Minnesota Adult Hunter Safety Course


Knowing When to Shoot

You've been in your treestand all day and haven't seen a single bear come by. It's getting late, you're thinking about calling it a day when you suddenly see a black bear in the distance. It's a little far away but you think you might be able to get a clear shot. Should you shoot?

All hunters must ask themselves that question every time they are about to take a shot - "Should I shoot?" This split-second decision is the mark of a responsible and safe hunter. When asking yourself that question, you need to consider many factors.

  • Is the animal within your effective range?
  • Is the animal within your safe zone of fire?
  • Are you sure there is nothing and no one in front of and beyond the target?
  • Do you have a clear, unobstructed view of the aiming point?
  • Is this an ethical shot?
  • Is the animal aware of your presence? If so, does it look like it is about to run?

Also consider the weather and time of day. If it looks like foul weather, you might have a hard time finding the downed animal should it start to rain. Also, it can get dark very quickly in the bush also making it difficult to locate a downed animal. If you hesitate on these points, it is best to refrain from taking the shot.