Minnesota Hunter Safety Course


Keep firearms unloaded with the action open

There is no reason to have firearms loaded before you are ready to start your hunt. Firearms should always be kept unloaded, with the action open, until you are ready to hunt, and can devote your full attention to the loaded firearm.

When to load or unload firearms

It is perfectly acceptable to walk in the bush with a loaded firearm while hunting, provided you are in a situation where you are able to fully control the firearm, and you know where your safe zone of fire is located. However, you should ALWAYS unload your firearm in these situations:

  • When you approach others (other hunters, people out hiking, the landowner, etc)
  • When you approach a building, vehicle parking, or any public road
  • Before you set the firearm down for any reason
  • Before you cross a fence or any terrain where you might slip or trip (ice, mud, area with lots of rocks or roots, etc)
  • Before you enter or exit a treestand
  • Before you retrieve or carry the game animal out of the bush
  • Before you return to camp, to your group, or vehicle