Gun safety during a guided duck hunt in Colorado can be easily overlooked if certain simple rules aren’t followed. Most duck hunts are out of a stand up blind on the edge of a pond, lake or river. These blinds can be safer than pits, but still pose the same risk of a hunter swinging out of their lane and injuring another hunter.

You may have heard the phrase, “getting your bell rung”. Simply put, this means that a hunter’s head is within the “blast cone” (shock wave that leaves the muzzle which is wider than the actual shot) when a shotgun is discharged. Imagine shot leaving the muzzle of a gun and the blast cone being 3x as wide as the actual shot. It’s very powerful and will give someone a headache for quite some time. Also, all too common with Colorado duck hunting.

Getting your bell rung is also a sign that the other hunter’s barrel was too far out of their 10 o’clock or 2 o’clock lane. This can be a good time for hunters to have a discussion about what happened and safety procedures going forward. Click HERE for a good article on duck hunting gun safety.

When you and your group first get in a blind, identify your 10 o’clock and 2 o’clock lanes. Do this by looking out at the water from your blind at a 90 degree angle. Where would 10 o’clock and 2 o’clock be? Those are the lanes you stay in when shooting. Anything outside of of those lanes is game for another hunter.

Excitement and adrenaline flow can be the nemesis of gun safety, especially for those on their first guided duck hunt in Colorado. A pack of greenheads banks in and works the decoys. A new hunter has been waiting for this opportunity for months and forgets their safety protocol. Best case scenario, another hunter get their bell rung. Worst case, you do the math. Either scenario is completely unacceptable.

It’s always ok to take a volley off to get your bearings. Identify when birds are in your lane and practice aiming. Helps get the jitters out and keeps everyone safe.

Click HERE for a list of frequently asked questions for a guided duck hunt in Colorado

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