The 10 Rules of Firearm Safety
As a safe hunter you should obey the following rules of firearm safety every single time you handle a firearm
Keep the Muzzle Pointed in a Safe Direction
It is your responsibility to always control the muzzle of your firearm and ensure it is pointed in a safe direction. This rule should be followed at all times, even if the firearm is unloaded or in a protective case. If you remember and obey this rule, you will not have to worry about hurting any person or damaging property.
Treat Every Firearm as if it were Loaded
Every time you pick up a firearm, open the action and check to see whether ammunition is present. When another hunter hands you a firearm, do not accept it unless the firearm is unloaded and the action is open.
Be Sure of Your Target, in Front and Beyond
Making good decisions is part of being a safe hunter. Always identify the target and ensure it is legal and ethical to shoot before your finger goes into the trigger guard and onto the trigger. Take care not to mistake another hunter for a game animal. Always remember that once the trigger is pulled, you cannot call back that bullet. If you hear something approaching you, take a deep breath and remain calm. Always have a good backstop when shooting your firearm. Be careful of rocks and water. These might cause the bullet to ricochet, sending it in an unexpected direction. Also, never shoot toward the top of a hill.
IMPORTANT! In Iowa it is illegal to discharge a firearm within 200 yards of any occupied building or a feed lot, unless you have permission to do so. Never fire in the direction of ANY building.
Keep Your Finger Off the Trigger
Safe hunters always protect the trigger. Your finger should be inside the trigger guard and on the trigger only after you have identified your target - as well as what's in front of and beyond that target.