Hunting Safety

Tips for Hunting Safely and Responsibly

Hunters in hunter orangeNH Fish and Game reminds hunters to hunt carefully. "We urge hunters to follow a few simple guidelines to hunt safely and enjoy their time in the woods," says Josh Mackay, Fish and Game's Hunter Education Coordinator. 


  • Control your firearm muzzle at all times.
  • Always wear safety glasses.
  • Know where your hunting partners are at all times.
  • Shoot only within your zone of fire.
  • Be sure of your target and what is beyond it.
  • Always keep your hunting dog under control.
  • Wear hunter orange on your head, back, and chest.
  1. Treat every firearm with the same respect due a loaded firearm.
  2. Control the direction of your firearm's muzzle.
  3. Be sure of your target and what is beyond it.
  4. Be sure the barrel and action are clear of obstructions.
  5. Unload firearms when not in use.
  6. Never point a firearm at anything you do not intend to shoot.
  7. Never climb a fence or tree, or jump a ditch or log, with a loaded firearm.
  8. Never shoot a bullet at a flat, hard surface or water.
  9. Store firearms and ammunition separately.
  10. Avoid alcoholic beverages or other mood-altering drugs before or while shooting.

New to hunting? Here are some ideas to get you started. Make getting ready to hunt a team effort. It’ll be more fun for you and your hunting partners, and that first early morning wake-up call won’t seem nearly so bad!

  • If you don’t have a hunting partner yet, talk to your friends, classmates and family members to see who’s interested.
  • Visit a local fish and game club, shooting range or archery range where you can practice your skills.
  • Buy a hunting license at any New Hampshire license agent, and pick up a copy of the NH Hunting Digest to familiarize yourself with the rules.
  • Practice the map-and-compass skills that you learned in Hunter Ed.
  • Study the wildlife that you want to hunt. Learning about an animal’s habits and habitat will help you understand where and when to find it.
  • Decide where you want to hunt.
  • Scout your hunting area. Look for tracks and scat, buck rubs and game trails, or get up early and listen for gobbles.
  • Read outdoor magazines and newspapers like NH Wildlife Journal, and tune in to outdoor TV shows, radio shows and podcasts for hunting news and information.
  • If planning to hunt on private property, contact the landowner to get permission.
  • Get equipped. A sporting goods store can help you pick the right firearm, bow and arrows, calls, scents, or other gear. Wear layered clothing appropriate for the weather. Gearing up doesn’t have to be expensive — try your local thrift shop.
  • Create a hunting trip plan to leave with someone at home; include details like when and where you’re hunting and who you’re hunting with. (See your Hunter Education manual.)