31 May 2022

Hunting with safety Experience and common sense

Safety in hunting and, in general, in the use of weapons is a mental attitude that is acquired by learning a few rules of conduct that must never be left behind.

Often hunting is a passion that is handed down by those close to us. A grandfather, a father, an uncle, a friend? In the first hunting memories that everyone jealously keeps, there will certainly be a real "lesson on safety", rightly so, crucial, developmental, perhaps the only essential value to consider yourself a good hunter.

Hunting with safety is the first and fundamental value that every hunter learns when approaching hunting activity.

Talking about safety in the use of hunting weapons simply means using an instrument appropriately – the firearm, be it a semi-automatic rifle, a semi-automatic shotgun or a bolt action. The firearm: a thermo-ballistic machine, as it has been defined in the most synthetic way – avoiding that damage can be ‘triggered’ by those who use it, to people, to things and to the weapon itself.

Two sets of reflections open when addressing the serious issue of hunting safety:

  • knowledge of the general safety rules relating to the use of firearms
  • the virtuous behaviour of the hunter to be followed during the hunting activity to avoid accidents

When can you say that a hunting weapon is safe?

Without fear of moving too far away from reality, we could say that a hunting weapon is not dangerous until left as an inactive object, while it can become dangerous when it is placed in someone’s hands.

In other words, we could say that weapons of modern construction and in perfect efficiency are intrinsically safe, do not fire on their own and become the cause of damage or accidents due to inexperience, negligence or at the will of a person who handles them.

Although it is true that not all hunting weapons are intrinsically safe (especially those of older construction, those modified or that have not had the necessary maintenance), it is also true that the wise user knows whether a weapon gives guarantees of safety or not.

Therefore, safe conditions in the use of firearms are only achieved when their user is fully aware of what they are doing, handles the weapon with ownership and mastery, and behaves with common sense.

Handling weapons safely

The same common sense suggests that if you do not know the characteristics of a hunting weapon that you are preparing to handle, it is essential to take all possible precautions; otherwise it is better not to try any approach with an unknown weapon.

It should of course be added that, when handling hunting weapons or weapons in general, alcoholic beverages and drugs must be avoided.

Excessive fatigue and stress are also dangerous sources of unattended behaviour and, therefore, able to diminish attention to danger and compliance with safety regulations, in particular in hunting safety. In general, any weapon in any situation must always be considered loaded, until the user proves to himself that the weapon is unloaded (or that he has managed to unload it).

Wherever you are with a weapon, you must always find a direction of safety – on the firing range it is easier: in the direction of the target – towards which you must point the weapon when you unload it and load it.

In the most absolute way, the weapon must never be aimed at other people or even at themselves.

It is imperative that the fingers of the hand (but also the objects that we handle or with which we could come into contact) always remain outside the guard of the trigger: the index finger must be resting on the trigger only and exclusively in the moments before the intention to shoot.

It would be enough to always observe this rule to avoid most accidents.

Hunting security: criminal liability

From the point of view of the law on hunting security, it is good to remember that criminal liability is personal: it is not enough that the friend who handed us the semi-automatic shotgun told us that it is unloaded.

You have to be able to make sure yourself, otherwise you risk being at the mercy of a machine potentially capable of creating very serious damage. Knowing the technical and use characteristics of the hunting weapon or sporting weapon that is being used is therefore an obligation.

All weapons of modern production are accompanied by an instruction manual, which clearly explains how it should be used; a friend, who is a serious and competent person in the use of hunting weapons or sports weapons, can make us perfectly masters of a weapon, provided that you really want to learn.

A hunting weapon is no longer complicated to use than many other machines we use every day: just get over laziness and superficiality to learn how to use and manage your weapon correctly in order to be able to ensure safety while hunting.

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