All first-time hunters born on or after Jan. 1, 1960 are required to take and pass a hunter safety course. You will not be able to purchase a base license (other than an apprentice license) unless you can prove successful completion of a hunter safety course.
General safety reminders
Tell someone the specific time, duration and location that you will be hunting and schedule check-in times. Update your contact if plans change. Medical incidents are unplanned – staying in contact with someone who knows your plan could save your life.
- Hunt with a partner and know your zone-of-fire.
- Carry a two-way communication device that receives service in remote areas – such as a phone or two-way radio. Ensure the device is always within reach in case you need to call for help.
- Hunting on or near water? Wear your life jacket.
- Keep the safety of your firearm on until you are prepared to take your shot.
- Treat every firearm as if it is loaded.
- Keep the muzzle pointed in a safe direction at all times.
- Be aware of your surroundings – know your target and what is beyond it.
- Put your finger on the trigger only when you are ready to shoot.
- Don’t use your scope as binoculars – only point your firearm at something you intend to shoot.
- Unload the firearm when crossing obstacles and/or getting in or out of a tree stand.
- Check the barrel and ammunition to ensure they are clear from any obstructions and use the proper ammunition.
- Do not drink alcohol or use any mind-altering substances when hunting – including marijuana and/or medications.
- Firearms in the home should be unloaded and securely stored separate from the ammunition.
- When transporting firearms in vehicles make sure that they are unloaded and in a case.
- Using your hands and feet, maintain three points of contact at all times when ascending or descending into a tree stand.
- Always use a full body harness that is attached to a secure fall line positioned above your head.
- When lifting your firearm or crossbow into a tree stand, use a secure pull system (such as a rope) and make sure it is unloaded and the safety is on. Do not attach anything to the trigger guard.
- Refrain from using screw-in steps on tree stands that are located on public land.
- Ensure your tree stand is securely attached and stable prior to using it.
Tree stand resources:
Hunter orange & trespassing
- Obey no trespassing signs - they are there for a reason.
- If your game goes onto property marked as "no trespassing," you must have the landowner's permission to retrieve your game.
- The DNR recommends that you wear as much hunter orange as possible to increase your visibility - orange and other colors do not impact deer's behavior.
- Hunter orange should be worn as the outermost layer of clothing and must be visible from all directions. Options include:
- Rain coat
- Hunter orange garments (including camouflage) must be at least 50 percent hunter orange to meet the legal requirements.
- If you are recreating outdoors near hunting areas, wear hunter orange so you can be seen by hunters.