Over 70,000 hunters will take to the field this Saturday for the first day of Iowa’s first shotgun deer season. Iowa Department of Natural Resources recreation safety program supervisor Megan Wisecup says now is the time to think about safety before you head out to hunt.
First be sure you have on plenty of blaze orange. She says it’s important to be seen at all times and says the number one cause of problems is fixating on the deer and turning on the deer as the deer is running.
Wisecup says if you don’t see everything in your way, you may shoot another hunter. Proper handling of weapons is another key to hunter safety.
“Over the last five or six years we’ve seen an increase in self-inflicted gunshot wounds, so just remembering those basic rules of firearm safety — keeping the muzzle pointed in a safe direction, keeping your finger of the trigger and outside the trigger guard, and never pointing at anything you don’t intend to shoot,” Wisecup explains.
She says last year’s deer hunting season saw few problems. “In 2011 we had 19 deer hunting incidents, 13 of those were injuries and six were property damage, and we didn’t have any fatalities in 2011,” Wisecup says. The number of accidents during deer season has been on a downward trend.
“We definitely are on our record for safest hunting decade since records were started to be kept in the 1960s,” Wisecup says. “Back in the 1960s we had over 100 incidents each year, and unfortunately around 20 fatalities. So we are definitely on track for making hunting a safer sport each year.”
The first shotgun deer season begins this Saturday and runs through December fifth. The second shotgun deer season runs from December eighth through the 16th. You can find out more about the shotgun season at: www.iowadnr.gov.
By Pat Powers, KQWC, Webster City