State Police offer firearm hunting safety reminders

 With firearm deer season now upon us, the Michigan State Police (MSP) Third District Headquarters wants to wish every hunter who goes afield success during their hunt, but also wants to remind both hunters and non-hunters that firearm deer season has potential hazards.


“Every hunting season sees its share of hunting accidents and fatalities, most of which can be avoided,” stated Lt. Brian Cole of (MSP) Third District Headquarters.  “Most hunting accidents are due to careless handling of firearms, shooting at unidentified targets and victims who were not in sight of the shooter.”

In order to have a safe hunting season, troopers remind hunters to adhere to the following safety standards:

• Wear hunter orange so you can be seen. During the firearms deer season, Michigan law requires hunters to wear a hat, cap, vest, jacket or rain gear of highly visible orange, commonly referred to as “hunter orange.” These must be worn as an outermost garment and be visible from all sides. If you are wearing a camouflaged orange garment, 50 percent of the surface must be hunter orange. 

• Don’t rely on you gun’s safety. Treat all firearms as if they are loaded and ready to fire at all times.

• Never cross a fence, climb a tree or jump a ditch with a loaded firearm.

• Never hoist a loaded firearm into a tree stand.

• Be absolutely sure of your target, as well as what is behind it before you fire.

• Know the range of your firearm. Remember bullets from high powered rifles can easily travel over 1.5 miles. 

• Dress appropriately to avoid hypothermia while afield.

• Always tell someone where you will be hunting and when you plan to return. If needed, draw a map of your exact location.

• Carry and use a flashlight while walking through your hunting area before and after dark.

• Avoid alcoholic beverages while hunting. 

Troopers also want to remind the non-hunting public to adhere to a number of the same safety recommendations during hunting season.  If you are outside enjoying the great outdoors during the firearm deer season, troopers recommend non-hunters take the following precautions:

• Wear hunter orange if you are engaging in outside activities near hunting areas. Try to avoid wearing white or brown clothing.  

• If possible, avoid activities in areas where you know hunting is taking place, especially during low light hours.

• Carry and use a flashlight when outside during times of low light.

• If you hear shooting nearby, make yourself known by raising your voice or yelling to let others know you are in the area.

For more information on hunting regulations, visit the Michigan Department of Natural Resources web site at www.michigan.gov/dnr.

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