Officials are again urging safety for Wisconsin’s upcoming deer hunt.
Hunter safety has improved dramatically over the years with fewer injuries and deaths as a result of changes in state law. Those changes include hunting education and a blaze orange requirement.
Jon King, DNR hunter education specialist, stresses the practice of four firearm safety rules can prevent nearly all hunting accidents.
“If you look at all our hunting incidents from the 1940s up to today, one of those rules was violated and that’s how that hunting accident happened.”
It’s important to treat every firearm as if it is loaded; always point it in a safe direction; be certain of your target and beyond; and keep your finger away from the trigger until you’re ready to shoot.
Tree stand users should use a full-body harness; unload firearm while climbing into or out of the stand; and maintain three points of contact during the ascent or descent.
“We’ve done everything we can for safety, now it really relies on the hunter to be the change that continues the downward trend in hunting incidents,” King says.
There haven’t been any shooting deaths in three of the last four gun-deer seasons. The hunting incident rate of 4 per 100,000 hunters is down more than 90 percent since 1966, when it was 44 per 100,000. Anyone born on or after 1973 needs to take hunter education before they can go out hunting.
Wisconsin’s nine-day gun-deer season begins a week from Saturday.