Hunters should be alert and aware during primitive weapons deer hunting season, Oct. 13-19, as muzzleloaders require specific safety precautions, according to the Georgia Department of Natural Resources’ Wildlife Resources Division.
“Hunters using muzzleloading guns should know that they have specific safety precautions,” says Walter Lane, Wildlife Resources Division hunter development program manager. “Be familiar with the difference between these types of firearms and modern firearms before heading to the woods.”
Following are recommendations to ensure a safe experience:
- Keep the muzzle pointed in a safe direction.
- Never rely solely on the gun’s “safety” mechanism.
- Handle every gun as if it was loaded.
- Do not use alcohol or drugs while handling a firearm.
- Never smoke in the proximity of a muzzleloader.
- Use an intermediate device, such as a measure, to pour powder into a barrel.
- Keep flask and powder containers away from flames and sparks to prevent an accidental explosion.
- Use only powders specific to each muzzleloader and recommended by that firearms manufacturer.
- Place percussion cap on nipple only when ready to shoot.
- The gun is safely unloaded only after removing the bullet, powder and percussion cap. If using a flintlock muzzleloader, remove the bullet and powder, and un-prime the flash pan.
- Use the recommended loading materials, the correct powder charge, the right diameter and weight bullet and the correct lead material.
- Never use plastic (poly) patches. These are different from sabots.
- Treat a misfire as though the gun could fire at any moment.
- Make sure the gun is unloaded before attempting to clean it.
- Make sure the projectile is firmly seated on the powder before capping and firing.
- Never blow down the barrel of a muzzleloader to clear or extinguish sparks.
All hunters, including archers, must wear at least 500 square inches of daylight fluorescent orange above the waist during the primitive weapons season.
To pursue deer in Georgia, hunters must have a valid hunting license, big game license and a current deer harvest record. If hunting on a wildlife management area, a WMA license also is required. To purchase a license, visit www.georgiawildlife.com/licenses-permits-passes.
For more information on muzzleloader safety, visit www.gohuntgeorgia.com/hunting/education .