Could You Pass a Hunter Safety Course?



By: Zoe Samuel

6 Min Quiz

Image: Shutterstock

About This Quiz

How well do you know basic hunting safety? Do you think you could pass a hunter safety course? Take this quiz to find out how much you know about hunting safety.

Although most people who hunt do so for fun, they are also aware of the risks that accompany the sport. After all, any activity that involves the use of firearms and other hunting implements (such as knives and bows) is likely to come with its own set of dangers. To minimize the risks, some hunters take a hunter safety course. In some states, all hunters are required to take this course before being granted a hunting license, and in other states, only hunters under a certain age are required to take one. Either way, since the beginning of time, there have been rules that govern hunting (albeit, at some point in the past, those rules were probably unspoken) so that the hunters make it home safely from the hunt. Today's hunting safety courses cover basic knowledge on how to handle a firearm, when and where to hunt, and some of the basic terminology of hunting.

Take this quiz to see if you could ace a hunter safety course.

What's the first thing you should do when someone hands you a gun?

Muzzle discipline is one of the most important things. If your gun is pointing at someone, it could kill them. It's that simple!


When should the safety be on?

The safety should be on whenever you're not about to fire the gun. You can leave it off between shots if they are close together.


If you're just standing there with a gun, where should the muzzle be pointing?

You must assume the gun is loaded, which means you must position it so that if it goes off, no one gets hurt.


How often should you clean your gun?

You should clean your gun every time you take it out. A pro tip: wad up some paper towel, stuff it in the barrel, and push it down the barrel with the brush, straight into the trash. Voila: clean inside with one motion!


Which eye should be open when firing a shotgun?

You should keep both eyes open when firing a shotgun. If you don't do this, go get lessons and fix this bad habit. It is much safer as it keeps your depth perception accurate meaning you don't shoot at a bird that is outside your range (thus missing and creating a bunch of falling shot to come down), or think something is outside your range that is not. You will learn how to compensate for having one eye more dominant than the other.


What special precaution should you take when shooting near a waterway?

It's important not to allow lead shot to pollute waterways, as it is toxic. Hunters are usually huge conservationists, so take care of the rivers. That way they'll take care of the birds, and we'll all have birds to hunt in future.


What should you shout to warn a nearby hunter that a bird is about to fly above their position?

The traditional shout to warn someone a bird is coming their way is "over".


When you're standing holding your gun, where should your finger be?

Your finger must be somewhere that if you were to cough, misstep, or simply have a twitch unexpectedly, you won't fire your gun without meaning to. That's how someone ends up dead.


If the muzzle of your gun touches grassy or muddy ground, what do you do?

If your gun's barrel goes into the muck, grit may get into the barrel and block it. This can cause the gun to jam or even explode. Take the extra seconds to open it up and look - safely!


Who provides federal funds to state wildlife agencies to pay for hunting projects?

This department protects endangered species and habitats, and also ensures that hunting occurs in a safe and environmentally responsible manner.


What is falling shot?

Falling shot is not dangerous provided you wear a hat and don't look directly up, but if you are unlucky, it can cut your head or even take out an eye. A sturdy pair of sunglasses is advisable if you plan to squint directly upward.


When hunting deer, which is it acceptable to shoot?

When you shoot a deer, unless you've paid for a big fancy set of antlers, you should be aiming to shoot the old and sick deer. These are the ones who would otherwise likely die a slow and unpleasant death, meaning that shooting them is more humane.


Where's one place you should never shoot?

You should not shoot over a rise, either. Shoot where you can be totally sure that if you miss, the errant shot will go into the soil, or else just fall harmlessly out of the sky. Don't shoot where you can't be sure of this, because someone may be there.


Who wrote famous gun safety poem, "A Father's Advice"?

The poem opens with the words, "Never ever let your gun, pointed be at anyone..." and proceeds to outline the basics of gun safety.


What are the three types of bow and arrows?

While hunting with a bow and arrow is potentially less humane due to the odds of injuring instead of immediately killing the target, a competent bow-hunter should be able to use one of the three key kinds of bow to hunt humanely and efficiently - and quietly!


What are the plastic vanes or feathers on an arrow called?

Fletching provides aerodynamic stabilization so that the arrow goes in the direction that it was originally sent!


What name is given to the round flying discs used to train marksmen and in shooting contests?

Clay pigeons are known as skeet in the US. They are a round clay disc, usually black, but sometimes bright orange for ease of viewing. Some makes have powder in them, to provide a satisfying puff of color when you hit them.


