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2005 Deer-hunting Accidents Illustrate Need for Care

Conservation officials strive for an accident-free deer hunting season.

November 07, 2006
By Jim Low

The Missouri Department of Conservation recorded 10 firearms-related deer-hunting accidents last year. One was fatal. One of the most striking lessons to be learned from 2005 deer hunting accident reports is that hunters most often are injured by the person with whom they spend the most time hunting - themselves.

Half of last year's firearms-related deer hunting accidents involved self-inflicted gunshots. The percentage varies from year to year, but self-inflicted injuries consistently account for approximately half of Missouri deer-hunting accidents.

Two hunters suffered self-inflicted injuries last year because they violated one of the most commonsense rules firearms safety - don't put your hand over the muzzle of a gun. In one case, a 13-year-old hunter participating in the youth hunting season had leaned his rifle against a tree. When he picked it up, he put his hand over the muzzle while trying to secure the safety. His accident ended a perfect safety record for the youth hunt, which had never been marred by a shooting mishap since its inception four years earlier.

The other hand-on-muzzle incident involved a hunter who was so excited by the appearance of an 11-point buck that he grasped his pistol by the barrel with his left hand.

All five deer-hunting accident victims who did not shoot themselves knew the people who shot them. Three were described as "friends." One involved brothers. In the remaining case - last year's only deer-hunting fatality - a nephew shot his uncle.

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