Missouri’s hunters have started 2009 in a tragic way after a historic 2008.
The conservation department recorded no fatal hunting accidents in 2008, the first fatality-free year since 2002, and only 15 firearms-related hunting accidents. But this January, the department has had four incidents and two fatalities.
The department’s hunter education coordinator, Tony Legg, says one of the deaths was a 37-year old squirrel hunter crossing a fence when his rifle went off. He was hit in the chest.
The other incident was a couple of boys being boys–"horsing around," says Legg.
He says a 17-year old boy and a 13-year old boy had been pointing their rifles at each other’s feet, pretending to shoot. When the 13-year old raised his .22 caliber rifle to re-engage the safety, it fired. The bullet hit his 17-year old companion in the neck.
Legg says the incidents underline the need for greater caution among hunters and emphasize the importance of adult supervision of novice hunters.