At least four hunters were shot in Iowa over the weekend, the first weekend of shotgun deer season. The DNR says three of the hunters who were reported hurt were shot by other hunters. In Osceola County on Saturday, 29-year-old Luke Sietstra of Sheldon had a deer run between him and other hunters, one of whom fired and hit Sietstra in the shoulder and arm.
A similar accident happened to 19-year-old Derek Kleitsch of Sumner, hunting in Fayette County, and 38-year-old Shane Pashek of Winterset, hunting in Delaware County. The other reported injury was to 59-year-old Don Brandon Senior of Bloomfield, who slipped while climbing into a pickup and shot himself in the foot.
The DNR says all four hunters are expected to survive. DNR spokesman Kevin Baskins says it’s a very unfortunate when hunters accidentally shoot other hunters as those incidents could be easily avoided with better communication.
Baskins says: "When we get into those party hunting situations, it’s vitally important to know where everybody’s at. Those deer can come running between the ranks and it can lead to a situation where you have hunters shooting towards one another in an attempt to harvest the deer." While the D-N-R always hopes for no hunting injuries, Baskins says four injuries is relatively minor when you consider how many hunters were actually hunting this weekend, though the exact number isn’t known.
Baskins says: "It’s kinda’ hard to tell because we had such difficult weather conditions on that first day. Most of our officers reported they saw fewer people than they would normally see, at least on Saturday when we had such bad weather. I would say we had in the tens of thousands anyway out in the fields." He says the number of hunting incidents in Iowa have dropped significantly over the past several years as more new hunters take safety courses.