Megan Wisecup, the hunter education administrator with the Iowa Department of Natural Resources, offers a few tips.
“One of the main ones is just going back to the basic firearms safety rules,” Wisecup says. “You want to treat every firearm as if it’s loaded, always keep the muzzle pointed in a safe direction, be sure of your target and what’s beyond it and keep your finger off the trigger until you’re ready to shoot.”
Depending on the weather next weekend, foul conditions could raise even more dangers for hunters. They need to be vigilant in their awareness of the rules, she says, like when climbing over a fence.
“Take some extra precautions when you have different weather factors coming into play, especially when you’re crossing an obstacle,” Wisecup says. “If it’s snowy, icy, definitely take the extra time to unload that firearm while you’re crossing the obstacle or use another member of your hunting party to hold your firearm while you cross that obstacle.”
Last year, there were 14 deer hunting-related incidents in Iowa during the two shotgun seasons. There were two personal injuries and 12 property damage incidents. If the weather is especially cold, hunters need to be particularly cautious if they’ve layered their clothes.
“When you’re bundled up, with the extra bulk of coats and fingers, make sure you’re careful when you’re handling your firearm,” Wisecup says. “You could easily get caught, one of the fingers in the gloves in the trigger guard area and cause it to accidentally discharge.”
Iowa’s first shotgun season runs December 5th through the 9th, with the second running from December 12th through the 20th.
Learn more at: http://www.iowadnr.gov/Hunting/Deer-Hunting
By Pat Powers, KQWC, Webster City