Hunters should stick to the basics and “be safe”
Safe use of hunting firearms is pretty basic, says Firearms Safety Council spokesperson Bill O’Leary.
The approaching “roar” and the opening of the game bird season will encourage thousands of hunters into the hills and swamps of New Zealand and the Firearms Safety Council of Aotearoa New Zealand thinks it is timely to remind hunters to “be safe”.
The Firearms Safety Council’s Mr O’Leary is reminding hunters to follow some basic rules:
- Get a firearms licence
- Get permission to access and hunt on land
- Communicate your presence to other hunters
- Know where your hunting companions are at all times
- Understand and observe the basic rules of firearm safety.
Mr O’Leary said that the media and the public tend to focus on the “failure to identify” incidents but he emphasises that most incidents are the result of failure to observe basic rules such as always treating every firearms as loaded and pointing the firearm in a safe direction.
Analysis of incidents has identified potential causal factors. Continuing hunting when you and your hunting companions have separated, unlicensed shooters and illegal hunting are “red flags” and along with spotlighting have featured too frequently in shooting incidents, Mr O’Leary said.
“Experienced shooters are not exempt from making mistakes. Bad habits and complacency have been linked to past incidents.
“Each and every hunter needs to look hard at their own and their mates’ attitudes and conduct and ensure that safety is the most basic of considerations when hunting.”
The Firearms Safety Council promotes safe firearm usage and its membership includes organisations as diverse as Pistol NZ, NZ Shooting Industries Assoc., NZ Shooting Fed., NZ Pighunting Assoc., NZ Antique and Historical Arms Assoc., NZ Blackpowder Fed., NZ Deerstalkers Assoc., NZ Service Rifle Assoc., Firearms Safety Specialists NZ Ltd., Federated Mountain Clubs, Target Shooting NZ, Sporting Shooters Assoc. NZ, Rural Women NZ, and Safari Club International.
Bill O’Leary is the Deputy Chair of the Firearms Safety Council.
For further information contact Bill O’Leary 027 4305 008
The Seven Basic Rules of Safe Firearms Handling
- TREAT EVERY FIREARM AS LOADED
- Check every firearm yourself.
- Pass or accept only an open or unloaded firearm.
- ALWAYS POINT FIREARMS IN A SAFE DIRECTION
- Always point the muzzle in a safe direction. Especially when loading and unloading.
- LOAD A FIREARM ONLY WHEN READY TO FIRE
- Load only the magazine after you reach your shooting area.
- Load the chamber only when ready to shoot.
- Completely unload before leaving the shooting area.
- IDENTIFY YOUR TARGET BEYOND ALL DOUBT
- Movement, colour, sound and shape can all deceive you.
- Assume colour, shape, sound, and shape to be human until proven otherwise
- CHECK YOUR FIRING ZONE
- THINK! What may happen if you miss your target? What might you hit between you and the target or beyond?
- Do not fire know others are in your firing zone
- STORE FIREARMS AND AMMUNITION SAFELY
- When not in use, lock away the bolt, firearm and ammunition separately.
- Never leave firearms in a vehicle that is unattended
- AVOID ALCOHOL AND DRUGS WHEN HANDLING FIREARMS
- Good judgement is the key to safe use of firearms.