“The state of your mind and that of your fellow hunters is a major factor in hunter safety.”
That’s the key safety message from Bill O’Leary, vice president and spokesperson for the Firearms Safety Council of Aotearoa New Zealand to deer and game bird hunters.
“We had two years of covid. We are very aware that people can be a little anxious, stressed and maybe just a little tired,” he continued.
“Under these conditions, it is easier to be distracted, to distract oneself from work. It could well put people, including yourself, at risk,” Bill said.
“We urge hunters to take a little extra time to prepare for their preferred hunting season, whether it’s deer or game birds. Before going hunting, think about your state of mind, think also about that of your companion. When you are in the field, take the time to know the status of your own firearm and make sure you know the status of your companion’s gun.
“That way we look out for each other in the best possible way.”
“Look out for each other, be kind, stay safe sums up the safety message for this year’s hunting seasons,” Bill said.
The seven basic rules of safe firearms handling (these also apply to airguns):
1. TREAT EACH FIREARMS AS LOADED
Check every firearm yourself.
Pass or accept only an open or unloaded firearm.
2. ALWAYS POINT FIREARMS IN A SAFE DIRECTION
- Always point the barrel in a safe direction. Especially when loading and unloading.
3. LOAD A GUN ONLY WHEN YOU ARE READY TO SHOOT
- Only charge the charger after reaching your shooting area.
- Load the chamber only when ready to fire.
- Unload completely before leaving the firing range.
4. IDENTIFY YOUR TARGET BEYOND ALL DOUBT
Motion, color, sound, and shape can all fool you.
- Assume color, shape, sound and form are human until proven otherwise
5. CHECK YOUR FIRING AREA
THINK! What can happen if you miss your target? What could you hit between you and the target or beyond?
- Don’t shoot knowing others are in your shooting range
6. STORE FIREARMS AND AMMUNITION SAFELY
- When not in use, lock the bolt, firearm and ammunition separately.
- Never leave firearms in a vehicle unattended
7. AVOID ALCOHOL AND DRUGS WHEN HANDLING FIREARMS
- Good judgment is key to the safe use of firearms.
The Aotearoa New Zealand Firearms Safety Council is made up of organizations concerned with ensuring the safe use of firearms.
To see: https://www.firearmssafetycouncil.org.nz/
The main objectives of the Council are:
(a) Provide advice to government agencies and other organizations, such as the media, on issues related to gun safety.
(b) Undertake and participate in research that will help establish and promote firearms safety standards for individuals and organizations engaged in firearms-related activities.
The Aotearoa New Zealand Firearms Safety Council is a member of the Firearms Community Advisory Forum (of the New Zealand Police). He commented on a series of legislative initiatives.
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