How Much Do You Know About Hunting Safety?

By: Torrance Grey
Image: YouTube

About This Quiz

Hunting -- as humans, it's part of our evolutionary hardwiring, but that doesn't mean we're born knowing how to stay safe in the fields and woods. Find out how much you know about hunting safety with our quiz! (Note: Though every effort has been made to ensure accuracy, this quiz is for entertainment purposes only).

_________ is the basis of hunting safety.

The cornerstone of hunter safety is gun safety. The majority of hunters use guns (as opposed to bows or snares), and guns have great lethal capability. That's what makes firearm knowledge so important to hunters.

There are four main rules of firearm safety. Which is the first and most important?

This is generally considered to be the most important rule of gun safety. The two recommended positions for gun carrying -- often called "field carrying" -- is with the muzzle either pointed at the sky or the ground.

Rule number two of gun safety: Treat every gun as if it were ______.

If you think a gun is not loaded, you will be more likely to handle it in a casual or unsafe way. Assume every gun is loaded until you've verified that it isn't, and even then, practice good gun-handling habits.

Why is it not 100 percent safe to have the muzzle of your rifle pointed at the ground?

While having your muzzle pointed at the ground is generally considered safe, a ricochet is the main danger here. The ground can be quite hard, particularly on trails, and if your gun goes off by accident, the rebounding slug could do a lot of damage.

Why is it not 100 percent safe to have the muzzle of your gun pointed at the sky?

While having your muzzle pointed at the sky is generally considered safe, remember that a bullet accidentally fired could hit someone on its way back down -- sometimes causing serious injury. (This is why revelers are asked not to fire guns in the air after World Cup victories, on Independence Day, or similar occasions). The point is not that you shouldn't point your gun skyward, but that you should take other measures to prevent accidental firing.

What is the third rule of gun safety?

This is just common sense. In fact, the rule is to keep your finger outside the trigger guard altogether (that's the thin strip of metal that encircles the area of the trigger and keeps it from bumping against things).

What is the fourth rule of gun safety?

The other choices aren't bad ideas, but the fourth rule is key. Be sure you know exactly what you're shooting at (that smallish doe could be a large hunting dog) as well as what you could hit if you miss (like another hunter).

Before loading a gun, it's important to check the barrel for _______.

Obstructions in a gun's barrel can lead to misfires. For obvious reasons, you should only inspect the barrel when you have verified that the gun is unloaded (which makes prior to loading a good time).

What is a "ready carry"?

A "ready carry" offers a lot of stability: the gun is pointed skyward, almost straight up, with both hands on the gun. It's very safe, but tiring for long walks.

Besides the "ready carry," which of these field carries is the safest?

There's a variable involved here: Do you have companions, and if so, where are they walking? If someone is behind you, a shoulder carry, in which the muzzle points slightly back over your shoulder, is not safe. Even the "ready carry," mentioned in another question, isn't recommended if someone is walking by your side.

Some states requires hunters to wear ________.

"Ghillie suits," which are full-bodied camo, would actually be dangerous in the field. Instead, it's a good idea to wear a bright orange vest and cap -- the latter protecting your head, one of the most lethal places to be shot.

Why doesn't hunter orange scare off deer?

To a deer, the bright orange of hunter's clothing is very muted. But it *will* stand out to another hunter with a rifle.

What is another name for hunter orange?

Hunter orange is the same as safety orange, and in some parts of the country, it's also called blaze orange. It's not just for hunters; you see it all the time on highway workers, for example.

Which of these is a risk from hunting in tree stands?

The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation recommends a height of no higher than 15 to 20 feet when hunting from a tree stand. A fall can injure or kill a hunter.

If your gun is unloaded, is it safe to carry it while climbing up to your tree stand?

Even if the weapon is unloaded, holding a weapon interferes with safe climbing, and a dropped weapon can hit another hunter below. Weapons should be raised and lowered via ropes or a specially-made sling.

You are out on the hunt and see a buck on top of a hill, framed against the sky. Should you take the shot?

Remember the third rule of hunting safety: Be sure of your target and the area beyond it. You don't know what's just over the hill, and because gravity causes bullets to descend as they travel, you could easily hit another hunter, a hiker, et cetera.

At what age can children safely go hunting?

This answer might be a surprise to you. But youth can be the best time to learn safe hunting behavior, especially when a child is learning from an admired mentor. However, there are also reasons to leave children at home -- if they have attention span or hyperactivity problems, behavioral issues, or just plain aren't showing interest in hunting.

Do all guns have trigger guards?

We can't swear there aren't exceptions, but for practical purposes, any gun you'll use will have a trigger guard. This keeps random contacts or bumps from "pulling" it.

Do all hunting rifles have safeties?

Some do, and other don't. Either way, you should never let the fact that a gun has an external safety override Rule No. 1. Part of assuming a gun is loaded is assuming the safety is not on, until you have verified that it is.

