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Hunter Safety Tips

Firearms and Muzzleloader Safety

SHOOTING SAFELY - Tips on Using Firearms and Muzzleloaders

Review these basic tips to keep you and those around you more safe while hunting.

FIREARMS SAFETY: Four Primary Rules of Firearms Safety

The following checklist, comprised of only four items, is easily remembered with the acronym ACTT:
  • A – Always treat every firearm as if it were loaded.
  • C – Control the muzzle of the firearm at all times.
  • T – Be certain of the Target and what is in front of it and beyond it.
  • T – Keep your finger outside of the Trigger guard until you are ready to shoot.


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.


There are 17 public firearms ranges in the State.  If you are planning a visit to one of the ranges, be sure to familiarize yourself with the rules of the range.  


  • Safety videos from National Shooting Sports Foundation available here.
  • Safety videos from Midway USA available here.  These include videos on the following topics:
    • Safely firing a shotgun
    • How to safely handle a firearm
    • Using the correct ammunition for your firearm
    • Know your target
    • Firearms safety in the tree stand
    • Firearm safety on a public range
    • and many more!



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