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Safety Urged as Firearm Season Gets Underway This Weekend

Steve Wagner

Indiana hunters are ready for the beginning of firearm season this weekend. Beginning on November 12 and running through November 27, it’s one of the most exciting times of the year for firearm hunting enthusiasts. That said, it can be an incredibly dangerous, even fatal, two weeks.

In Indiana, 300,000 hunters take part in the hunting seasons between October and January. History shows an average of 33 hunting accidents each year within the state, and more than half of those are due to falls from elevated locations. These locations may be hand-built structures or the kinds of hunting tree stands sold commercially. Both have proven to be a serious risk to hunters, with the height of falls often being 15-20 feet. Such a fall can leave a hunter with serious head injuries, spinal injuries leading to paralysis, or internal injuries. Death is certainly a possibility when the fall is from a significant height.

Careless Gun Handling Poses Risks to Hunters

So what about actual shooting accidents? Thanks to educational efforts, the number of incidents in which one hunter shoots another while in the act of attempting to shoot a target is small. A large majority of hunting accidents involving firearms are caused by hunters who mishandle or carelessly handle their gun. Careless handling of a firearm may include hunters who are under the influence of drugs or alcohol but also accidents wherein hunters unintentionally fire their gun due after losing control of their weapon.

For example, an unexperienced hunter may walk with a finger on the trigger during firearm season. In this case, one small misstep can result in a gun being accidentally fired. Similarly, a firearm positioned precariously (on a table, lap, etc.) can become deadly if it begins to slip away, and the hunter grabs for the gun. Here, it is all too easy for the trigger to be activated, albeit accidentally, and seriously injure or kill someone in the vicinity. Despite the accidental nature of such an incident, it is entirely possible for a hunter to be held liable for the injuries caused. This is because the act does not have to be intentional—it need only have occurred due to carelessness on the part of the firearm owner.

Firearm Safety Basics Are A Must

Hunter education includes four primary rules of firearm safety. They seem basic, but rules can help to alleviate serious hunting accidents resulting from firearms.

  1. Treat every firearm as if it were loaded. Though a firearm should not be loaded when not in the field or in a shooting area, you should NEVER assume a firearm is unloaded. Check the gun immediately upon receipt.
  2. Keep the muzzle of the pointed in a safe direction. Always know which way your muzzle is pointing, and do not point it in any direction where there may be people in the line of fire.
  3. Know your target and what is beyond it. Know exactly what is in the path of your shot, and ensure no additional animals nor people can be injured when you pull the trigger.
  4. Keep your finger outside the trigger until you intend to shoot. As mentioned above, carrying or holding your firearm with your finger on the trigger is an accident waiting to happen. Just don’t do it.

If you and your hunting party adhere to these and other safety rules, firearm season is sure to be good to you. If something happens and someone in your group is injured, the personal injury attorneys at Wagner Reese can help. Call us today for completely FREE consultation at (888) 204-8440.

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