Statistics from the U.S. Department of the Interior show that hunting is becoming an increasingly popular sport. In 2011 alone, more than 13.7 million hunters pursued a variety of wild game within the United States.

Your local State Fish and Game Department is a great resource for hunter education training. The NRA has a useful list of contact information for all State Fish & Game authorities. The training courses offered by each state are designed to prevent hunting accidents and teach each new generation about hunting responsibly, ethically and safely. In many states, hunter education certification is required to get a hunting license.

As an example of the safety instructions provided by these courses, the Georgia Department of Natural Resources' Wildlife Resources Division offers four easy-to-remember rules for hunting safety with the acronym A-C-T-T:

  • A – Always treat every firearm as if it were loaded.
  • C – Control the muzzle of the firearm at all times.
  • T – Be certain of the Target and what is in front of it and beyond it.
  • T – Keep your finger outside the Trigger guard until you are ready to shoot.

Those are great basics for minimizing the chance of an accident. Some other good advice they offer includes:

  • Never rely solely on the gun's "safety" mechanism.
  • Never use alcohol or drugs while handling a firearm.
  • Make sure the gun is unloaded before attempting to clean it.
  • Treat a misfire as though the gun could fire at any moment.

Take this advice seriously to help ensure a safe hunting experience for you, your party and anyone else you may encounter on your trip.

To ensure additional peace of mind when you participate in shooting sports, make sure you have the insurance coverage you need to protect yourself and your firearms.