Your goal as a hunter is to become as proficient as possible with your firearm. In short, you intend to hit your target. But what if you flinch? What if buck fever takes hold? What if the game animal suddenly runs as you pull the trigger? Will your round land safely in a dirt backdrop, be engulfed in foliage or drop in a grassy pasture?
To guarantee a safe ending to any shot you need to be aware of your hunting surroundings. Begin with all buildings. Know the location of farm houses, farm sheds, rural residences and other sites where humans may congregate for work, or recreation. Once noted be sure to set up your potential shots so they are directed away from any dangerous conflicts.
Next, know the location of all your hunting partners and their hunting schedule. Your friends could be in a ground blind, a treestand or still-hunting a nearby woodlot. Again, direct any possible shots away from where they are hunting to ensure a bullet doesn't whizz in their direction.
Now look for all areas where humans and livestock could be traveling. County roads and highways need to be considered for human travel routes. Turn your hunting attention in the opposite direction of a rural byway. As for livestock, make sure the landowner is fine with hunting near the animals and always make sure any herds are not in your shooting backstop. Finally, never shoot at a target on the horizon. You never know what lies beyond.
Hunting requires more than just knowing where a buck could show up. It also means knowing where you bullet could land if it doesn't hit its mark.
For more info on NSSF's Project Child Safe go to ProjectChildSafe.org.