Hunters: Focus on care with firearms

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Eastern District Police are urging caution over the upcoming duck hunting season.
Eastern District Police are urging caution over the upcoming duck hunting season.

Eastern District Police are urging caution during the hunting "roar" and upcoming duck shooting season and are asking hunters to ensure they focus on firearms safety during this period.

"We would like this to be an enjoyable experience for participants and not marred by tragedy which is always a risk if firearms safety is not adhered to. Of course alcohol and firearms do not mix and increase the risk of a tragedy happening," Senior Sergeant Ross Smith said.

People are reminded to use common sense while hunting and not to let their guard down, especially around firearms security and driving responsibilities.

"It is essential to keep firearms and alcohol completely separate. Under the Arms Act there are several potential charges that could be faced by hunters. There is also the risk that the licence holder could have their firearms licence revoked," Mr Smith said.

"The key messages are to always point firearms in a safe direction, not to put your finger on the trigger unless you intend to fire the gun, never rely solely on the safety catch, and be sure to identify your target before firing."

It is also important that unlicensed people involved in hunting activities must be appropriately supervised.

New shooters who did not hold a current firearms licence must be under the immediate supervision of a licensed holder.

This means that the licensed supervisor must be able to control muzzle direction should this become necessary.

Last month Danny Rion Jordan was hunting in the Ruahine Ranges with two army friends when he was shot accidentally by another hunter who was not part of his hunting group. Police are investigating.

Mountain Safety Council chief executive Mike Daisley said the firearms safety code is the key to making sure that all hunters make it home this Easter.

"More often than not with a firearms incident you can trace it back to one of the seven rules in the firearms safety code not being followed," he said.

Along with identifying the target correctly, safe handling of firearms remains a significant contributing factor in almost all recorded incidents.

"A great number of firearms incidents could have been avoided by simply treating every firearm as loaded."

- Hawkes Bay Today

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