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Hunting Safety

With hunting season in full swing, parents have been taking aim at me with questions about safety guidelines for their children who want to go hunting with them. Let me see if I can shoot off a few pieces of advice. Thanks to hunter safety programs, the number of children who sustain hunting injuries is far less than in essentially all other sports. Football, for example, causes 500 times more injuries than hunting. Even table tennis has twice the number of reported injuries of hunting. Since even one hunting injury is too many, though, here are some safety tips. Children under 15 who want to hunt should have a state hunting license, take a hunter safety course, and always be accompanied by an adultpreferably one who is certified in hunter safety. My advice is that children under 12 should not handle a firearm at all, even if they decide to go along with their parents on a hunting trip. Never leave a child alone in the woods when you are hunting. While not required, wearing blaze orange, and having your child wear it, is strongly recommended to reduce the chance of an accident. Older children who shoot under adult supervision need to observe three key rules: Always point the firearm in a safe direction, and never point it at anything that you are not willing to destroy. Always keep your finger away from the trigger until you are ready to shoot. When not in use, always keep the firearm unloaded, with the ammunition stored separately. Finally, even children who do not wish to go hunting need to learn firearm safety, on the chance that they may encounter an unsupervised gun in someone else's home. Teach them that they should stop what they're doing, avoid the gun, leave the area, and tell an adult that the gun has been left out in the open. Hopefully tips like this will be the tips you need to trigger a safe hunting season for you and your child.

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