By Brad Wilson - Guest contributor
As an avid duck hunter I get to spend quite a bit of time in the blind with different people from all walks of life. I have had the opportunity to hunt with professional sports stars as well as with average Joes that have never sat in a blind a day in their life. One thing that I can not stress more is SAFETY!
When folks whom I've never been hunting with get in the blind with me, we always go over safety and shot selection, first and foremost. The basic rule that I give is what I call the "10 to 2 Rule."
Basically what the hunter has to understand is that his window of opportunity will present itself between the 10 o'clock and 2 o'clock position as he or she directly faces the front or rear of the blind. If the bird happens to get outside of that range then that bird is off limits to the hunter and is in play for the person standing next to them.
If I have a hunter deviates from this rule, I will give a fair warning on the first instance. I love this sport and I completely understand that we get caught up in the adrenaline rush sometimes, so if the infraction wasn't blatant or reckless I will give a little leeway. My delivery will definitely make them think about the shot they took though. If it happens again, the hunter will be asked to unload his weapon and set it down. In all the years I have been hunting I have only had to go to this extreme one time. After a few vollies, it was apparent that he understood where I was coming from and after a little pep talk we agreed that he would be WAY more careful. I didn't have another problem all morning, and he learned a new respect for his weapon and the other hunters around him.
One exception to this rule is the hunter on the end of the blind. I normally like to put more experienced hunters on the end because typically their shooting skills are far better than a novice's and thus they can "cover the end"
of the blind. I typically sit on the end where the door is, so I can work the dog on retrieves and cover that end of the blind.
One thing we all should remember: a hunt with no safety is nothing more than a game of Russian Roulette with accidents waiting to happen. Whether you are in the duck marsh, the deer woods, or just having fun at the local range, safety should be your first and foremost concern at all times. Always understand that "you are your brother's keeper" and not speaking up about unsafe acts is just as bad as if not worse than committing the unsafe act yourself.
Happy hunting and stay safe!Brad Wilson is an avid outdoorsman targeting waterfowl and saltwater fish and is a guest contributor for the Beretta Blog. He can be reached on Twitter and YouTube.
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