As many of Michigan’s hunting seasons are open and underway, an abundance of firearms are being utilized all throughout the state. In addition to being used in the field during actual hunting activities, those firearms are also being transported in vehicles and carried about by hand. As these guns are shuffled about, it is very possible that accidents can happen if a dedication to proper handling is not always practiced.
All it takes is a moment of negligence for an accident to happen or a firearm to fall into the wrong hands. In the blink of an eye, lives can be forever changed in situations where guns are mishandled. In order to prevent such accidents, especially when it comes to children, guidelines are being suggested to maintain safety around firearms. One such example of this is Project ChildSafe, launched by the National Shooting Sports Foundation® (NSSF®), which is working with 29 Fish & Wildlife Agencies to share information that will hopefully save innocent lives.
The goal of these pairings is to remind hunters to Hunt S.A.F.E. Although many hunters have taken hunter safety courses as it is required to hunt in Michigan for anyone born after January 1, 1960 and therefore those individuals have a healthy knowledge of gun safety, the general public, especially children, may not have the same information to boast. It is because of this lack of knowledge and potential access to firearms that a reminder as to how to Hunt S.A.F.E. is beneficial to everyone.
The Hunt S.A.F.E. guidelines are as follows:
S: Secure firearms between uses. This could be with a gun lock or in a gun safe or other locked area, but guns should not be freely accessible to anyone but the intended user.
A: Be Aware of anyone nearby who should not have access to your firearms. For example, don’t leave the door to your truck wide open with the gun on the seat then step away to grab more gear while people are roaming freely nearby.
F: Focus at all times on what your gun ownership responsibilities are, such as how to travel safely and remain in possession of guns at all times.
E: Take each opportunity you come across to Educate others in regards to gun safety, such as handling and storage. At the same time, don’t forget to stay on top of your own game and remain open to learning more as opportunities to do so arise.
The ultimate goal when it comes to Hunt S.A.F.E. is to protect not only others but also yourself. Sure, you may have loads of training under your belt, but liability still exists and all it takes is one misstep or moment of inattentiveness for someone to get hurt. Handle your guns in such a manner that you protect yourself and others but also so that you protect yourself from others.
More information on Project ChildSafe as well as other Hunt S.A.F.E materials can be found here. Included are a Hunting Checklist for Families to help maintain safety, a Gun Storage For Your Lifestyle infographic that shares information on gun storage by lifestyle and budge, and a brochure for the Ethical Hunter that discusses hunting from a historical and responsible standpoint. Also available is the wealth of resources present on the Project ChildSafe website.
Hunting is an activity that is enjoyable and can feed your family. It is also an activity that needs to be conducted in the most invulnerable way possible, not just for hunters but also for bystanders who do not have the same gun handling know-how. Enjoy your hunting season, but be vigilant so the experience is a good one for all.