When using a firearm, be sure to follow the five primary safety rules. You can remember these rules by thinking S.M.A.R.T.:
Safe Direction: Keep your firearm pointed in a safe direction at all times.
Make Sure: Positively identify your target.
Always Check: Know what’s beyond your target before shooting.
Respect Firearms: Treat all firearms as if they are loaded.
Trigger Caution: Don’t touch the trigger until you’re ready to shoot.
Here are additional firearm safety rules that you should know:
Check your barrel and ammunition.
Unload firearm when not in use.
Point a firearm only at something you intend to shoot.
Don't run, jump, or climb with a loaded firearm.
Store firearms and ammunition separately and safely.
Don't drink alcoholic beverages before or during shooting.
Nationally, about 5% of the population hunts, and roughly the same percentage actively opposes hunting.
Hunting and trapping have been a part of Pennsylvania’s rich history since the beginning of the Commonwealth. When Europeans arrived in 1610, they discovered an abundance of wildlife. Elk, deer, black bear, waterfowl, and even moose, along with predators such as wolves and mountain lions, roamed the mountains, swamps, and forests of the state. Settlers hunted and trapped for food and furs to survive in the “wilderness” that was Pennsylvania. This way of life was not taught in a classroom but was passed on by family members from one generation to the next.
It wasn’t until 1959 that Pennsylvania provided any type of official training. The first courses were known as “safety courses” and were taken on a voluntary basis. By 2009, with hunter and trapper education mandatory, nearly 2,000,000 students have been certified.
How has this helped hunting and trapping in Pennsylvania? Since the beginning of hunter and trapper education programs, hunting fatalities and injuries from firearms have declined nearly 80 percent. It is the goal of this hunter and trapper education program to continue to produce safe, responsible, knowledgeable, and involved hunters and trappers in Pennsylvania.
During the 19th century, many game animals were hunted nearly into extinction. The thundering herds of bison that once roamed the plains were reduced to about 800 head. The beaver was almost wiped out. Elk, deer, and pronghorn were reduced to a fraction of their once-plentiful numbers.
During the 19th century, many game animals were hunted nearly into extinction. Hunting laws were passed to:
Ensure the availability of game for future generations.
Establish hunting seasons to limit harvesting and avoid hunting during nesting and mating seasons.
Limit hunting methods and equipment.
Set “bag” limits. Establish check stations and game tag requirements.
Define the rules of fair chase.
Federal Government: The U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service provides federal aid to state wildlife agencies to support a variety of hunting-related projects, including hunter education, land acquisition, and improvement of wildlife habitat. The Federal Aid in Wildlife Restoration funding was established in 1937 by the Pittman–Robertson Act.
State Government: State wildlife agencies sponsor the hunter education programs that are found in each state or province.
National Hunter Education Organizations: Non-governmental organizations (Ducks Unlimited, IHEA–USA, etc.) offer hunter education and firearm safety education materials and training.
Industry, Business, and Clubs: Many firearm and archery manufacturers provide training materials to teach hunters how to use their products safely. Local hunting clubs, civic clubs, and businesses often provide the facilities and equipment for hunter education courses.
Hunting Education: U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, state and provincial wildlife agencies, non-governmental organizations (such as IHEA-USA), hunting equipment manufacturers, and local organizations.
Pittman–Robertson Act (Federal Aid in Wildlife Restoration Act):
found hunting education
"Robertson's 29 words" are a clause in the act's language to prevent states from diverting license fees paid by hunters away from their intended purpose: "... And which shall include a prohibition against the diversion of license fees paid by hunters for any other purpose than the administration of said State fish and game department..."
Wildlife Management Law:
Establishing hunting seasons that limit harvesting and avoid nesting and mating seasons.
Limiting hunting methods and equipment.
Setting “bag” limits on the number of animals that can be taken.
Establishing check stations and game tag requirements to enforce the laws.
Establish safety guidelines for hunting that protect both hunters and non-hunters.
Offer equal opportunity for all hunters, whether they use modern firearms, muzzleloaders, or bows.
Ensure adequate funding for wildlife programs by collecting license fees, which annually raises millions of dollars.
Fair chase rules: make sure hunters have no unfair advantage over wild game by balancing the skills and equipment of the hunter with the abilities of the animal to escape. (so you can't cheat, the game rule is written in law)
May involve: banning the use of vehicles, airplanes, and radios; electronic calling; or shooting in a fenced enclosure
For skill development: Expert hunters may use more restrictive and less effective techniques than novice hunters.
