A Quick Reminder About Gun Safety

When my fellow hunters join me in the field next week, I expect that everyone will have a shotgun in good working condition and that each hunter will follow basic simple safety rules.

Number one, have shotgun shells at hand that are only in the gauge you are shooting. Don’t mix 20 and 28 gauge shells with 12 gauge in your vest or shell pouch because a small shell can drop in the chamber far enough to allow a larger shell to be chambered behind it and then you can pull the trigger and blow the crap out of your gun and hand.

Number two, check for any obstructions in your barrel such as dirt or mud or even bugs because these can cause your barrel to burst and that is not good.

Number three, do not load your shotgun until you are on station and have everything else squared away such as ice chest, chair, decoys laid out, the correct time to start shooting which will be 6:42 am. Once your gun is loaded you need to be alert and aware and if you have to mess around with your gear open your chamber before you set your gun down. No loaded guns crossing fences or placing guns in vehicles. The rules above are things you do before you shoot your gun and you always assume your shotgun is loaded.

Number four, muzzle control means you don’t ever, under any circumstances point your shotgun loaded or unloaded at anything you don’t want to put holes through and that especially means people. No need to have the finger on the trigger until you are ready to shoot the dove.

Number five, only shoot at a safe angle in a safe direction. Please have plenty of sky under your bird when you pull the trigger and don’t get target fixation and follow the bird with your gun barrel as it flies between you and your fellow hunter unless it is way up in the sky. We don’t mind a bit of shot raining down from a safe angle but woe unto him would pepper another from and dangerous angle and we don’t ever want to issue another Dick Cheney award of the Purple Dove. When a hunter walks out to pick up a dove be aware of his presence and he also needs to know that he cannot pull up fast on a dove that takes off in the direction of another hunter.

Number six, no alcohol until the guns have been cleared and cased. Any person with any loaded gun should never have alcohol or painkillers in the blood stream that could affect judgement.

Summary: Use a safe shotgun, loaded only when ready to shoot birds, pointed in a safe direction, shooting with a clear head on the shoulders and not stuck up the backside. No specific dove needs to be shot, when in doubt keep you finger off the trigger and wait for the next bird.images

About the Author

Joe McElyea
I am an original member and founder of the esteemed High Plains Shooting and Dining Society which is dedicated to fellowship of bird hunters and shooters who also enjoy finding great local places to eat large, unhealthy portions of breaded and fried meats and gravies washed down with the appropriate libations. I am also a retired old man who enjoys fishing, shooting and my wonderful family.