The Georgia Department of Natural Resources, Wildlife Resources Division (WRD) encourages hunters to be alert and aware as they prepare for the upcoming primitive weapons season, Oct. 11-17, 2003. Muzzleloading, or blackpowder, guns have special requirements that call for critical attention to their specific safety precautions. Misuse of tree stands continues to be one of the leading causes of hunting-related incidents but all firearms should be handled with the utmost respect as well.
“Hunters that use muzzleloading guns during primitive weapons season
should know that they have specific safety precautions,” says State Hunter
Safety Coordinator Capt. James Bell. “The user must be completely
familiar with all safety requirements regarding the handling, loading and
firing of the gun before using it to hunt.”
Anyone who shoots a shotgun, rifle or muzzleloader, should know the ten
commandments of gun safety. They include keeping the muzzle pointed in a
safe direction, never relying solely on a gun’s safety, handling every gun
as if it was loaded and avoiding all use of alcohol and/or drugs before
and during the use of a firearm. In addition to these, there are other
safety measures that are unique to muzzleloaders, including:
· Never smoke around or while using a muzzleloader.
· Use a small intermediate device, such as a measure to pour powder
into a barrel.
· Never place yourself in front of the muzzle at any time.
· Keep flask and powder containers away from flames, sparks and
shooting areas to prevent an accidental explosion.
· Use only powders that are specific to each particular muzzleloader
and recommended by that firearms manufacturer. To do otherwise can cause
damage to the firearm and may cause serious injury, and even death, to the
shooter and/or spectators.
· Place percussion cap on nipple only when ready to shoot.
· The gun is considered to be safely unloaded only when the bullet,
powder and percussion cap are removed from the gun. If using a flintlock
muzzleloader, the bullet and powder should be removed and the flash pan
should be un-primed.
· Be sure to use only the recommended loading materials, the correct
powder charge, the right diameter and weight bullet and the correct lead
· Never use plastic (poly) patches. These are different from sabots.
· Treat a misfire as though your gun could fire at any moment. Keep
the muzzle pointed in a safe direction.
· Make sure the gun is completely unloaded before attempting to clean
· Make sure the projectile is firmly seated on the powder before
capping and firing.
· Never blow down the barrel of a muzzleloader to clear or extinguish
Sportsmen and women who need a hunter education course may visit the
WRD website or call the Central Reservations System at 1-800-864-7275 for
information. Pre-registration is required to attend either the
traditional ten-hour classroom course or the two-hour review course for
students completing the CD-Rom Hunter Education Course. The CD-Rom course
may be obtained by visiting or calling any WRD Law Enforcement Office.
For more information on muzzleloader and general firearms safety,
contact the nearest WRD Law Enforcement Office or call (770) 784-3068.
· Region I Calhoun (770) 769-9680
· Region II Gainesville (770) 535-5499
· Region III Thomson (706) 595-4211
· Region IV Macon (478) 751-6415
· Region V Albany (229) 430-4252
· Region VI Metter (912) 685-2145
· Region VII Brunswick (912) 264-7237