Many states have made these rules into law.
Hunting license, permits, and stamp requirements
Hunting seasons, locations, hours, and bag limits
Legal methods for hunting different species
Hunter orange requirements
Tagging, transporting, and reporting (checking) requirements
Find Hunting Regulation in:
Official state publications
Wildlife agency websites
Hunting access guides or booklets
For example, an animal appears beyond a hunter’s effective range for a clean kill. Should the hunter take the shot anyway and hope to get lucky? Ethical hunters would say no.
Respect natural resources
Respect other hunters
Respect Natural Resources
Leave the land better than you found it.
Adhere to fair chase rules.
Learn about wildlife, and support wildlife conservation programs.
Know your capabilities and limitations as a marksman, and stay within your effective range.
Strive for a quick, clean kill.
Make sure that meat and usable parts are not wasted by harvesting only as much as can be used or shared.
Hunt only with other ethical hunters.
Abide by game laws and regulations.
Cooperate with conservation officers.
Report game violations.
Ask landowners for permission to hunt.
Follow their restrictions on when and where you may hunt.
Treat livestock and crops as your own.
Offer to share a part of your harvest with the owner.
Leave all gates the way you found them.
If you notice something wrong or out of place, notify the landowner immediately.
Never enter private land that is cultivated or posted unless you have obtained permission first. Some states require written permission from landowners.
Landlords may get mad of you for the following reasons:
Don’t get permission to hunt.
Don’t tell the landowners when they arrive at or leave the property.
Make too much noise.
Leave litter behind.
Carry loaded firearms in vehicles.
Drive off the ranch roads.
Don’t leave gates as they were found (open or shut) when the hunter arrived.
Shoot too close to neighbors or livestock.
Leave fires unattended.
Violate game laws.
Drink alcohol to excess.
Transport animals discreetly—don’t display them.
Keep firearms out of sight.
Refrain from taking graphic photographs of the kill and from vividly describing the kill while within earshot of non-hunters.
Maintain a presentable appearance while on the street—no bloody or dirty clothing.
Anti-hunter Protester: Report hunter harassment to law enforcement authorities. If possible, record the vehicle license number of harassers.
Gray Areas of Hunting:
Baiting deer with corn or protein pellets
Shooting birds on the ground, on the water, or in trees
Shooting from a vehicle or boat within private boundaries or on private waters
Five Stages to Become Experienced:
Shooting Stage: when you don't have patient and just want to shoot (showing off the fact that I can shoot)
Limiting-Out Stage: want to do challenging moves for quantity (showing off how many I shoot)
Trophy Stage: judge success by quality over quantity (showing off how good I can shoot)
Method Stage: judge success by the process (showing off how I shoot)
Sportsman Stage: judge in terms of recognitions of others (showing off personal accomplishments)
Action: moving part. load, fire the ammunition. eject the shells or cartridges.
Stock: you hold it
Barrel: guides the projectile in the intended direction.
Trigger Guard: a ring near trigger to prevent accidental touch
Safety: block trigger, prevent human failure
Manazine: hold ammunition before load them into chamber
Chamber: Base of the barrel used to hold the cartridge or shotshell ready for shooting
Forestock: hold it
Sight: Device used for aiming by aligning a front and rear sight
Muzzle: The end of the barrel through which the projectile (bullet or shot) exits
bore: Inside of the firearm barrel through which the projectile travels when fired
breech: Rear end of the barrel
firing pin: A pin that strikes the primer of the cartridge, causing ignition
receiver: Metal housing for the working parts of the action
Muzzleloaders have locks instead of actions.
Butt: hold against shoulder
Forestock (or fore end): On a pump (or slide) action, sliding the forestock back ejects the shotshell and cocks the action. Sliding it forward loads a fresh shell into the chamber.
Rib: A raised surface along the top of the barrel which serves as a sighting plane
Bead: A visual indicator for pointing the shotgun
Double-Action Revolver: pistol, but with a revolver
Ejector Rod: Metal rod used to help with removal of cartridges (under Barrel)
Cylinder: revolver, store ammunition by rotation
Hammer: Part that strikes the primer to cause ignition
Grip: handel for handgun
Semi-Automatic Pistol: most common handgun
cartridge: for modern rifles and handguns; a case containing primer, gunpowder, and a bullet
shotshell: for modern shotguns; a case containing primer, gunpowder, wad, and a slug or shot
Rifles and handguns use a cartridge containing a single projectile (bullet). Shotguns use a shotshell containing either a single slug or a large number of small projectiles (shot or pellets).
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