RALEIGH — It’s a busy time of year for the North Carolina hunting community. Blackpowder and gun deer hunting seasons begin to open this month, as well as duck, bear, small game and other hunting seasons. The N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission’s Home from the Hunt campaign reminds hunters of firearm safety tips.
“Always positively identify your target before pulling the trigger,” said Carissa Daniels, engagement and education manager at the Wildlife Commission. “Sounds obvious, but it’s easy to let anticipation and excitement cloud your judgment. Collect yourself and be aware of your surroundings. To ensure the safest shot, make sure there are no houses, vehicles, powerlines, livestock or people in front of or behind your target.”
Additional important rules of firearm safety are:
- Always point a firearm in a safe direction.
- Treat every firearm as if it were loaded. Never assume a firearm is unloaded.
- Use binoculars, rather than a rifle scope, to identify the target.
- Keep your finger out of the trigger guard and off the trigger until ready to shoot.
- Be sure of your target, as well as what’s in front of and behind it.
Any person hunting bear, feral swine, rabbit, squirrel, grouse, pheasant or quail with the use of firearms must wear a cap or hat made of hunter orange material or an outer garment of hunter orange visible from all sides. Anyone hunting deer during a deer firearm season, regardless of weapon, must wear hunter orange visible from all sides. This includes archery hunters that hunt on Sunday during the deer firearm season. This requirement does not apply to a landholder, his or her spouse and children if they are hunting on the landholder’s property.
Non-hunters using game lands, such as hikers and birders, are also encouraged to wear blaze orange so they can easily be seen by hunters and other users.
For more information about general hunting regulations, hunting seasons, hunting licenses, Hunting Heritage Apprentice Permits and the Hunter Education Program, go to ncwildlife.org or call 888-248-6834.