MDC reminds deer hunters to follow safe firearms practices at all times

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SPRINGFIELD, Mo. – Deer hunting involves many “how-to’s” – how to choose a good hunting spot, how to telecheck a harvested deer, how to field dress a deer – to name a few. Though each of these are valuable, hunters should not overlook the most important how-to – how to handle a firearm safely.

Though this sounds basic, the occurrence of three self-inflicted non-fatal hunting incidents in southwest Missouri on the opening weekend of the November firearms season are reminders that the principles of firearms safety can’t be stressed too often. Specifics of each incident can’t be discussed yet because investigations are still being conducted, but one of the things that can be discussed are the basics of firearms safety.

“One of the big things people need to remember is, when hunters are transporting their firearms, they should be unloaded and the actions open,” said Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC) Hunter Education and Shooting Range Coordinator Justin McGuire. “Over the years, failure to transport firearms safely has directly led to people injuring themselves and others. Many times, people are injured by firearms that were assumed to have been unloaded. Keeping the actions open and the muzzles pointed in a safe direction removes all doubt.”

McGuire said other firearms safety guidelines to remember are:

  • Always keep the muzzle pointed in a safe direction.
  • Always keep your finger off the trigger until you’re ready to fire.
  • Always keep the safety on until you’re ready to fire.
  • Always be 100 percent sure of your target and what’s beyond it.

The November portion of Missouri’s firearms deer season runs through Nov. 24. Other firearms deer hunting opportunities following this will be the Late Youth Portion from Nov. 27-Nov. 29, the Antlerless Portion from Dec. 4-6 in counties where it is open, and the Alternative Methods Portion from Dec. 26-Jan. 5.

More information about hunting opportunities and firearms safety can be found at