1/5/2011 - DOBBINS AIR RESERVE BASE, Ga. -- We are already well into the hunting season for Georgia but an article on page 21 of the winter 2011 edition of Wingman Magazine reminds us to keep safety foremost whenever hunting.
The article tells the story of a seemingly freak accidental discharge of a shotgun that caused a fatality at the beginning of a hunting expedition. When you read the story, you can see where a series of seemingly trivial and unrelated actions taken by a small group of experienced hunters led to the tragic death of one of their comrades. If any one of these actions were done differently, this individual would still be serving his country.
If you hunt, you need to keep in mind the 12 basic principles for Safe Gun Handling
1. Always treat the gun as if it were loaded.
2. Keep the gun pointed in a safe direction.
3. Always keep your finger straight and off the trigger until you are ready to shoot.
4. Keep the gun unloaded until you are ready to use it.
5. Never point the gun at anything you don't intend to shoot or destroy.
6. Be sure of your target and what is beyond it.
7. Learn the mechanical and handling characteristics of the gun you are using.
8. Always use proper ammunition.
9. Be sure the barrel is clear of obstructions before loading and shooting.
10. If your gun fails to fire when the trigger is pulled, hold your shooting position for several seconds; then with the muzzle pointed in a safe direction, carefully unload the gun.
11. Use the gun's safety but don't rely on it to keep it from firing.
12. Be aware of your surroundings when handling guns so you don't trip or lose your balance and accidentally point and/or fire the gun at anyone or anything.
Read the Hunting Safety article in the winter 2011 Wingman Magazine and you will see how many of these 12 principles were ignored by this group of hunters.
Before you go out on your next hunting expedition, keep these principles firmly in mind anytime you are handling firearms. Remember, your firearms are meant to bring down an animal. Don't allow your firearms to bring down you or one of your buddies.