Dr. Joanmarie Pellegrini
Tuesday, October 20, 2009
It is that time of year again when we need to talk about hunter safety. Admittedly, accidents from hunting are down compared with a few decades ago. However, the recent events in the news serves to remind us that this enjoyable activity has some dangers that can mostly be avoided.
The Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife is an excellent source of information on the current laws governing hunting. Below, I have included the ten rules for safety. One of the most important points to make is that many people feel the law in 1973 mandating hunter's wear orange clothing and the first hunter safety courses in 1986 (Portland Press Herald Dec 4, 2008) are responsible for the dramatic decrease in hunting accidents. A hunter safety course is not just for the young and new-to-hunting. Although it is not mandated by law, everyone can benefit from a refresher course once in awhile. It is easy to become complacent after many years of hunting and being around guns. Hunter safety courses are not just about how to use a gun, there is also good information on the laws, navigation, survival, etc.
10 Commandments of Hunter Safety:
1. Give every gun the respect due a loaded gun.
2. Watch that muzzle and control its direction, even if you happen to fall.
3. Be sure your target is the game your hunting, and identify beyond it before you pull the trigger.
4. Be sure the barrel and action are clear of obstructions and that the ammunition is the proper size.
5. Unload guns when not in use. Carry guns in cases to the shooting area.
6. Never point a gun at anything you do not want to shoot, and never play.
7. Never climb a fence or a tree or jump a ditch with a loaded gun.
8. Never shoot a bullet at a flat, hard surface or water. And use an adequate shooting range backstop.
9. Store guns and ammunition separately, beyond the reach of children.
10. Avoid alcoholic beverages and other mood-altering drugs before and during shooting.