Hunter Safety Tips for the Fall Season

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Now that the fall hunting season is upon us, it’s a great time to talk about firearm safety and the best way to prevent accidents when you’re in the field or forest. When most people think of hunting accidents the first thing that comes to mind is an accidental firearm discharge or a stray round injuring another hunter.

Out of 7,000 hunting accidents last year across the United States and Canada, 1,000 of them involving accidental shootings, leading to 75 fatalities. What this tells us is that safe firearm handling is obviously critical to being a safe and responsible hunter, but that there are many other ways one can get injured in the woods including fractures and lacerations from falls or tumbling out of a tree stand.

Recently we caught up with Bruce Ledford, 4-H volunteer leader for the Team Topshots Shooting Sports Club, and he shared some valuable safety information with us. His top priority during club meetings, competitions, and events is to keep everyone safe. He has had 4-H Shooting Sports training and several years of experience as a club leader. Thanks to Bruce for his leadership, guidance, and special tips for hunters of all ages.

Muzzle control

  • Keep it pointed in a safe direction.
  • Don’t have any body parts in front of it.
  • Don’t rest it on your toe.
  • Don’t lay your arm across it like a leaning post.

Trigger control

  • Keep your finger off the trigger until you are ready to shoot.


  • Notice what is behind your target. Are there houses, a road, another hunter, or rocks?


  • Always wear your blaze orange.


  • Have a plan.
  • Let people know where you are going and when you’ll be back.
  • Make sure to return when you say you will.

Tree stand safety

  • Roughly 4,000 hunters fell out of tree stands in 2018 in the U.S and Canada and estimates suggest that 1 in 3 hunters will fall out of a tree stand at some point during their lifetime.
  • Use a safety strap.
  • Unload your firearm when going in and out of the tree stand.


  • Hunting is safe and enjoyable as long as you are following safe hunter and gun guidelines. No one wants to end up as a statistic.

For information on Team Topshots 4-H Club, 4-H Shooting Sports, or Lee County 4-H contact Pam Kerley at 919-775-5624 or Pam Kerley is the 4-H Program Assistant for N.C. Cooperative Extension, Lee County Center. 4-H is a positive youth development program offering programs that suit a variety of backgrounds, interests, budgets, and schedules. From in-school to after-school, clubs to camps, 4H’s programs are available in Lee County and we welcome children who want to have fun, learn, and grow. In North Carolina, 4-H is brought to you by NC State Extension. N.C. Cooperative Extension’s experts and educators share university knowledge, information, and tools you can use every day to improve your life.