DNR stresses hunting safety after three accidental shootings - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

DNR stresses hunting safety after three accidental shootings

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An 11-year-old boy is among three Iowans who were accidentally shot while hunting in the last week.

The Iowa Department of Natural Resources said it happened on private land near the intersection of 320th St. NE and Prairie Du Chen Road in Johnson County.

The 11-year-old was out hunting with his 12-year-old brother and his grandpa on December 10, when the mission to nab a deer almost became a tragedy.

A release from the DNR says the brothers were standing near a fence row, within 200 yards of each other, while the grandfather was going through the timber pushing deer towards the open field near the two.

That's when a doe reportedly came from the opposition direction of the timber towards the brothers who then started to shoot at it. The deer then ran between the boys when the older brother continued to shoot. One of the bullets struck the 11-year-old in his hip.

He was taken to the University of Iowa Hospital and Clinics with non-life threatening injuries.

The other two hunting accidents occurred separately in Taylor County.

A New Market man was shot on the same day while he searched for an injured deer. Another hunter had mistaken him for a deer. The bullet struck in the left forearm. He was airlifted to the University of Nebraska Medical Center with non-life threatening injuries.

The third incident happened on December 5. A Villisca man was hunting near Nodaway when he was struck in the foot by a slug from a 15-year-old boy he was hunting with. Similar to what happened in Johnson County, a doe ran between the pair when the boy fired at the deer, missing and instead hitting the man in the foot. The man was transported to Mercy Medical Center in Des Moines. His injuries were also non-life-threatening.

The DNR said many of the accidents that happen during hunting are preventable ones and that there are basic steps people can take to stay safe.

"We encourage anyone that's going to be out hunting to have at least the minimum such as a solid orange blaze vest and always encourage people to wear a solid orange blaze hat because that's going to be the most visible if you're going through tall brush, weeds, that sort of thing," Brad Baker said. Baker is a Conservation Officer with the Iowa DNR.

While it's not a legal requirement to wear an orange blaze hat, Baker said it certainly can help. In this case where the man was mistake for a deer and shot, he was wearing a camouflaged hat.

Baker said that traditionally, most hunting outings occur in groups. When hunting in a group, he said it's important to outline a plan.

"Obviously, we don't want something to happen to our loved ones or our friends. So, the best thing you can do is to come up with a plan that you're going to hunt a certain property and stick to the plan. If you're going to be in one location stay in that location until the whole hunt or drive is done," he said.

Under Iowa law, juvenile hunters shouldn't be hunting on their own.

"If youngsters are going to be out there, they need to be in direct supervision of an adult. Someone 18 years or older that needs to be hunting with them. Direct supervision, right along side of them," he said.

Another common place for accidents to occur is near or inside an vehicle, Baker said. He said it's important to point the gun in a safe direction while unloading. He also recommends that if someone is transporting a gun in a car to unload them first and put them in a case.

All three incidents are under investigation by the DNR.

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