Duck hunters urged to be vigilant

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Duck hunting season starts this weekend.  Photo/File
Duck hunting season starts this weekend. Photo/File

Hunters are reminded to be vigilant around firearm safety this weekend as an expected 55,000 duck hunters venture to the maimai.

The national duck hunting season gets underway tomorrow.

"It is essential you check and re-check your firing zone before you pull the trigger" said Firearms Safety Specialists New Zealand spokesperson Nicole McKee.

Last year there were three incidents in the first two weekends of duck hunting that concluded with one fatality and two serious injuries.

"A firearm is a tool that is capable of delivering destructive and lethal force. Users need to remind themselves constantly of that capability while handling their shotguns," she said.

Ms McKee suggested that shooters should be cautious while in the maimai with other shooters.

"It is one of the few acceptable occasions where multiple loaded firearms are in a close proximity to each other.

So it is crucial that all firearms are treated as being loaded, are kept pointed in a safe direction and the moving firing zone takes into account the whereabouts of other shooters and their dogs."

Firearms Safety Specialists NZ advised hunters to be aware of their legal obligations while using firearms.

"A traditional tot in the maimai does not make you exempt from safe practice. Save all alcohol for when you get home and have secured your firearms safely away" said Ms McKee.

"Duck hunting is a traditional pastime for many keen shooters. Our safety record is really very good when you consider how many people are outdoors hunting on opening weekend.

Ms Mckee said one incident was one too many.

"Become complacent and you will become a statistic."

- Rotorua Daily Post

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