Minnesota Hunter Safety Course


The Effects of Drugs and Alcohol on Hunters

A person's blood alcohol concentration (BAC) should be at ZERO when handling any type of firearm or hunting tool. After even one drink, the hunter's abilities become impaired, making it extremely dangerous to handle a firearm or bow. The following are the five levels of impairment a person will experience.

Level 1. (BAC 0.02 - 0.04)

This can happen with less than a single drink, depending on the person's weight and metabolism. The person will likely not feel intoxicated at this point, but delicate motor skills become affected. A person would have trouble obtaining a proper sight picture or effectively aiming a firearm.

Level 2. (BAC 0.05 - 0.07)

At this point the person's rational thinking becomes affected. Thus, the person might have trouble making safe decisions while hunting. A person in this level of impairment is more likely act in an overall unsafe manner, such as swinging out of their safe zone of fire or shooting at an animal located at the top of a hill.

Level 3. (BAC 0.08 - 0.09)

This can result in as little as two drinks. At this point, the person's vision is affected. They cannot be expected to see colors or movement effectively, and will not be able to positively identify game.

Level 4. (BAC 0.10)

When the blood alcohol level reaches 0.10, the persons overall motor skills begin to deteriorate. A person at this level is likely to stumble over themselves, slur their words and be a danger to those around them.

Level 5. (BAC over 0.10)

A BAC that is over 0.10 can be very dangerous. In many cases, people at this level will lose consciousness. A high enough BAC can be life threatening.