Adhering to these precautions won’t fill a bag limit, but it will make you and your hunting companions safer in the blind this season. We double-check decoys, spend time at the range, practice calling, and find ourselves daydreaming about early mornings in the reaped corn fields or sitting in a blind at a dam. But even a picture-perfect hunt can turn into a nightmare if safety isn’t a priority. Before heading into the field this season, make sure that you and everyone you hunt with is safe and responsible. To avoid any mishaps, we have made a list to which we adhere to.

1. Don’t Chamber a Shell Before You’re Ready to Shoot.
It is amazing the number of hunters who think it’s necessary and prudent to chamber a shell well in advance of legal shooting light. There’s no reason for this, and it is nothing but a hazard. Get settled into your blind, make sure everyone else is ready, and load your gun only when it is time to shoot.

2. Exercise Muzzle Control.
When ducks begin dropping into the decoys it’s easy to get overwhelmed with anticipation. But the first rule of waterfowl hunting (and all hunting, for that matter) is to be acutely aware of the position of your muzzle. Keep the muzzle pointed outside the blind and in a safe direction at all times. Most importantly, demand the same from your hunting partners.

3. Understand Shooting Lanes.
Always adhere to the 10-o’clock-to-two-o’clock window when you’re in the blind with other shooters. This means you won’t have a shot at every bird or flock that comes in, but it’s far better to pass on a bird than to take a dangerous shot. Make sure everyone in the blind knows where they can and cannot shoot, and adhere to those rules without exception. This becomes even more important when hunting from layout blinds.

4. Hearing and Eye Protection.
No duck is worth losing your eyesight or damaging your hearing, so be sure to protect yourself when the shooting begins. Hearing loss is irreversible, and the constant thunder of close-range shooting can cause noise-induced hearing loss. Digital hearing-protection devices allow you to hear sounds in the “safe” range and protect you against louder sounds, like the damaging 150 decibels generated by a shotgun blast at close range. One errant pellet or even an ejected shell casing can cause permanent blindness, so protecting your eyes with ANSI-rated glasses is crucial. Another benefit is that many safety glasses provide improved target visibility in bright or low-light conditions.

5. Check the Barrel.
Climbing in and out of boats, slogging through mud and getting situated in a blind, makes it easy to accidentally clog your shotgun barrel. It’s not always obvious when you’ve jammed your barrel with mud or other debris, rather be safe than sorry.

6. Familiarize Yourself with Your Firearm.
This isn’t just a problem for new shooters; We have seen experienced hunters fiddling with the action, safety, and so forth on a new firearm. Try have do some Clay pigeon shooting before you go away on a hunt. Hunters who aren’t familiar with how their gun works are more likely to lose track of their muzzle.

7. Pay Attention to Your Shells.
Clogged bores can be a problem, but dirty, muddy shot shells can also cause foul-ups that may result in injury. Make sure your shells are in good working order, and don’t mix gauges in the pockets of your hunting jacket.

8. Leave the Safety On.
The safety should come off only when you are in the process of firing, never before. However, you must also keep in mind that the safety on a shotgun is a mechanical device, and as with all mechanical devices, it can fail. So don’t rely on the safety alone to keep your gun from firing. Safe gun handling is still essential.

9. Cleaning up and Conserving your Hunting areas.
Always pick up empty shotgun cartridges and any trash that may have been incurred for hunt, as well as any birds shot during the shoot. Wildlife gives us wonderful hunting opportunities and we as hunters must always conserve and respect this in return!

– We look forward to hunting with you soon and Making your Wildest dreams come true!!