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News Articles

19

Hunting can be a danger at times, especially if someone forgets some of the basic hunting safety tips.

It was only a couple of years ago when a father and son duo were shot twice in one day while out pheasant hunting in Iowa – the second time when trying to flag down help.

Yet Iowa has had its best safety record since 2008, with only 11 injuries and six cases of property damage in 2013. In 2008, there was a single gun related fatality.

Of course the safety goal for any hunting season is zero accidents – that is an achievement which is highly unlikely.

One of the trends in the past year seemed to be self-inflicted incidents, with 64% of the incidents this year being self-inflicted.

Megan Wisecup is the safety education programmes coordinator for the Department of Natural Resources. She states that safety is about getting “...back to basic firearm handling. Point the muzzle in a safe direction. Keep your finger off the trigger, until ready to shoot. And take an extra minute when crossing obstacles to unload.”

The reasons for a gun to accidentally discharge in 2013, were widely different and included a jacket drawstring, a handgun dropping from a truck and a thick bush on a creek bank. These incidents go to show hunters do need to be careful in all aspects of their hunt.

Yet good news can be seen from these results. In the 1960s, there were over 100 incidents and 20 fatalities were expected each year. Since 1983, hunter education has become mandatory and has helped improve the safety record.

Iowa ran 368 safety classes in 2013, which catered for 11,505 students. The 10 hour sessions cover basics of hunting regulations, first aid and ethics. The course also covers firearm handling and wildlife understanding. The courses are run by nearly 1,300 instructors who volunteer their time for the courses.

Classes can now be taken online for adults who struggle with modern family and work commitments to find time for two or three days in a row to attend a course.

There are also youth classes available to support the next generation of budding hunters.

These lessons are necessary if you would like to hunt in the state and purchase a license.

Have you attended any safety training? What is your opinion of safety courses?

Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.

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