HELENA – After two hunters died in accidental discharges in Montana last yaer, Fish, Wildlife and Parks officials want to remind people what basic steps to take to stay safe while hunting.
To be able to get your hunting license in the state of Montana you have to take a hunter's education course if were born after January 1 of 1985 but there are several options available.
But the consistency between them is safety. Fish Wildlife and Parks officials say there are four rules that they really try to instill in their students.
Always point the muzzle in a safe direction, always be sure of your back stop and always keep your finger off the trigger until you're ready to fire and always treat every gun as if it were loaded.
"They're a tool and if they're not treated properly it's just like any other tool whether it's a car or a knife or a hammer. If you don't treat it with respect you can get yourself hurt or hurt somebody else,” said Wayde Cooperider, the Outdoor Skills and Safety Supervisor with FWP.
During the 2018 hunting season, there was a tremendous number of unintentional discharges resulting in two deaths. There was also a number of injuries due to firearms going off unintentionally. That’s why Cooperider stresses the safety aspect, so they can hopefully put that accidental and unintentional discharge rate to zero this year.
FWP Officials are making sure their students know that there is no need to walk around with a chambered round with a big game pine rifle. Cooperider says it's too easy for safeties to get accidentally slipped off or for triggers to get pulled.
"We really want them to not load a chamber round until they are sitting there and getting close and ready to fire. And of course, unchamber that round if they are going to go walking around again. Hopefully we'll put that accidental and unintentional discharge rate to zero this year,” said Cooperider.
Cooperider also tells his students whenever there is a firearm that goes off causing someone to be hurt there is always on rule that is broken. The firearm was not pointed in a safe direction. That’s why he stresses the safety aspect and the handling of the firearms and making sure they know where their muzzles are pointed at all times.
Cooperider also wants to stress the importance of double and triple checking so everyone can go out and have a safe and successful hunting season and enjoy the Big Sky County.