Hunting Accidents Leave One Dead, Two Injured

By Rachel Martin

October 17, 2011 Updated Oct 17, 2011 at 6:09 PM EDT

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (Indiana’s NewsCenter) – One man is dead and two others injured from hunting accidents this weekend. The Department of Natural Resources (DNR) reminds hunters to take safety precautions before going out to hunt.

Eric M. Menefee, Sr. 42, of Huntington County died Sunday while hunting with his son and a friend. His son accidentally shot Menefee in the back while trying to untangle his shot gun from some bushes.

In Kosciusko County, a man was injured when a large tree limb broke loose and fell on top of him while posted in a tree stand. An 83-year-old man in Steuben County was also injured when he fell 17 feet from his tree stand.

Indiana’s NewsCenter spoke with DNR Conservation Officer, Cpl. Kenny Wireman, about safety precautions while hunting. Probably the most important tip is to never point a gun at anything you don’t mean to shoot, and engage the safety lock when necessary.

“The safety is just like any other mechanical device, it could fail at any time. So just because the safety's on, doesn't mean you can rely on it to work properly at all times. So always maintain control of the muzzle and obviously keep your finger off the trigger until you are ready to shoot.”

Everyone born after December 31, 1986, is required by law to take the Hunter’s Education Course before obtaining a hunter’s license. Even though the course is mandatory for those 24 and younger, Wiremen recommends the course to anyone participating in hunting or target shooting.

“What we generally talk about there is maintaining control of your gun and maintaining control of the muzzle.”

Wireman said the majority of hunting accidents in Indiana are from tree stands. Since stands are normally suspended 10-20 ft. in the air, tree stands can be very dangerous.

“Tree stand accidents are preventable by wearing a safety harness. Which is a simple vest or harness-style, or maybe even a belt, that you wear that connects you to the tree. So even if you were to fall out of the tree stand, you're still suspended and you wouldn't fall all the way to the ground.”

There are also climbing belts that can aid and catch a person when climbing up and down trees.

At hunting grounds, it is required by law to wear at least one article of clothing that is “Hunter Orange” during the deer firearm and small game seasons.

“That consist of a solid orange hat, cap, jacket or vest with minimal logos,” Wireman said. “Hunter orange is always a great idea. It allows you to be seen by other hunters to prevent another hunter to mistake you for an animal and shoot in your direction.”

Firearms Season begins Nov. 12. For more information, visit the Indiana DNR website for hunting and trapping regulations and more safety tips.

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