MISSOURI – Opening weekend of deer season is right around the corner. For some hunters, this unofficial national holiday is the highlight of their year. While hunters are searching for a prized buck, safety should always come first.

KMZU’s Sara Miles spoke with Tim Miller, an Education Consultant and Outdoor Skills Specialist with the Missouri Department of Conservation about staying safe while hunting this deer season.

Miller started by saying, “The first rule of firearm safety is to point your muzzle in a safe direction.”

For some this may seem obvious. Regardless, this simple tip is the easiest way to prevent accidents involving firearms in any context.

Hunters also need to be aware what is beyond their intended target. Miller explains, “A lot of these rifle cartridges can carry a long way so you definitely need to know what’s in the background beyond your target.”

Before a single shot is fired, Miller suggests having blaze orange to wear, per state law, and making sure a tree stand is safe and the proper equipment is used.

For new hunters, obtaining a Hunters Education Certificate is vital. The Missouri Department of Conservation has made it even easier to learn about hunters safety through an online course which can be found at mdc.mo.gov.

Miller explained that this online course is perfect for those who want to get the certification and knowledge they need on a tight schedule. Hunters 16 and older can take the course online.

The course can still be taken in person for those who would like to be face-to-face with a professional or those who are younger than 16.

“Hunting is a very safe activity so if we just follow the basic rules of firearm safety, [hunters] should be good to go.”