As an estimated 600,000 hunters descend upon Wisconsin’s woodlands for the gun deer season, which begins today, state officials are stressing safety. DNR Chief Conservation Warden Randy Stark suggests some accountability when heading out for the hunt.

“Let someone know where you’ll be and when you’ll be coming out of the woods,” he says. That way if there is an incident, searchers know where and when to begin.

Stark says all shooting incidents can be traced to violation of one of the four basic firearm safety rules: treat every firearm as if it’s loaded, always point the muzzle in a safe direction, keep your finger outside the trigger guard until you’re ready to shoot, and ensure your target and beyond.

Stark says the recipient of these accidents is not always other hunters as one-third of shooting incidents are self-inflicted.

There haven’t been any gunshot fatalities during the past two deer seasons in the state. Officials say mandatory hunter safety courses and the blaze orange requirement is leading to increased safety.

The DNR says there is increased enthusiasm for this year’s hunt due in part to new policies. The agency has sold more gun deer licenses this year. As of opening day, 614,435 licenses were sold compared to last year’s 603,913.

The nine-day gun deer season runs through November 29.


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