After you fire a shell, what do you do with it?

After you eject the shell casing, once you have a break, you should collect the casing from the ground. Leaving litter is bad form.


What are two pheasants known as?

A brace is two of anything you have hunted. It's an old hunting term.


What is a covey?

A covey is a family of certain kinds of birds like grouse, partridge, and others.


How many hours of lessons are necessary to cover the basics of safe hunting?

You can probably go from "genuinely dangerous" to "not dangerous" in about 10 hours, but you shouldn't really go hunting unsupervised until you have 80-100 hours of experience. Also, as with any skill, a real pro is always in training. A quick top-up before the new season is a great idea.


Do you need military training to be a safe hunter?

Military training certainly emphasizes muzzle discipline and good instincts, but it is not strictly necessary. However, there is no maximum to how much good training a hunter should aspire to have.


What's the second thing you should do when someone hands you a gun (after pointing the muzzle someplace safe)?

If you don't know whether it's loaded, then it's loaded. Always check!


Why are skeet not the ideal way to train for shooting birds safely?

Since skeet are thrown from a launcher, they fly in perfect parabolas, unlike birds. A good instructor will ensure that their student learns how to safely shoot at skeet from different angles: directly overhead, coming from behind, to the left, right, and diagonal. Otherwise they may get in bad habits that cause danger on a real hunt.


What is the other name for a shotgun shell?

Cartridges and shells are different names for exactly the same thing!


What is the difference between shotgun and rifle ammo?

A rifle fires a single bullet at once. A shotgun fires a shell with pellets inside. Pellets have a "spread" over a given area, meaning you don't need the same level of accuracy. Hitting a grouse with a rifle would be virtually impossible. Shotguns can also shoot slugs, of course, but not while hunting.


What makes a rifle, a rifle?

A rifle's barrel has "rifling" on the inside, a sort of carved corkscrew shape that puts spin on a bullet to give it deadly accuracy.


What is the "gauge" of a shotgun?

The gauge of a shotgun technically comes from the number of lead spheres, as a fraction of a pound, that fit the "bore" or the size of the barrel. Eg there are twenty 20-gauge balls in a pound of lead. A 20-gauge shotgun uses this size of ball in its cartridges. Generally speaking the lower the gauge, the bigger the kick. A 20-gauge is a great training gun but a 12-gauge is a more effective hunting weapon.


What is a skewed stock?

A skewed stock is a gun that is designed to be fired from the hunter's dominant side, but sighted for the opposite eye. Thus a right-handed hunter with a dominant left eye need not learn to shoot from the left shoulder in order to be accurate with both eyes open. Of course, a really good hunter can shoot from either side.


What is the lethal range of a 12-gauge shotgun using a standard shell?

Skeet have been shot at up to 120 yards, and if it can take down a skeet, it can take you down too - it probably won't, but it might. That said, generally a shotgun like this is at its best within 50 yards. Also, if you see someone at 150 yards, don't just shoot at them on the offchance that it will be all right: one gust of wind, an unexpectedly long barrel, or slightly different ammo, and you could be looking at 25 to life. Generally speaking, if you're holding a gun, you need to assume that the distance from the muzzle to the nearest solid earth bank or thick concrete wall is the danger zone.


What is the safe drinking limit while hunting?

The safe amount of alcohol to have in your bloodstream while operating a firearm is zero, or as close to zero as possible. Tipsy hunting is dangerous hunting, and drunk hunting is lethal hunting. Many hunters do have a drink during the day, but they do so with lunch, in order to line their stomach and metabolize it. This is still a bad idea.


What's one danger on a pheasant hunt?

Being hit by a falling bird sounds like a silly risk, but everyone who has been on a lot of pheasant hunts knows someone who it has happened to!


Why are snipe tricky to hunt?

Snipe fly straight only for the first few yards: once in the air, they zigzag, meaning you can easily lose track when following them


What is a particular risk in boar hunting?

Boar have a very thick hide, and while they are hunted with a very big rifle indeed, the risk of ricochet off their hide is always there.


What makes duck hunting especially dangerous?

Duck hunting takes place at sunset when the duck come home. They circle the pond where they sleep to watch out for predators. This is the best time to shoot them. However as they have really good eyesight - to the point that they can tell a person with a stick apart from one with a gun - you have to wear full camo, which means your fellow hunter can't see you either.


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