Every year about 900
hunters are killed or injured in hunting accident. Dick Cheney,
our Vice President just shot his Texas friend of thirty years in
the neck and face. Cheney is an experienced hunter and proved that
a hunter must continually be on guard to prevent accidents. Cheney
suffered great sorrow because of the accident as you would if you
shot your friend or even a stranger.
Many Americans know about
guns and their hazards. In the west, boys own guns at a very young
age. Some girls learn about guns too. They know guns are dangerous.
Many learn about guns
in the military. They learn rifle range rules to keep from shooting
the target monitors and each other. Most states have gun laws that
require that youngsters take a gun class before they are allowed
to hunt. That is a good idea.
There is a good set of
firearm safety rules at http://www.uoregon.edu/~joe/firearms-safety.html.
Here are my rules: The
Taylor Jones Rules for Hunting
1. Keep your firearm
in good condition. That means to clean it and oil it after use and
to check it occasionally while it is in storage. Remove any excess
oil when you decide to use the firearm.
2. Store your firearm
in a locked cabinet. Since you just cleaned it, it should not be
loaded. Check to see if it is loaded. If it is, unload it.
3. Make sure the lock
on your gun cabinet is of high quality and that it can not be picked
or pried open. Keep the key on your key ring in your possession
or in a secure place that others can not find. Remember that children
are very clever and if they want to get into your gun cabinet, they
will if you don't monitor their activities.
4. When you retrieve
your gun from the gun cabinet, what do you do first? You check to
see if it is loaded. Someone could have gotten into your gun cabinet,
loaded the gun, and then replaced it. Believe me, this does happen.
When I was a kid, I made it happen.
5. Smell your gun when
you first take it out of the gun cabinet. You will be able to tell
if it has been fired. If you suspect it has been fired, look down
the barrel once you know for sure the gun is not loaded. Now you
will be able to tell if has been fired by the particles left behind
by the bullet as it passed through the barrel. If the gun has been
fired, find out who fired it and take proper action.
6. You should have a
case for your gun. Place the unloaded rifle or shotgun or handgun
in its case when not hunting or target shooting. Always have the
gun in a case in your car. Some states require this.
7. When you arrive at
the hunting scene, watch what others are doing. If they swing the
barrel of their rifle or shotgun your way, warn them about it. Tell
them what the safe hunting rules are then and there.
8. Never hunt with a
klutz that does not know how to handle a firearm. Never hunt with
anyone that drinks one drop of alcohol. If you see a problem, tell
them that you think it would be best to form two hunting parties
and separate yourself from them. An alternative is to decide not
to hunt and get back in the car. I suggest that you only hunt with
those you know and trust.
9. Carefully remove your
firearm from its case. Do not load the weapon until you are actually
hunting. When you do load the weapon, you may want to keep the firing
chamber empty until you know that you are going to fire.
10. Follow the dress
codes of your state. That bright orange hat and vest might keep
you from getting buckshot in your paduka.
11. Continually be in
contact with all those in your hunting party. If gabbing does not
interfere with the hunting strategy, continually talk to each other.
If you are not talking, maintain eye contact. If someone disappears
from you view, stop hunting then and there until you again gain
contact with that person. This is the most important rule of hunting
in my opinion.
12. Continually monitor
your field of safe fire. Never go out of this field. Dick Cheney
went out of his field of safe fire. He had lost contact with his
hunting partner but kept hunting. That was a big error on his part.
13. Don't run with your
loaded firearm. There is seldom a need to run while hunting. If
you must run, lay your weapon down or at least unload it.
14. Remember that your
dogs are your hunting companions. Make sure your safe field of fire
doesn't have your dogs running through it. I was pheasant haunting
in Iowa years ago when a line of fox hunters appeared on the horizon
with their white snow coveralls. A kit of foxes shot out in front
of them. Their score was two dogs and no foxes. My friend shot one
of the foxes and sold it to them. The dogs were expensive fox hounds
and they were dead.
15. Rough terrain can
cause accidents. You could trip and fall and your firearm could
go off in any direction. If you are carrying game, take extra precautions
with our firearm.
16. The bottom line is
this: you must be eternally vigilant to be a good hunter. A good
hunter is a safe hunter.
A couple of years ago
a man in our town in Arizona had an argument with his wife while
deer hunting. He grabbed the barrel of his rifle and slammed it
into the side of his pickup. The rifle discharged severing his femoral
Because the evacuating
helicopter had a mechanical problem it turned around and went back
to its base. The dispatcher did not request another helicopter until
it was too late.
I visited the man at
the hospital with the bishop of our church. He was comatose and
dying. He left his wife and two sons.
If the man had been transported
to the hospital in our small town, the doctors could have stopped
the bleeding and saved his life.The
no-show helicopter was the main problem.
When you are out hunting,
think about where you would find medical care if you needed it.
What action would you take in an emergency?
Here is one last rule:
Never handle a firearm when angry.
John T. Jones, Ph.D.
(firstname.lastname@example.org), a retired college professor and business
executive, Former editor of an international engineering magazine.
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