Dallas Law Firm Blog

Hunting Safety in Texas – The Top 8 Tips That Could Save Your Life

Hunting is a favorite pastime all across Texas, and the surrounding areas of Dallas/Ft. Worth are no exception.  The team at Guajardo & Marks wants you to enjoy this hunting season safely and successfully.  In order to do that, we have pulled together a list of hunting safety tips for the avid experienced sportsmen/women as well as the novice first-timers.  It is extremely important to remember that whenever a firearm/gun is involved with any activity, there is a potential for an accident to occur if the firearm is not handled responsibly and with respect. Hunting safety should be an ongoing process and should involve a lifetime of developing skills and attitude.  The following should be tips that you follow regardless of your experience level or age.

  1. Always point the muzzle in a safe direction.
    Control the direction of the muzzle at all times. Do not point a firearm or bow at anything you do not intend to shoot. Always keep the safety on until ready to fire; however, the safety should never be a substitute for safe firearm handling.
  2. Treat every gun or bow with the same respect you would show a loaded gun or nocked arrow.
    Every time you pick up a gun, the first thing you should do is point the muzzle in a safe direction and check to see if it is loaded. Be sure the chamber and magazine are empty and that the action is open until ready to be fired. Make sure you can see your target as well as what is in front of and beyond your target. Before you pull the trigger, you must properly identify game animals. Use your binoculars. You should know how far bullets, arrows and pellets can travel. You should never shoot at flat, hard surfaces, such as water, rocks or steel because of ricochets.
  3. Unload guns and unstring conventional bows when not in use.
    Leave actions open and store sporting arms in cases when traveling to and from shooting areas. Take bolts out or break down shotguns if necessary. Store and transport guns and ammunition separately and under lock and key. Store guns and bows in cool, dry places. Use gun or trigger locks and guards.
  4. Handle the guns, arrows and ammunition carefully.
    Avoid horseplay with guns and arrows. Never climb a fence, a tree or a ladder with a loaded gun or bow and arrows. You should never jump a ditch or climb/hike difficult terrain with a loaded gun or nocked arrow. Never face or look down the barrel from the muzzle end. The ammunition you carry should correctly match the gauge or caliber you are shooting. Always carry arrows in a protected cover or quiver. Carry handguns with hammers over an empty chamber or cylinder. If you fall, be sure to disassemble the gun and check the barrel from the breech end for obstructions.
  5. Know your safe zone-of-fire and stick to it.
    Your safe zone-of-fire is that area or direction in which you can safely fire a shot. It is “down range” at a shooting facility. That is the mental image you draw in your mind with every step you take. Know where your companions are at all times. Never swing your gun or bow out of your safe zone-of-fire. Know the “safe carries” when there are persons to your sides, in front of, or behind you. When hunting, wear daylight fluorescent orange so you can be seen from a distance or in heavy cover.
  6. Control your emotions when it comes to safety.
    If you lose control of your emotions, you may do something carelessly. If you have just shot a target or animal, you probably will be excited. At that moment, you may turn with a loaded gun back toward your friends or you might run with a loaded gun/shotgun toward a downed animal with the gun safety off. Show discipline and respect at all times. Do not allow your daydreams to replace good judgment. Show restraint; don’t take any shot that could be even the slightest bit unsafe.
  7. Wear hearing and eye protection.
    While shooting at a range, you must wear hearing and eye protection at all times. Guns are loud. Outbursts of noise over many years can lead to hearing loss. The damage could also be immediate, especially in the case of a muzzle shot. Wear glasses to protect your eyes from escaping gases, burnt powder and other debris.
  8. Don’t drink alcohol or take drugs before or while handling firearms or bow and arrows.
    Alcohol and drugs impair normal physical and mental body functions and should never be used before or while handling guns or archery equipment. These substances affect emotions as well as your physical abilities, making it easier to lose your temper and your ability to handle your weapon

At the end of the day, the most important “trophy” you can bring home from a day of hunting is a great time with your friends and/or family.  It is never worth a “good shot” to risk the safety of one of your fellow hunters or yourself.  The team at Guajardo & Marks wants all Texans to enjoy a wonderful, safe and successful hunting season this year.  Please keep these tips in mind any time you are out hunting and make sure you give them to your family members and friends who enjoy the sport as well.  You just might save a life!

Hunting accidents can cause serious and catastrophic injuries.  If you or someone you love has been injured in a hunting accident, our experienced and compassionate team is here to help you and your family navigate the complex issues that are involved in your case and to help you plan for the future.  We are experienced in handling these cases and will stand beside you, guide you and educate and inform you every step of the way.  If you have questions or need help, please contact us.

Many of the current and past clients of Guajardo & Marks know and love working with Christina Thomas.  They know from working with her that she is a passionate and compassionate member of the Guajardo & Marks team and that in a relatively short time, she has become truly invaluable at the firm.  What they may not know is that Christina’s husband is a firearms instructor so, firearms safety is something they live and breathe at their house!  Because of this, Christina and her husband thought it would be worth adding the following information:

You can get a FREE gun lock from the Dallas Police Department.  The National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF) has partnered with law enforcement agencies across Texas (and the U.S.) for Project Child Safe (https://www.projectchildsafe.org/safety/safety-kit/Texas or projectchildsafe.org and follow the link for “Find a Safety Kit”).  Anyone can contact the Dallas PD (or any department on the list at the link) and get a cable-style gun lock with instructions, free of charge.  There are other safety resources at the link as well.