DNR: "There's no deer worth making a costly mistake"

DNR Law Enforcement and area hunters weigh in on safe hunting seasons.

ANTRIM COUNTY, Mich. (WPBN/WGTU) -- Statistics from the Michigan Department of Natural Resources Law Enforcement Division show hunting incidents have been on the decline since 1971.

Of the four hunting incidents in 2018, three of them were injuries and the only deadly incident happened Thursday.

DNR experts say these kind of accidents can happen to anyone, but there are simple ways to have a safe season.

Wearing hunter orange is one of them, and it's Michigan law to at least wear that color hat during firearm season.

However, Sergeant William Webster with the DNR Law Enforcement Division says the more orange, the better.

"Remember this is potentially your life we’re talking about," says Sgt. Webster. "Wear as much hunter orange as you can; we have to remember deer look at movement not colors. "

Tim Moore has been hunting for about 40 years, and has actually been in a group when someone was shot while hunting.

"Said he wasn’t going to wear orange and he ended up getting shot in the arm," says Moore. "[He] didn’t die, but it was close."

Another key thing to safe hunting, is knowing exactly what you are shooting at because anytime a hunter pulls the trigger, they're responsible for where the bullet goes.

"If you don’t know what target is - don’t shoot - just wait," says Sgt. Webster. "There’s no deer that’s worth making a costly mistake over."

A lot of hunters take binoculars out into the woods to identify their target before aiming.

"That's a very smart idea because when you point a rifle at something it is a mechanical device and it can malfunction," says Sgt. Webster.

Mike Bowman has been hunting for about 27 years and believes accidents happen when people rush.

"Take your time," says Bowman. "First of all, make sure it’s a deer, second of all look for antlers; give it some time to move and don’t just shoot at anything that creeks or cracks in the woods."

But it's not just about aim, a lot of accidents happen while hunters are heading into the woods or back to their vehicle.

"Very important to unload your gun before you get to the vehicle," says Moore. "A lot of times you get in the truck to unload your gun and it's pointing across the truck where your hunting partner is, anything can happen."

Lastly, it's very important to know where you are hunting and whether it's private or public land.

You can do that by downloading the DNR's MI-Hunt App which allows you to use an interactive map.

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