BUCKHANNON — Rifle Season opened on Monday in West Virginia. Hunting is one of the largest businesses in North America. Millions of hunters take to forests and fields every year, including deer farms. Seasonal hunters and novice alike can benefit from revisiting safety procedures before their first outing of the season.
There are three steps hunters must take in order to be eligible to hunt: 1. Study and successfully pass $34.95 online course; 2. Finish any additional requirements needed; 3. Know your safety regulations and be prepared.
There is no minimum age requirement to take the online course and you do not have to be a resident of West Virginia. After successful completion of the online course, a written test for hunting safety must be completed.
Weather is a critical component to consider before going into the woods. Make sure to have the proper equipment and clothing to stay warm and safe. Weather conditions can limit visibility to other hunters and although being seen by wildlife is usually avoided, being visible to other hunters can help in avoiding danger.
Here are some ways to use firearm safety:
• Always treat a firearm as if it is loaded.
• Keep your finger off the trigger until ready to shoot.
• Only point at what you plan to shoot.
• Observe your surroundings to ensure nothing is around or beyond your target.
• Fire within the zone of fire, which is the 45-degree area directly in front of each hunter.
• Firearm chambers should be emptied when the firearm is not in use.
• Use appropriate ammunition.
• Never modify or alter a gun.
• Never cross into someone else’s property; stay in your designated/allotted area.
• Never rely on a gun’s safety.
Try to always let a family member or close friend know when you are leaving and where you are going in case of emergency. Have fun and stay safe!