Hunting season starts on September 1. It always seems that we see firearms-related injuries during hunting season, both in the field and at home. As a hunter education instructor I have always reminded people of several safety-related issues.
Hunters should unload their firearms prior to leaving the hunting site. They should also only load them when it is safe to do so. People have to remember that when they take their weapon home to clean it or to get ready for the next day’s hunt, they still have to keep the weapon and ammo stored safely. Getting into a hurry and forgetting to unload or lock up a weapon has been the cause of numerous firearms-related injuries around the state and country.
People must become familiar with their weapon. They should know how to clear a jammed-up round, as well as properly dismantle and clean their firearm. We have to be even more mindful of the fact that other people may stop by our home or get into our vehicle when we have a weapon that may be within reach. Weapons have been known to accidentally go off. It is taught in hunter education classes and is on the test that a safety on a firearm is a mechanical device which can fail. If the weapon is not cleaned properly or handled roughly, it can be damaged. As far as hunting purposes are concerned, never transport a loaded firearm in a vehicle.
Another cause of accidental injuries deals with persons trying to modify firearms. They have to be careful. If they don’t know what they are doing, they could get themselves or someone else hurt. Their weapon may discharge accidentally because it has been tampered with.
Parents or other responsible adults must always be with children when they are handling firearms. We want them to learn proper ways to handle and use a firearm. The biggest thing is we teach each person to consider all firearms to be loaded. Never point a weapon at another person.
It is also import to teach firearm owners to properly unload, lock and store weapons and ammo in separate locations. When hunting, one should only aim and fire a weapon when the target has been properly identified. Hunters have to be aware of their surroundings to ensure that others can’t be hurt by a stray bullet. If persons have specific hunting-related questions, they should contact the wildlife department or the local game warden.