TAB-K: Hunting Season and Firearm Safety

October 18th, 2012 by

Fall has arrived and countless Wisconsinites will soon head into the Wisconsin woods, fields, and hills to enjoy the 2012 hunting season.  Indeed, hunting is a dangerous activity for many reasons, but firearms are at the top hunting dangers.  Because firearm use during the hunting season is dangerous, hunters should remember the TAB-K formula for firearm safety.[1]

Adherence to the following TAB-K formula will help ensure that all firearm users remain safe during the hunting season.[2]

T = Treat every firearm as if it is loaded.  Never assume a firearm is unloaded and never treat it that way, even if you watch as someone unloads the firearm.  Make it a habit to treat guns as if they are loaded at all times.[3]

A = Always point the muzzle in a safe direction. About one third of all hunting incidents are self-inflicted injuries.  That means the muzzle was pointed at some part of the hunter’s body.  A safe direction is a direction where the bullet will travel and harm no person in the event of an unwanted discharge.  There are no accidental discharges with firearms, only unwanted discharges.[4]

B = Be certain of your target and what’s beyond it.  Positive target identification is a must.  You could end up harming a person or damaging property if you are not certain of your target. Therefore you must be 100% positive of your target because acting without certainty is reckless behavior.  Moreover, you should take extra precaution to ensure that there is a safe backstop for your bullet before discharging. The reason for this is so your bullet does not accidently hit an unintended target if you miss or if the bullet passes through your intended target.[5]

K = Keep your finger outside the trigger guard until ready to shoot.  Keeping your hand outside of the trigger guard will prevent unwanted discharges in the event that you stumble, fall, or otherwise cause your finger to pull.[6]

Hunting with a firearm is a very dangerous activity.  As a result, we must all take proper precautions in order to prevent injury or even death.  Luckily, the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources has provided us with a handy formula to help us remember four essential rules of firearm safety—so be sure to remember the TAB-K formula while hunting this season.[7]



[1] Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, Four Basic Rules of Firearm Safety, http://dnr.wi.gov/topic/hunt/huntSafetyTips.html (last updated Feb. 27, 2012).

[2] Id.

[3] Id.

[4] Id.

[5] Id.

[6] Id.

[7] See Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, Four Basic Rules of Firearm Safety, http://dnr.wi.gov/topic/hunt/huntSafetyTips.html (last updated Feb. 27, 2012).