The Firearms Safety Council of Aotearoa New Zealand (FSCANZ) are disappointed that a hunter has been shot during the 2018 roar period in the Kaimanawa ranges. When hunting with companions deer hunters need to take special care, said Joe Green, chair of the FSCANZ. Details released by Police indicate that those involved in this recent incident were hunting companions.
Mr Joe Green, Chair of the FSCANZ reminds hunters that special care is required when hunting with others and that safe practice goes beyond the usual advice to identify your target. In approximately 50% of cases where one hunter shoots another they are hunting companions who have separated or lost sight of each other. Too often does one hunter then sight the other but mistakes him for a deer.
Mr Green advises that “It is critical if deer hunting companions separate or lose sight of each other that they cease hunting until they have linked up again”. Mr Green is a retired Police Inspector who was in charge of Arms Control at Police National Headquarters. He carried out research into deaths of hunters. “It is heart wrenching when we read the common theme of two people hunting together, losing sight of each other, then one mistaking the other for a deer and shooting their mate”.
This goes beyond ‘identify your target’. It’s also about shooting only in a safe direction, and if you don’t know where your mate is, no direction is safe! The Firearms Safety Council of Aotearoa New Zealand asks all hunters to revisit the 7 basic rules of firearms safety before they head out on their hunt. “It won’t take long to refamilarise yourselves and could save many families a lifetime of heartache”.
Seven Rules of Firearms Safety
- TREAT EVERY FIREARM AS LOADED
– Check every firearm yourself.
- What are you looking for?
- How can you tell if the chamber is empty?
- What is the Range Officer looking for?
– Pass or accept only an open or unloaded firearm.
- What does open and unloaded mean?
- What if you have already checked it?
- What do you do with a rifle in the rack?
- If you have completed a shoot, placed your rifle in the rack or in your case, then go into the range for another shot, do you need to check your rifle again?
- Why do we work the actions twice?
- ALWAYS POINT FIREARMS IN A SAFE DIRECTION
– Loaded or unloaded, always point the muzzle in a safe direction.
- What is the muzzle?
- What is a safe direction? At any time?
- Where is a safe direction in the Royal Tiger Range when in the shooting area?
- Where is a safe direction out here?
- LOAD A FIREARM ONLY WHEN READY TO FIRE
– Load only the magazine after you reach your shooting area.
- What is the magazine?
- What is the shooting area? Scenario’s
– Load the chamber only when ready to shoot.
- When do we load the chamber?
- Where do we load the chamber?
- What is the muzzle?
– Completely unload before leaving the shooting area.
- At what stage do we unload the chamber?
- 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?
- Where does your firing zone begin?
- Where does it end
- On the range explain the zone?
– Do not fire when you know others are in your firing zone
- What does this mean when we are on the range?
- STORE FIREARMS AND AMMUNITION SAFELY
– When not in use, lock away the bolt, firearm and ammunition separately.
- What should you do here?
- What should you do at home?
– Never leave firearms in a vehicle that is unattended
– If you’re not sure of what kind of storage space your firearm/accessories need – make sure to read a variety of gun safe reviews online before making an informed decision.
- Is it illegal?
- AVOID ALCOHOL AND DRUGS WHEN HANDLING FIREARMS
– Good judgement is the key to safe use of firearms.