At least 4 hunters have been injured in accidents since the shotgun deer season got underway Saturday. Iowa Department of Natural Resources spokesman Kevin Baskins says that’s better news than what we saw with the 2010 season opener.
He counted seven personal injury accidents last year during the opening of the season, including two fatal accidents. The latest injury this year happened just after seven o’clock this morning in Webster County.
“The commonality that we’re seeing in these is group hunting where a shot is being taken at a running deer,” Baskins said, “obviously that puts you into kind of a dangerous situation and just really underscores the need to know where the other hunters are in your party, and make sure there is nothing in that background.”
Safety officers advise hunters to “Plan the hunt and hunt the plan” to avoid shooting a fellow hunter. Baskins says that holds true as in at least one of the incidents, a man was supposed to be blocking the deer and admitted that he moved from where he was supposed to be. “So obviously, once you’ve got that plan in place, you don’t want to be moving around so the other hunters don’t know where you are at,” Baskins says.
Not all the accidents happen as hunters are shooting at a deer. There are sometimes a slip or trip with a loaded gun.
“Make sure that you are handling the gun properly…we had a couple of incidents this weekend where the firearms accidentally went off, and that just comes from having good gun handling habits,” according the Baskins.
He says wearing plenty of blaze orange out in the field helps fellow hunters know where you are at.
Here are reports on the shootings from the D.N.R.:
-Thirty-six-year-old Michael Ziemann of Fort Dodge was injured as he prepared to shoot at a deer and his .44 magnum handgun went off and hit him in the leg on Monday. A D.N.R. officer says Zieman was wearing heavy gloves and that contributed to the accident.
-An Altoona man was injured Saturday after being hit by a deer slug while hunting in Lucas County. Twenty-five-year-old Ryan Mills was blocking in a hunting party east of Derby when a deer ran inbetween them and shotgun slug went through the deer and hit him in the thigh. Mills was taken to the hospital with non-life threatening injuries.
-Thirty-five-year old Benjamin Parker of Grinnell was shot when his gun got entangled in some bags, went off, and hit him in the foot while hunting northeast of Braddyville in Page County. He was taken to the hospital with a non-life threatening injury.
-Thirty-eight-year-old Thomas Burns of Waterloo was hit in the midsection with a 12-guage shotgun slug Sunday when one of the hunters in his party shot at a running deer in Appanoose County Sunday. He was airlifted to Mercy Medical Center in Des Moines where he was in stable condition Sunday evening.