The number of pheasant hunting injuries so far this season is more than two times greater than the number of injuries in each of the last two years. Rod Slings, recreational safety programs supervisor for the state, says the increase in the number of pheasants is probably the number one factor, as there are more hunters in the fields. For example, there’s been a 32 percent increase the number of out-of-state hunters who’ve bought an Iowa pheasant hunting license. Slings says hunters need to be cautious, especially in areas where there may be visual obstructions. Slings says there are a few cornfields with corn still standing and some native grasses grow taller than your head, and there have been a variety of incidents where hunters have swung on a bird and hit another hunter instead. Slings says in each of the 12 hunting mishaps so far this year, the hunter who was injured was shot by someone in his own hunting group. Slings says while people usually choose to hunt with their family and friends, it is not a social activity and requires full attention. Slings says hunters should keep in mind of where others are in the field and where the safe “zone of fire” is rather than focusing solely on any bird that flies up in front of them.Slings says “you need to plan your hunt and hunt your plan” so that all in the group approach the hunt with the same game plan. In 2001 and again in 2002, there were five pheasant hunting-related injuries in Iowa.
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