BE SAFE THIS DUCK SHOOTING SEASON
By Bill O’Leary, Firearms Safety Council of Aotearoa New Zealand (FSCANZ)
“Safety with shotguns should be a priority for all duck shooters this season” Bill O’Leary advised.
Each year there are incidents resulting in shotgun injuries. These range from minor to more serious injuries and tragically, from time to time these lead to death or serious injury.
Duck shooters should pay attention to all seven rules of the Arms Code, but especially rules one and five; ‘treat every firearm as loaded’, and, ‘check your firing zone’. “These are the two major causes of incidents during duck shooting”, Bill said.
If moving from place to place with the shotgun, unload it. “Always ensure that the muzzle is pointing in a safe direction”, he advised.
Of course it should go without saying that rule seven is observed – “avoid alcohol and drugs when handling firearms” he said.
If you are going to drink this opening weekend, save it for afterwards, when the guns are safely secured.
Each year during duck shooting season there are reports of shooters within the firing zone of another shooter being peppered with shot. Before firing a shooter must establish their firing zone and confirm that no other person or property, or their gun dog is within their firing zone.
When you follow flying game birds your firing zone can change rapidly. As you swing the muzzle around in an arc you must be alert to others getting caught in your firing zone. A stake in the ground either side of your shooting position can help control over swing outside of your firing zone.
Before leaving your shooting area check and double check that your shotgun is completely unloaded including ammunition from the magazine. Be aware that ammunition can become jammed in tubular magazines so double, double check these. Before cleaning or securing the gun in your safe at home do another check and confirm that the gun it is completely unloaded. This practice should also apply in duck shooting camps. Never let you safety standards slip.
Have a successful and safe duck shooting season.
The Seven Basic Rules of Safe Firearms Handling (these also apply to airguns)
1. TREAT EVERY FIREARM AS LOADED
– Check every firearm yourself.
– Pass or accept only an open or unloaded firearm.
2. ALWAYS POINT FIREARMS IN A SAFE DIRECTION
– Always point the muzzle in a safe direction. Especially when loading and unloading.
3. 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.
4. 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
5. 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
6. 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
7. AVOID ALCOHOL AND DRUGS WHEN HANDLING FIREARMS – Good judgement is the key to safe use of firearms