Which of these might compromise the working of your gun's safety?

Safeties are only a backup to good gun-handling procedures. Also, if you have a friend who thinks switching your safety off is a "prank," maybe stop hunting with him or her.

Is a gun's sight considered a safety feature?

True, there's an old joke that says "Gun control is being able to hit your target." But good aim -- assisted by the sight on your rifle or shotgun -- is no substitute for good gun-safety habits, especially looking beyond and to the sides of your target.

What does a firearm's data stamp tell you?

Just because you know the caliber doesn't mean you know the specific ammunition your gun takes. Putting the wrong kind of cartridges in a firearm can lead to accidents, so if you don't know, take your weapon to a qualified gunsmith.

While driving, your guns should be ...

If you have an SUV, like many hunters do, there's no trunk to lock the guns in. But the other two steps are essential. For one thing, not having a firearm in a case can make for a *very* uncomfortable traffic stop if you get pulled over.

Why is it important to put cartridges back in the manufacturer's box?

If you accidentally put the wrong kind of ammunition in a rifle of shotgun, it could misfire or jam. While this is usually an inconvenience -- like the gun simply failing to fire -- it can, on rare occasions, cause injury.

You are out hunting and need to cross a stream. What should you do?

It can be necessary to cross creeks while hunting, so refusing to isn't an option. Unload your gun, but don't throw it! That would violate Rule #2 and risk getting debris in the muzzle.

You have just tripped and fallen while field carrying your gun. It didn't go off. What do you do next?

Never assume you didn't get debris -- mud, ice, or pebbles -- in the barrel of your gun after you've dropped it or fallen with it. And before you clear the barrel, unload the gun.

What is a gun safe?

Safety practices don't end when you've returned from a hunt. Keeping your rifles in a safe place, away from children or others who shouldn't have access to them, is important as well. That's where a gun safe, which is larger than a safe for jewelry but works the same way, is valuable.

"You are hunting alone and need to cross a fence. With no one to hold your gun, you should unload the gun, lean it carefully against the fence, cross the fence, reload, and move on." Which part of the previous sentence is incorrect?

Leaning a gun against a fence, no matter how cautiously, is not accepted practice. Your movements climbing or ducking through a fence could cause the gun to fall. It's unloaded, sure -- but remember rule #2; always treat a gun as though it were loaded. Besides which, you can get debris in the barrel this way and lose time cleaning it out.

You see a buck at the forefront of a herd of deer. Though he's at a greater distance than you'd like, you can see that the surroundings, including the area beyond him, is free of buildings, trails and people. Is it safe to take this shot?

If you do try this shot, you're not considering the safety of the deer around him, should you miss. It might seem strange to consider deer as part of the "hunting safety" equation -- isn't hunting by definition unsafe for the prey? -- but unless you truly believe you can get a clean kill, it isn't right to take the shot.

Which of these helps you clean your gun safely?

All of these are used in cleaning, but not all in a way that pertains to safety. The stand keeps the gun from tipping or falling. (Remember, always, Rule #2!)

In which situation may a hunter use an automatic rifle?

Automatic weapons, in which the gun keeps firing as long as the trigger is depressed, are banned from all civilian use. Even if you're on private land, you're breaking the law by having and using one. Plus, machine-gunning a deer would just be tacky.

Is it safe to shoot a gun at the surface of a lake or pond?

Water seems very yielding and harmless to us, but the physics involved means that there's risk of a ricochet. Ever seen someone skip stones on water? Imagine a slug from a rifle doing that. It's rare, but can happen.

In 2016, approximately _____ persons in North America were killed in hunting accidents.

This number comes from the International Hunter Education Association. Incidentally, their online hunter-education course was helpful in putting together this quiz, and is highly recommended if you're ready to get out in the field.

Are most victims of hunting accidents hunters, or non-hunters?

Not surprisingly, the majority of hunting accidents happen to hunters -- either they are self-inflicted, caused by a hunting companion, or another hunter shooting in the same heavily-trafficked area during the heart of the season. Of course, animal-rights activists would say that the most common victims of hunting are the prey animals -- a reminder that not every approves of sport hunting.

Hunting and _______ don't mix.

Okay, this one should be obvious. But for some hunters, for whom hunting is a weekend/vacation activity, the temptation to have a beer or two before or during a hunt is too strong to resist. It shouldn't be. Save the drinking for after the hunt is over.

True or false: Heart health is a hunting safety issue.

The exertion of hiking through wild lands, climbing trees for stand hunting, and transporting kills is too much for a small percentage of hunters each year. Heart attack is most definitely a safety issue; start getting in shape well before the season starts!

Is it possible to be shot by your dog?

In 2013, the Minneapolis Star Tribune reported that a man had been shot when his hunting dog jumped into a boat and stepped on the trigger of a shotgun, injuring the man's leg. This is not the only time a dog has accidentally caused a gun to go off; usually, it happens to hunters. Keep your dogs and weapons apart.

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