Upland Hunting Safety

There's nothing quite like an upland game hunt to spark the interest of a youth hunter or recharge the batteries of a seasoned hunting veteran. Regardless of the number of hunters, years of hunting experience or even the terrain layout, the excitement of flushing pheasants or exploding quail coveys can make even the best hunters forget basic safety rules.

That said, hunter safety should be of the utmost importance. Follow the rules below and take a second before each shot to make sure of your target for an accident-free upland hunt.

Begin with your attire. Wear a blaze orange hat and a blaze orange vest for maximum visibility. Even if blaze orange isn't a legal requirement for upland hunts, (as in South Dakota, the pheasant capital of the nation) more blaze orange is better.

With shotguns in play there's always the chance for a stray pellet. Wear polycarbonate shooting glasses meeting or exceeding approved performance standards. Driven hunts with posted hunters could easily result in a rain of pellets after a flush.

Know where all hunters are at all times, stay in line and don't deviate from a set plan. Uplands roll and are characterized by brush. Any terrain feature could veil one of your hunting party and make it appear as if the backdrop is clear for a shot.

This one goes without saying, but keep the muzzle of your shotgun pointed in a safe, upward direction at all times. It's important for safety and if you trip you don't want the barrel jammed with hard-to-remove debris.

You'll need to keep a shell in the chamber for quick action, but keep your shotgun safety on and your finger off of the trigger until you are sure of your target. These steps, together with the muzzle pointed up, decrease the chance for an accident.

For the safety of hunters and hunting dogs alike, do not take shots below the horizon. If ever in doubt, don't shoot.

Lastly, regardless of your age, if you have not completed an approved hunter's safety course, take the time to learn the basics of hunter safety and enroll. Upland hunting is a rush and an affordable hunt available to everyone across the country.

Make it a safe adventure.

For more info on NSSF's Project Child Safe go to ProjectChildSafe.org.