West Virginia Hunter Safety Course


Safe Firearm Handling in the Field

The terrain and the number of hunters that are with you will determine how you carry your firearm in the field.

Two-Hand Carry

Provides the best control of the firearm. One hand holds the firearm's grip and the other is on the forearm of the firearm. This is sometimes referred to as the ready carry. It gives the hunter the best control of the muzzle, and the firearm can be shouldered quickly.


Shoulder Carry

A useful carry when using a break action firearm. One hand is placed on the barrel as shown, while the action is open and rested on your shoulder. This carry allows for good muzzle control while walking longer distances. A different type of shoulder carry is used with rifles - where one hand is holding the firearm's grip, barrel resting on your shoulder and the muzzle is pointed behind you. Only use this type of carry if you are absolutely certain that no one is behind you.


Trail Carry

Use this carry only when no one is in front of you. Grasp the stock with one hand, just in front of the action. Ensure the muzzle is pointed away and in front of you. This positions the muzzle toward the ground but does not offer good control of the firearm. Be careful that the muzzle does not hit the ground - if it does, you have to check the barrel for an obstruction.