have Them

Predators are just that — predators. Be aware of your surroundings when hunting in areas they inhabit. Your life might just depend on it.

Photo Credit: Terje

31 | Bonus: Everything Else

It’s important to note that we’ve barely scratched the surface here. There are hundreds of other safety tips we haven’t even hinted at. The key point — always be safe and responsible when deer hunting.

Don’t Miss: 20 Deer Hunting Lies Your Granddaddy Told You

Photo Credit: Josh Honeycutt

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