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I was at a shooting tournament all day sunday, I brought up this thread topic at lunch, it must be either a regional or a competitive shooter vs. hunter dichotomy, none of them walked with loaded rifle chambers, the sitters/stand hunters were mostly load when game is spotted guys. I'm sure that part of it is elk hunting in rough terrain that is partly responsible for our habits as well as constant safety reminders at shooting tournaments.
All of them brought up bird hunting, most of us had been "rained" with shot by morons dove hunting.
Eye and ear protection came up as well, I don't wear ear protection hunting unless it's prairie dog shooting, always wear protective eyewear of some kind. I doubt anyone on here wears orange unless mandated by the state, I don't believe any states mandate you wear it pheasant or quail hunting which is one of the most dangerous hunts there is with novices and self proclaimed experts that hunt once a year.
 

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Discussion Starter #162
I wear orange when in the woods period,wether it is required or not. I have often wondered if road hunting shouldn't be encouraged to reduce wild life related auto accidents. Perhaps law enforcers should be encouraged or directed to shoot the gillions of deer grazing on country roads at night. Then there is turkey hunting where you are expected to put on dark clothes and go out in the woods and act like a turkey.
 
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Kevin, I'll certainly agree with not walking around with a loaded firearm at a shooting competition. Maybe if hunting in a group but certainly not if seriously hunting. Our deer and elk aren't considerate enough to stay put while the movement and noise associated with loading is performed. I feel sorry for the guys hunting with an unloaded semi-auto as if pumps and levers aren't noisey enough.
 

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I was a YHEC instructor for over 10 years, taught lots of adults the shooting sports and run my own hunting club for 18 years, probably spent more time teaching safe gun handling in different environments than anyone on here.
Had plenty of incidents where guns were pointed at me but the chambers were empty.
What gets me is people that get all preachy about gun safety when an incident occurs to someone else but when asked about there handling get defensive about something as simple and effective as having an unloaded chamber until your ready to shoot.
Honestly I don't care what you do but remember this conversation next time you read about someone being accidentally shot and ask yourself if it could have been prevented by having more than one layer of safety.
OK, that explains your position even further, and maybe if I'd been around that many people who were new to firearms, I'd be overly cautious, too. Still, you didn't answer the question I asked. Have you been out in the field with youth or first-time hunters? If so, weren't you right there beside them, helping ensure they didn't make mistakes?

The biggest flaw in your thought process is in bold, above: There is no such thing as an unloaded chamber! If every gun is treated as thought it's ALWAYS loaded and ready to fire, and the muzzle is controlled accordingly, accidents will be avoided. To put it another way: Many of the gun accidents you read about each year involve guns that the shooter swore was empty. (Even knowing the chamber was empty, you were still plenty concerned when those guns were inadvertently pointed in your direction...why is that??)

In addition to possibly hampering your efforts to hunt, relying on an "empty chamber" to promote safety, outside of a highly social hunting/shooting scenario, is misleading. The only safe gun is the one wielded by a safe shooter.
 
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Eye and ear protection came up as well, I don't wear ear protection hunting unless it's prairie dog shooting, always wear protective eyewear of some kind. I doubt anyone on here wears orange unless mandated by the state
I've been using electronic hearing protection for years and they've become one of my favorite pieces of hunting equipment. The ability to hear many things in the woods that you can't hear with the naked ear in and of itself is rewarding. Not blasting my eardrums out with handcannons is nice too ;)

About the orange, open country western hunting is an entirely different situation than deep south woods hunting. I didn't wear orange growing up and not many people did. Here in the south most people on public land anyway wear more orange than they're required (jacket/vest and a hat) when they're on the ground. Visibility is so limited as it is, anybody with reasonable intelligence wants to be seen by other hunters. Everything happens in too close quarters to be wandering around camo'd up.

I typically hunt from a climber or lock on and take off the orange when up in the stand but still hang the vest and hat from gear hooks on either side of the tree so a trigger happy squirrel hunter can see there's somebody up there :D
 

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Well it is pretty much illegal to hunt from a motorized vehicle, so we are covered there...not a hunting situation. Am thinking of a helicopter cull though. Hmm.

Although since off topic, my carry pistol is always loaded - even in my vehicle.
 

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I was taught as a youngster to treat every firearm as if it were loaded. Even if I had just unloaded it myself. That point was driven home one time long ago. There were a bunch of us piled into my fathers old chevy on our way home from hunting and we were stopped in a road block checking hunters. Our licenses were checked and our rifles taken from their cases and checked. One of the rifles belonging to one of the guys had a cartridge in the chamber. It was a Marlin lever gun and the guy probably miscounted as he unloaded it and never visually inspected the chamber to be sure it was empty. Bottom line was that he was bringing home a loaded gun that he thought was empty. He got a ticket and my father and uncles thanked the game warden for giving him the ticket. He was on the crap list for that one. He tried to make excuses but they wouldn't have it. Bottom line is to treat every gun as if it were loaded and keep it pointed in a safe direction. If you couldn't follow that rule you couldn't hunt. We always hunted with one in the chamber but violations of the rules were not tolerated. I can assure you that we kids were extremely aware of the muzzles of our rifles at all times. If I walked around with an unloaded rifle and pointed it, even unintentionally, at someone I would have been in big trouble. That has always seemed to me to be the safest course.
 

