Hunters in at least four Iowa counties were injured in the opening weekend of the shotgun deer season. Two hunters were hurt when their guns went off unexpectedly, and two more were hit by deer slugs as other hunters shot at running deer. Don Pfeiffer is the Department of Natural Resources wildlife supervisor for the southeast Iowa district. He says hunters can avoid accidents with better planning.
He says you should know where your hunting party is and “plan your plan and stick to that plan.” Pfeiffer says some hunters use whistles to keep in touch and signal each other, so if they deviate from their plan, they will whistle. And he says always assume your gun is loaded when handling it, and keep it pointed in a safe manner.
Pfeiffer says don’t point the muzzle at anything you are not ready to shoot, and keep it in a safe upright position. He says you should also unload it when you are around people and not hunting.
The D.N.R. reported the following hunting accidents: A Wisconsin man was injured while hunting deer Sunday morning in Jackson County near St. Donatus. Thirty-seven-year-old Kevin Bourland, of Hazel Green, Wisconsin, was helping a friend locate a deer that had been shot the previous day. A 20-gauge shotgun that had been propped against a tree began to fall and when Bourland reached for the gun to catch it, the gun fired hitting him in the thumb with a deer slug. Bourland was taken to Finley Hospital in Dubuque where he was being treated for his non-life threatening injury.
A Burlington man was injured Sunday morning after being struck by a deer slug in his leg while hunting in rural Des Moines County near Prairie Grove. Forty-year-old James Nelson was hunting with his 14-year-old son, Zach when both shot at a deer running between them. A shot fired by Zach struck James in the upper left thigh. James Nelson was transported by ambulance to the Great River Medical Center in Burlington.
A Columbus Junction man was injured Sunday morning after his shotgun discharged while hunting near Wapello. Forty-seven-year-old Luis Jaramillo had just left his deer stand at the Indian Slough Wildlife Area northwest of Wapello, when his shotgun discharged as he was unloading it hitting him the lower part of the left leg and foot. Jaramillo was taken by helicopter to University of Iowa hospitals in Iowa City.
A 48-year-old New Hampton man was injured while hunting Sunday in Chickasaw County. Lynn Pacovsky, was field dressing a deer on the edge of a corn field southwest of New Hampton when 34-year-old Brian Tenge of Mt. Auburn took a shot at a running deer. The shot missed the deer striking Pacovsky in the back late Sunday afternoon. Pacovsky was taken to Mercy Medical Center in New Hampton than transferred to Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn.
Nick Wilkens, KCII, Washington also contributed to this story.