Archived Story

State reminds hunters to keep safety first

Published 7:26pm Thursday, January 16, 2014

The Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources wants to urge hunters to practice safety at all times in light of two fatal hunting accidents in the past week.

The department said both incidents involved hunters who were not wearing the required hunter orange safety clothing and shooters who did not clearly identify their targets.

“Alabama law requires hunters to wear a minimum of 144 square inches of hunter orange during gun deer season,” said Alabama Hunter Education Coordinator Marisa Futral. “This is equivalent in size to a baseball cap or hat.”

Futral said the most common hunting accidents in the state are from hunters falling from treestands, hunters that don’t identify their target and from self-inflicted incidents.

So far, Alabama has had nine non-fatal treestand accidents and one fatal treestand accident this hunting season.

The state has had 14 non-fatal firearm accidents and four fatal accidents this season.

One of these fatal accidents occurred in Tallapoosa County on Sunday, when James Raymond Landers, III, 50, was shot and killed while bow hunting.

“We want hunters to have a productive hunting season, but to do it with safety foremost in their minds,” Futral said. “This includes following all rules, regulations and safety recommendations.”

Gun season for deer ends Jan. 31, though a small portion of southwest Alabama has an extended season that wraps up Feb. 10.

The name of the hunter who pulled the trigger in Sunday’s incident has not been released.

According to the Alexander City Police Department, protocol dictates that the case will go to the district attorney.

“The investigation is still ongoing,” said Capt. Mario Hodge, public information officer for ACPD. “Once it is complete, that information will be taken to the district attorney, and they will make a decision.”

Grand jury proceedings are kept sealed, so the name of the shooter will not be released unless the individual is indicted.

The ADCNR recommends the following safety rules for hunters to follow:

Keep the firearm’s muzzle pointed in a safe direction at all times.

Treat every firearm as if it is loaded.

When hunting from a treestand, wear a full-body safety harness and keep it attached to the tree at all times, including when ascending and descending the tree.

Be sure of your target, what is in front of it and beyond it.

Keep your finger outside the trigger guard until ready to shoot.

Positively identify your target before shooting.

Use a small flashlight during dim light conditions to identify yourself as a human being.