Hunting in the high country: gun safety


by Braun Horner

Grand County attracts a lot of hunters this time of year, and among those hunters are young and very young men and women. Along with natural dangers such as cold temperatures or taking a rough tumble, guns add an extra element to any situation.

With a hunter education class coming up in Kremmling on October 22 and 23, it seems fitting to give some tips for a safe hunt.

Hunting is a big deal, and people from all walks of life enjoy it. Not only that, some depend on it for a substantial part of their food each year. And safety with a weapon is as crucial as physical safety and preparation. Listed here are some safety rules and/or tips that can help add to a hunter’s overall awareness, no matter the level of experience.

Always keep the gun (or bow) pointed in a safe direction and away from people. Even when the gun is unloaded, this is the most important step to be taken. Ensure this and you are bound to enjoy yourself without accident.

Always keep your finger off of the trigger until ready to shoot. Rest your finger along the frame, outside of the trigger guard. It doesn’t take much to pull a trigger, even a tap from your finger can fire the weapon.

Always keep the gun unloaded until ready for use. Doing this adds an extra safety measure that is simple and reduces danger significantly.

Know what you are shooting at. Don’t guess. Don’t take a chance. Always know what your target is and scope the area around it. It is your duty to keep others safe when you possess a gun. Be safe. Scope it out.

Always know the weapon you are shooting and how to use it safely. This includes making sure it is safe to shoot and clear of debris. Inspect your weapon before and after every use and clean it often.

Wear eye protection and always store your gun or bow where it’s inaccessible to anyone who does not need it.

Never get intoxicated prior to shooting a weapon.

Hunting is more than carrying and shooting a firearm. Hiking and backpacking go hand in hand with hunting in the High Country. And with the cooler season coming upon the mountains, it isn’t unusual to see nightly temperatures dip below freezing. It’s imperative to bring or pack extra, warm layers of clothing. Be it a short day trip or a multi-day adventure, you never know when the need for more warmth will arise.

Make a list and check it 5 times. Be sure you have the necessities for a night out in the woods because a day hunt could turn into an overnighter in a matter of moments.

Hunting in the mountains requires hiking significant numbers of miles and packing your animal back out. Know a bit about the area you are hunting in and be sure to let people know where you will be. Update them if possible. Keep your food up high in a tree, as the bears are still getting ready for hibernation. Be safe and be honest. Grand County has some of the best hunting. Enjoy and keep your finger off the trigger until you are ready to shoot.

The hunters’ safety class will be held at the CSU Extension Fairgrounds and is a 2-day course. Need more info? Check with the Kremmling Chamber of Commerce at (970) 724-3472 or Summit Range Association at (970) 389-1798 for more details.