Safety an Issue Following Recent Hunting Injuries

Forest, VA - Hunting season is underway, and already there are reports of hunters getting injured.

Over the weekend alone, ABC 13 reported two different hunting accidents in our viewing area.

According to officials at the state's Game and Inland Fisheries headquarters, last year, 37 people were shot while hunting. Two of them died.

Officials say hunting is safe, however. Last year out of 227,000 licensed hunters in the state, fewer than 1% were shot.

"People not identifying their target and shooting at movement," said Hunter and Hunting Instructor Wade White.

Carelessness is the number one problem DGIF officials and hunting instructors like Wade White see.

"Shot himself in the lower leg," said White. "The subject saw a large buck, lost his balance and fell 25 to 30 feet."

White is reading the latest numbers that span from July of 2012 to June of this year.

"It's broken into two categories one of them will be the firearms incident report and the other is the tree stand incident report," said White. "A number of times we see people who are actually shooting out of their zone of fire, they're shooting at moving targets," said White.

People are also falling out of tree stands, leading to injury and possible fatalities.

"People are climbing into tree stands and not attaching to the tree using a safety harness," said White.

Region 2 DGIF Captain Tony Fisher monitors 21 counties. He says there are five rules to keep in mind when hunting:

1. Always wear lots of blaze orange.

2. Keep your muzzle pointed in a safe direction.

3. Always treat your firearm like it's loaded.

4. Make sure you have a safe backstop when you discharge a firearm.

5. Always clearly identify your target.

"If you don't have 100% accountability of what it is, don't pull the trigger, it's that simple," said Captain Tony Fisher.

DGIF Officials say about 15,000 people take a hunter education course each year.