Safety call after 10-year-old shot in hand while hunting

Police are calling for more firearms safety awareness, after a duck-shooting incident left a 10-year-old boy with serious hand injuries.

The boy was injured in Tarras, Central Otago, and was taken to Dunedin Hospital after he sustained serious injuries to his right hand in the incident on a farm on Sunday evening.

A Dunedin Hospital patient inquiries spokeswoman said the boy was progressing well in the children's ward yesterday.

It is understood the boy had an operation on his injured hand yesterday.

Sunday's duck-shooting incident comes two weeks after two Christchurch duck-shooters received facial injuries from pellets on the opening day of the duck hunting season at Tarras.

Sergeant Mike Williams, of Cromwell, said an investigation was under way, but preliminary details about what exactly had happened remain sketchy.

Police were prepared to give the parents of the boy "a lot of space" to focus on the youngster's recovery, he said.

Constable Gary Hyndman, of Cromwell, visited the farm yesterday to inspect the site where the incident happened. The boy was injured in an irrigated paddock.

Police understood the boy was hunting with his father and uncle, using a 410 gauge shotgun.

Mr Williams said officers still needed to interview the parties at the scene of the incident to determine what took place.

Mr Hyndman said early indications were that at least one of the adults held a firearms licence, which meant anyone - even children - was able to shoot guns under his supervision.

Police were encouraging hunters to be more safety conscious when using firearms, he said.

Sergeant Williams said: "It's basic safety stuff. Be aware of your firing arc and where other people are about you."

Otago Fish & Game has also called for duck hunters to be aware of the risks when out shooting.

- OTAGO DAILY TIMES

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