It's hunting season and the Wyoming Game and Fish urges folks to know and follow a few safety tips to avoid tragedy.

Katie Simpson, Wyoming Game and Fish Department hunter education coordinator, and numerous hunter education instructors in the state use the acronym T.A.B.K. as a reminder of four key safety elements:

  • Treat every firearm as if it’s loaded.
  • Always point your muzzle in a safe direction.
  • Be sure of your target and what’s beyond it.
  • Keep your finger off the trigger until you are ready to shoot.
“Our most common occurrence of hunting-related accidents in Wyoming usually involves a vehicle, either loading firearms in or out of the vehicle or riding on the vehicle and accidentally bumping the trigger. The second most common involves obstacle crossing,” Simpson said.

“Our most common occurrence of hunting-related accidents in Wyoming usually involves a vehicle, either loading firearms in or out of the vehicle or riding on the vehicle and accidentally bumping the trigger. The second most common involves obstacle crossing,” Simpson said.

If you drive around with a firearm, as many Wyomingites do, don't keep a round in the chamber.

Dan Smith, Game and Fish interim deputy chief of wildlife, said hunters should have a good working knowledge of their firearms.

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“Loading and unloading a rifle or shotgun is a time I see people get a little careless,” he said. “I’ve checked people in the field who didn’t know how to unload their shotgun without pulling the trigger. Just knowing how your firearm works takes away a lot of the risk of accidents.”

Other tips include wearing flourescent or brightly colored clothing, do not use a riflescope as binoculars, always tell someone where you're going and when you plan to return, bring layers, clothing, food and water, understand hypothermia and its symptoms, and if you get lost--stay put.

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