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This morning while sitting against a tree trying to call in a turkey, I thought about this thread. I was hunting with a Rem 870 pump and recalled how shucking the action is supposed to deter home invaders. I suspect it might also deter turkeys invading your space, unfortunately none came in to verify. :D
 

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A turkey is more likely to "see" you chamber a round than "hear" it in my observation of them? I don't think they have much of a sense of smell either.
Next time you see one close, cut a fart and see who moves first?
 

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I hope I can make a fair distinction but of the few NDs from hunting with one in the chamber I know about that ended in injury or death were the result of a SECONDARY safety violation such as improper gun handling. One was a friend of mine who was shot with a shotgun when the person he was hunting with caught a branch on the trigger and the gun was pointing at my friend - he took a load of # 6 but lived. The other was a friend of a friend who was standing in the back of a pickup with his head over the cab and a rifle was being held upright by a passenger inside butt on the floor muzzle up - the guy in the bed did not live...

My point is these incidents were not ENTIRELY due to a round in the chamber but mostly because of improperly handling of a gun that should be 'considered loaded at all times'
 

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A loaded rifle in the pickup is a no-go with me. There might some in the magazine but the chamber better be empty and the action open.

For ATV's the rifles have to be totally empty and cased. I'm in agreement with that regulation. There are exceptions for landowners, predator and varmint hunters.
 

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A loaded rifle in the pickup is a no-go with me. There might some in the magazine but the chamber better be empty and the action open.

For ATV's the rifles have to be totally empty and cased. I'm in agreement with that regulation. There are exceptions for landowners, predator and varmint hunters.
In Oregon it is now law for both of the above (except for TOTALLY empty) and like I said in an earlier post since the inception of this NDs, injuries and deaths have been reduced dramatically - so it that respect it's probably a good thing but this does NOT take the 'gun is always loaded' assumption out of the equation.
 

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In Oregon it is now law for both of the above (except for TOTALLY empty) and like I said in an earlier post since the inception of this NDs, injuries and deaths have been reduced dramatically - so it that respect it's probably a good thing but this does NOT take the 'gun is always loaded' assumption out of the equation.
Here its legal to have loaded and uncased rifles in the vehicle. With many of my hunting rifles having drop plates or removable box magazines its a simple fast deal to unload, which I often do.
 

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A loaded rifle in the pickup is a no-go with me. There might some in the magazine but the chamber better be empty and the action open.

For ATV's the rifles have to be totally empty and cased. I'm in agreement with that regulation. There are exceptions for landowners, predator and varmint hunters.
We don't have an anti ATV rule. Good thing too. I got attacked be two rabid dogs that lunged at me from an embankment when I was riding by. I bailed and round the ATV we we went three times while I finally managed to get the LOADED rifle out of it's scabbard. Thank goodness the two Rottweiler strays did not leap over the ATV. They were both simply crazy foamers. I put a 308 into each of them and watched them attack each other and then themselves before they died. Not a fun experience. Like I have said before. Best to be ready, and as safe as you can be. But be ready.
 

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Twenty years ago, I worked the case of a dead 13 yr. old that had a loaded, ON safe, shotgun locked into a hard handlebar case on a three wheeler. He got off to place duck decoys and left the ATV running. The gun fired as he was walking back to it.

I watched some kids load shotguns, put them in soft cases and slide them into the pick-up to go pheasant hunting. We had a short lesson on why NOT to do such a thing. I'll bet their parents did it too.
 

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Anyone caught in a similar situation would be screwed with an unloaded rifle.
Glad you came out of it with your hide intact!
 

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Twenty years ago, I worked the case of a dead 13 yr. old that had a loaded, ON safe, shotgun locked into a hard handlebar case on a three wheeler. He got off to place duck decoys and left the ATV running. The gun fired as he was walking back to it.

I watched some kids load shotguns, put them in soft cases and slide them into the pick-up to go pheasant hunting. We had a short lesson on why NOT to do such a thing. I'll bet their parents did it too.
My scabbard points DOWN, so how is that going to shoot someone? I draw the LINE here, sorry.
 

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I load the chambers of both my 870 and AR when I sit down to call turkeys and coyotes, unload them when I've either shot or determined there will be no shot, likewise when calling deer.
My crossbow has a safety on it but like a rifle I never carry it loaded with a bolt/arrow, including raising/lowering it from treestands.
 

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DOWN is proper. Feet are not expendable but are survivable. Heads aren't.

This one above was mounted across the handlebars of a single cylinder, balloon tired, three wheeler. I also carry across the front of my ATV with couple in the magazine and bolt in Hunter Safe on an empty chamber. Much depends on the terrain and brush and alone or in ANY kind of traffic.
I was in Cabela's Monday night and marveled at the diversity of 'baggage on ATV' accessories there are on display!! As plastic gets tougher it makes even more sense.
 
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