Six accidents mar November deer hunting season.

spectr17

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Six accidents mar November deer hunting season.

The number of deer hunting accidents reported so far this year is about half what it has been in recent years, but two hunters lost their lives needlessly.

JEFFERSON CITY -- For many people the definition of an excellent deer season is one in which there is a record harvest. For Missouri Department of Conservation Protection Programs Supervisor Bob Staton, an excellent season is one without hunting accidents. Six hunting accidents, including two fatalities, prevented the November segment of the 2001 firearms deer season from meeting Staton's standard for excellence.

The Conservation Department received reports of two fatalities during the final weekend of the season. A 45-year-old hunter, Charles Flaugher of Tuscumbia, died from a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the chest. Flaugher's rifle discharged when he fell while walking through the woods.

The accidental discharge of a .30-30 rifle caused the death of 15-year-old Chad Schetzler. The youth suffered a fatal wound to the chest when his firearm discharged while he and his brother were walking home from deer hunting.

"You've got to think ahead," says Staton. "The safest practice is to unload a firearm while transporting it. When you are moving with a loaded firearm you've got to anticipate the actions you'll take if you fall or drop the gun. If you keep your muzzle pointed in a safe direction and the gun fires accidentally, you won't harm anyone."

Following the hunting rules of safety might have prevented the four non-fatal accidents that occurred. Those accidents involved a hunter shooting himself in the foot while removing a loaded firearm from a tree stand, a shooter mistaking another hunter for game and two injuries caused by stray shots from hunters who failed to assure they had a safe backstop.

Over the past five years, the number of deer hunting accidents in the state has averaged 10.6 annually. Deer hunting accidents peaked in 1986, when the opening weekend saw 10 firearms-related accidents. That year, the Conservation Department recorded 25 nonfatal deer hunting accidents and one fatality

Staton attributes the decrease in deer hunting accidents to public education about accident causes and to the requirement that hunters born on or after Jan. 1, 1967 complete a hunter education course before buying a hunting permit.

Staton said virtually every hunting accident is avoidable if hunters follow a few basic rules. Hunters preparing for the muzzleloader and January portions of the firearms season should keep the following rules of safety in mind:
--Always keep the muzzle pointed in a safe direction.
--Treat every firearm as though it were loaded.
--Always make sure the firearm is unloaded and keep the action open except when actually hunting or preparing to shoot.
--Be sure the barrel and action are clear of obstructions and that you have the proper ammunition for the firearm you are carrying.
--Be sure of your target before you pull the trigger.
--Never point a gun at anything you do not want to shoot. Avoid all horseplay with a firearm.
--Never climb or jump over an obstacle with a loaded firearm.
--Never shoot at a flat, hard surface or water.
--Store firearms and ammunition separately and under lock and key.
--Avoid alcohol and other drugs before and while handling firearms.

- Arleasha Mays -
 

StringShooter

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It's sad that someone had to lose their life this way.

It just paints in my brain that we need to practice safe handeling of our firearms at all times.
 
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