A veteran teacher with the Department of Natural Resources will headline a firearms safety seminar in New Zealand. The D-N-R’s Rod Slings says he began studying how to investigate hunting accidents some 20 years ago. He’s taken over a lot of that teaching, and since 1993 has taught about 350 conservation officers from all over North America, mostly down at Central Missouri State College.
Sling says when it comes to mishaps involving firearms and hunting, many could have been prevented, and for the most part they’ve replaced the term “accident” with “incident.” He trains officers who put together information found at the scene of an incident to re-create what happened, when there were no witnesses. There are things they need to know and scrutinize when they go in on an investigation, like: “what is not natural here,” and what are the prices of the puzzle. He says Iowa and Missouri are nationwide leaders in hunting-incident investigation and in teaching hunter safety.
Iowa and Missouri lead the country in the field, and Slings himself is chairman of the hunting-incident investigation committee for the IHEA, International Hunter Education Association. He says if they can figure out how such things happen and why, they can teach hunters how they come about and how to avoid having them happen to you. Sling says it’s a research project every time he gets called to a hunting-incident investigation, and has helped reduce hunting fatalities in Iowa and across the nation.
He says today when a hunting incident takes place, it’s news — because there are so few any more. The International Firearms Safety Conference is in Christ church, New Zealand, which Slings dryly remarks is “a long airplane ride away.” He says it’s a great opportunity to showcase the work being done and the level of safety in the U.S. and Iowa.