Hunters warned - get the basics right

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BEING RESPONSIBLE: Sensible firearms use ensures everyone has a good duck hunting season.
BEING RESPONSIBLE: Sensible firearms use ensures everyone has a good duck hunting season.

The Mountain Safety Council is reminding hunters that there have been 28 hunting fatalities in six years, half of those due to firearms.

The reminder comes as duck hunting season starts today, with Mountain Safety Council chief executive Mike Daisley warning hunters not to forget the basics.

"Following the firearms safety code is the key to making sure you make it home to your family, ducks or not.

"We're working hard to advocate for the safe use of firearms, and what we do know is that in the six-year period between 2009 and 2015, of the 28 fatalities over half were directly attributable to firearms.

"What we also know is that in almost all of these fatalities, one or all of the firearms safety code was not followed."

A key issue was the consumption of alcohol and the use of firearms.

Mr Daisley said there needs to be a culture where hunters feel okay to speak up if they see something untoward.

"Hunters by and large are a very responsible community.

"Unfortunately, the excitement of opening weekend brings a certain boys' weekend feel to it with some groups.

"We'd like to encourage hunters to speak up if they see drinking and firearms use.

"If nothing is said then we collectively accept this as an acceptable behaviour, which it isn't. Leave shots with the lads until after the shoot."

The NZ Mountain Safety Council has created a range of resources designed for easy consumption online in an attempt to reach newer audiences, said Mr Daisley.

"We've worked on several initiatives this year, including the six-part video series with Big Game Hunting New Zealand to explain and make relevant the various components of this code.

"These are available online via both the MSC and BGH Facebook pages, as well as the respective YouTube channels."

Refreshing yourself on the basics is something all hunters should be encouraging among themselves, Mr Daisley said.

"We'd love to see these videos shared and promoted through the hunting communities themselves.

"So far we've had hundreds of thousands of views, which is great," he said.

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