Experts: Gun accidents happen when hunters get too comfortable - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Experts: Gun accidents happen when hunters get too comfortable

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HIAWATHA (KWWL) - Guns are something to take seriously.

People who own them and work around them, however, say they're only dangerous if you pull the trigger.

"You have to mean to pull that trigger for the gun to go off," said Sarah Banowetz, Chief Range Safety Officer at Midwest Shooting.

Employees at the shop and indoor shooting range say it's important to go through training on how to use your gun and to practice regularly.

Whether shooting at the range or out hunting, there are a few common tips that always apply.

"When you have a gun with you you need to make sure you always keep your finger off the trigger until you're ready to shoot," said Banowetz. "You need to be aware of what is beyond your target and you need to keep that gun unloaded until you're ready to shoot."

It sounds simple, yet accidents happen -- even to experienced shooters.

An Iowa man dropped his pistol and shot himself while hunting squirrels this week. In Wisconsin, a man fell while coyote hunting and his rifle went off, hitting him in his torso. 

"They get comfortable," said Banowetz. "They get too comfortable, and that's where they make the mistakes."

That's why they say you should always treat a gun like it's loaded.

"Even if you know that gun is unloaded, you don't point it at anybody," said Banowetz. "You don't point it at yourself or at anything that you'd care to lose."

Midwest Shooting offers multiple training classes and the Iowa Department of Natural Resources has Hunter Education Courses.

Midwest Shooting:

Iowa DNR:
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