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Keeping safe during the roar

"Keeping safe during the roar"

Please attribute to Detective Senior Sergeant John Wilson.

With autumn upon us the weather is cooling off, and deer hunters will be heading into the bush for the Roar.

Late March and April, is the Roar or rutting season for the most common deer species in NZ. This pre-occupation with mating leads the stags to become vocal and makes them vulnerable to hunters. The extra activity in the outdoors, and the excitement this time of year brings for hunters, can make them vulnerable too.

Firearms Safety:

There's a significant increase in the number of hunting-related incidents and Search and Rescue operations at this time each year, with target misidentification being the biggest cause of fatalities.

The responsibility is always on the shooter to positively identify their target.

The consequences of failing to fully identify a target beyond all doubt are immediate, tragic and catastrophic.

Each year Police hope that there will be no such tragedies.

Police urge all those going into the outdoors hunting to abide by the 7 rules of firearms safety.

1. Treat every firearm as loaded
2. Always point firearms in a safe direction
3. Load a firearm only when ready to fire
4. Identify your target
5. Check your firing zone
6. Store firearms and ammunition safely
7. Avoid alcohol or drugs when handling firearms

Of these 7 firearms safety rules, failing to identify your target is the most likely to see another hunter mistakenly shot.

It is crucial that you positively identify it is a deer, and that you are looking at the whole animal, not just a part of it.

If in any doubt don't shoot.

If you pull the trigger you will have to live with the consequences forever.

As a starting point I suggest that the mindset of the hunter when they see what they think is a deer should be, "is this another hunter?" rather than, "it is probably a deer."

Outdoor Safety:

There are incidents every year at this time involving hunters who are injured, and sometimes lost.

Most injuries come from a fall, a trip, or a stumble.

Becoming lost or injured happens, but there are things to do which will mitigate this risk:

• Take care in the outdoors.
• A little preparation pre hunt will go a long way.

If you are fit then you are a lot more resilient if you do have a fall or suffer from an injury

Follow the Outdoor Safety Code:

• Plan Your Trip
• Tell Someone Your Plans
• Be Aware Of The Weather
• Know Your Limits
• Take Sufficient Supplies

Consider the use of technology to make things safer and more enjoyable.

A personal locator beacon is a good investment. Beacons can be a lifesaving tool as it means emergency services will be aware that something has happened much faster if you do get injured or lost.

Have a great season, and remember to keep yourself and others safe.

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