Hunter shooting a gunEven though hunting season just started, there have already been plenty of accidents all over the country.

Hunting is a wonderful pastime when it’s undertaken by responsible individuals in a responsible manner. Unfortunately, a lot of times these hunting accidents we hear about are completely avoidable.

As hunters, we should be appalled by this. We know how safe hunting can and should be. All it takes is a little sense, effort and personal responsibility.

Since it never hurts to refresh our memory, here’s a great guide from knowledgeable hunting expert and prolific columnist Doug Leier. He’s put together a “dos and donts” list to keep you and those in your hunting party safe this season.

1. Treat every firearm as though it’s loaded.

2. Control the direction of your firearm’s muzzle.

3. Be sure of your target and what is beyond it.

4. Be sure the barrel and action are clear of obstructions.

5. Unload firearms when not in use.

6. Never point a firearm at anything you do not intend to shoot.

7. Never climb a fence or tree, or jump a ditch or log, with a loaded firearm.

8. Never shoot a bullet at a flat, hard surface or water.

9. Store firearms and ammunition separately.

10. Avoid alcoholic beverages or other mood-altering drugs before or while shooting.

A safe hunting season is really as simple as that! Follow these rules and you can ensure a happy and healthy time out in the field. It’s the least you can do to prevent another needless accident.