Practicing safety helps avoid hunting accidents
By Russ Pankonin
The Imperial Republican
One week before the pheasant hunting season opened for all hunters, there was a special weekend set aside just for youth hunters. In Chase County, the local Pheasants Forever chapter held a youth mentor hunt to acquaint young hunters with the sport.
One of the specific topics impressed on the young hunters is how to hunt safely. Hats off to the chapter members, mentors and hunter safety instructors who ensure these young hunters learn the right way.
But hunter safety is not just a given—safety practices must be followed every time a hunter takes to the field, whether youth or adult.
Hunting accidents happen more often than people probably care to admit. Just last weekend, a Wauneta man was hit by a stray shotgun pellet discharged from a hunter on the other side of a tree row.
A hunter never takes the field not expecting to make it back home. But then again, accidents happen. Here’s a sampling of headlines from the Associated Press over the last month that should make hunters stop and take notice:
“Boy, 10, accidentally shot, killed during Utah hunting trip.”
“Police: (Washington) Man killed while hunting.”
“Hunter dies from gunshot in northern Idaho.”
“Police say guide killed in Maryland hunting accident.”
“Man reported shot to death while hunting in Arkansas.”
“Hunter packing away gun accidentally shoots, kills friend (Nevada).”
“Sheriff: (Oregon )Man killed by father in hunting accident.”
“Hunter accidentally shoots himself in NE Minnesota.”
In several of the cases, the accidents occurred after the hunting activity was already over.
Today, all youths who eventually get a hunting license must have completed a hunter safety course. That’s a good thing.
It never hurts to brush up on firearm safety before going out in the field. With the internet, all one needs to do is search “hunter safety” to get a wide array of safety tips.
For instance, here’s Remington’s 10 commandments of firearm safety:
• Always keep the muzzle pointed in a safe direction.
• Firearms should be unloaded when not actually in use.
• Don’t rely on your gun’s safety.
• Be sure of your target and what’s beyond it.
• Use proper ammunition.
• If your gun fails to fire when the trigger is pulled, handle with
• Always wear eye and ear protection when shooting.
• Be sure the barrel is clear of obstructions before shooting.
• Don’t alter or modify your gun and have it serviced regularly.
• Learn the mechanical and handling characteristics of the fire-
arm you are using.
Remember that when taking to the field, regardless of the game you’re after, hunter safety comes first.