There are many reasons that a hunter would get seriously injured, but the leading cause is improper gun handling. Unfortunately, too many hunters ignore vital safety precautions when hunting and do not take good care of their weapon. Hunting injuries or fatalities are becoming all too common in the world of hunting and many people do not seem too concerned about the fatal realities of these incidents. The logical hunter, however, takes careful note of all of the safety precautions involving his or her weapon and learns the basics of gun safety for hunters.
One of the first fundamental laws of hunting safety is to always treat the gun as if it is loaded. This is a universal guideline for gun safety as it does not refer to any actual type of gun. In terms of having a gun in general, one should never assume that it is unloaded. One should never be flippant with a gun or wave it around, point it at others or work carelessly with it. There is always the off chance that something could occur as a result of any gun powder residue or other possibilities, giving the odds of a dangerous incident more ground than necessary. Instead, simply treat the gun as if it is always loaded and err on the side of caution.
In relationship to the aforementioned law of gun safety, it is important to be responsible and keep the gun unloaded until it is ready for use on the hunting grounds. This avoids any injury or death due to the gun accidentally going off due to careless use or due to improper storage. Many a story has been told about gun injuries relating to guns going off in truck compartments and shooting through truck seating, relating to the notion that the gun was not only properly stored but that the improperly stored gun was loaded. For reasons such as these, always store the gun as unloaded.
When on the hunting field, it is important to remember hunting safety techniques. Always keep the fingers in indexed positions until ready to fire. This avoids any accidental firing which can obviously result in serious injury. Instead, the fingers should be somewhat folded and away from the trigger if possible. If the fingers are more apt to be near the gun's trigger, keep them folded and away from any notches until the prey is well within scope range. One false move with a finger too close to the trigger could result in accidental firing resulting in injury or death.
Keep the gun pointed in a safe direction. This, of course, means that the gun should never be pointed at another person. Many a story has been told of guns pointed at hunting companions in jest, only for the gun to accidentally go off and injure or kill the unfortunate companion. For this reason and for reasons involving common sense, keep the gun pointed somewhere safe and away from yourself and people at all times. This rule applies whether the gun is loaded or not.
Never look down the barrel of the gun to see if it is loaded. This is simply something that should not be done under any circumstances. As a reference to the aforementioned rules, one of the fundamental foundations of gun safety is expecting the unexpected. If one is looking down the gun barrel, there is no predictable way to ensure that the gun will not accidentally fire from powder residue or any other elements that could be lodged in the gun. Keep the face away from the gun barrel at all times.
Make sure that the gun is never dropped. This can result in accidental firing, which can send a bullet or powder in a very chaotic and unpredictable direction. Instead, always hold the gun with both hands and treat it as carefully as possible.
Never let a person who is intoxicated in any way handle a gun. Alcohol and drugs slow the reason factor on people, resulting in a lapse of reason and better judgment. An intoxicated person may improperly operate a firearm, leading to injury or possible death.
All in all, these fundamental rules should be followed if one wants to ensure a safe and happy hunting trip. Without paying attention to safety regulations, the risk factor of the average hunting trip more than doubles and injury is almost inevitable. Be safe when hunting or handling a gun of any kind.