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Hunters encouraged to discuss hunting plan, safety after weekend hunting incidents

  • 12/12/2023 11:57:00 AM
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The opening weekend of Iowa’s second gun deer season saw another 50,000-plus hunters’ enjoying time in the timber in pursuit of legendary whitetails. Unfortunately, there were three hunting incidents that serve as a reminder for hunters to review safety measures before heading out.

Two separate incidents involved the same issue - shooting at running deer - where deer were running between two hunters and one hunter was struck by a wayward shot from another in their party. The other incident involved a self-inflicted injury due to carelessly handling a firearm and lack of muzzle control.

All three required medical attention and all three were preventable, said Jamie Cook, hunter education coordinator for the Iowa Department of Natural Resources.

“We continue to stress that hunters should avoid shooting at running deer and to be sure of what is in front of and behind the deer before pulling the trigger,” Cook said. “If there is any question about taking a shot, don’t pull the trigger because once you pull the trigger, you can’t call the shot back and no deer is worth taking an unsafe shot. Another will come along.”

As a reminder, Cook said it is important to develop, review and follow a hunting plan that outlines how the hunt will unfold and the role and location for every member of the group while in the field.

“The hunting plan should also include reminders on not shooting at running deer, and safety basics of treating every gun as if it were loaded and always pointing the gun in a safe direction,” Cook said.

With almost 77,000 deer reported to date through the harvest reporting system, nearly all of the 2023 deer hunts have occurred without incident.

“We hunt with those who we are closest to – our friends and our family. This is just a reminder that things can happen in a split second,” Cook said. “At the end of the day, we all want to get home safely.”

There have been 12 hunting incidents and two fatalities across all hunting seasons this fall.