Firearms deer season opens Saturday, Nov. 26. As you prepare to head out to our fields and forests, be sure to keep safety in mind. The Pennsylvania Game Commission offers these important tips:
• Positively identify the target – Be sure you are shooting at legal game and not another hunter. And never shoot at sounds or movement.
• Stay in the zone! Hunters should be spaced 25 to 40 yards apart, and always in sight of one another. Each hunter’s zone of fire spans about 45 degrees directly in front of the hunter. Never shoot at game moving between you and someone else.
• Plan your hunt! Let someone know where you’re hunting and when you’ll return.
• Buckle up! If you hunt from an elevated stand, always wear a full-body, fall-restraint device as soon as your feet leave the ground until they return.
• Keep fit! Hunting is hard work. Don’t become a statistic. Keep physically fit. Start with a check-up and follow your doctor’s advice.
• Stay found! Become familiar with your hunting area. Learn how to use a map and compass or GPS unit. Be prepared for emergencies. Carry a basic survival kit and know how to use it.
• Be seen! Wear or display the required amount of fluorescent orange clothing.
• Handle all firearms as if they’re loaded. Never assume they are unloaded and double check to be sure.
• Always point the muzzle in a safe direction and don’t put your finger on the trigger until you are ready to shoot.
• Unload and place your firearm on the ground before crossing a fence, log or other obstacle, or climbing a tree.
• Shoot only when a safe and adequate backstop exists. Don’t shoot at hard, flat surfaces, water or a target on the horizon.
For more information, visit the Pennsylvania Game Commission website at pgc.pa.gov.