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MSC urges hunters to ‘be seen, be sure’

Mountain Safety Council (MSC) CEO Mike Daisley said he’s hopeful that this year can be a better than last year with respect to the deer hunting season, commonly called ‘the Roar’.

“This is the hunting community’s opportunity to clearly demonstrate to the public that firearms can be used safely for the purpose they were intended.”

“We strongly advise all hunters to follow the seven firearms safety rules so we can stop any further firearms-related incidents this year.”

“All firearms-related hunting incidents can be avoided by following the seven firearms rules. If it’s been a while since you got your license head to our website for links to helpful refresher videos.”

Daisley reiterated that there are simple measures hunters can take to ensure that there are no misidentified shootings this year.

“We know that 88% of ‘Big Game’ hunting fatalities in the North Island involved a firearm and that 80% of daytime misidentified shootings are members of the same party.”

“We also know that in 92% of misidentified shootings the victim was less than 75m away from the shooter.”

“As you can see, there’s a clear message to all Big Game hunters but particularly those in the North Island that identifying your target is of the utmost importance because it’s quite possible that it’s not a deer and might be one of your hunting party.”

“Hunters should strongly colour-contrast to their consider environment by wearing their favoured colour of ‘blaze’ at a minimum. It’s also important to put blaze or something similar on top of if you’re carrying out so that your silhouette isn’t mistaken.”

Daisley said starting from the assumption that any movement is a human, not an animal is the correct procedure.

If you start off assuming it’s a person, then you can work back to find evidence that it’s actually a deer. If you start off the other way around you can potentially convince yourself it’s a deer, particularly if you haven’t had much luck over a couple of days.”

“Misidentification is an issue across the country, but is especially so in the Waikato and Central North Island regions. They have shown up in our analysis of misidentified shootings, particularly Pureora, Te Urewera and Kaimanawa forested areas. If you’re heading into these regions please make sure you’re following the correct procedures.”

MSC’s is also keen to reinforce the responsibility of all firearms users to respect the enormous trust placed in them by the public to act sensibly with firearms.

“There are serious and important questions being asked about the kinds of firearms available to Kiwis at the moment. Hunting is where the vast majority of firearms in New Zealand are used, so it’s natural for the public to be especially concerned this year.”

“The events of last Friday should give all hunters heading out this year pause to reflect on the social license granted by the wider community trusting that they will act safely with firearms.”

This year is unique in that people are possibly going to bridge Anzac and Easter together creating over a week of time off. It’s likely that this will increase participation in multi-day Tramping. Hunters need to remind themselves that they will sometimes be in the same huts and areas as non-hunters.”

“It’s completely possible that we can have a ‘zero’ fatality Roar, and we urge all hunters to be extra vigilant this year. Call your mates out if you see something wrong. It’s too late to do that if there is an incident.”

Ends

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