I am sure by now everybody has heard about the American Vice President blasting a shotgun load of pellets into his friends face during a recent hunting trip. It is reported that the accidents victim Harry Whittington, a millionaire attorney from Austin is in stable condition. It took the Vice Presidents office more than 24 hours to confirm the accident and only after the news appeared on the Website of the local Corpus Christi Caller Times.
It is further reported that Dick Cheney did not see Whittington coming up from behind him to retrieve a bird he shot. When he got up Cheney blasted him in the face with the shotgun. Both hunters wore blaze orange hunting vests. How can you not see a fellow hunter who only stands 30 yards away from you wearing a bright orange vest?
But what concerns me more about this accident is that the news has given the wrong impression to the non-hunting, non-firearm owning population. They are let in the belief that if you are a hunter and shoot at somebody nothing is going to happen to you. That all that is needed is a half hearted apology and only then if you are embarrassed into it.
The fact however is, that if such an accident happen to the Joe Average hunter, he will be arrested have his firearm confiscated and his hunting and firearm owner licence taken away from him. He then will face an investigation followed by a court trial and very likely is to be sued out of existence by the accident victim. If the hunter causing the accident is found guilty of neglecting the hunter and firearm safety standards he can be prohibited from going to hunt and owning a firearm from anything of one year up to five years and in drastic cases even for lifetime.
I doubt very much that anything like that will happen to Dick Cheney, he probably will be going hunting tomorrow as far as we know. The lunatic anti everything fringe of society will leap at this opportunity to spew forth their diatribe and political rethoric about gun safety and how important firearm control is. Dick Cheney is indeed a "Dick" but lucky such accident are very rare in the hunting community. With millions of hunters in the field totting firearms, hunting is still one of the safest recreational sports, safer than tennis and basketball. According to the US accident statistics more people die accidentally roller blading than by hunting. The fatal accident rate by hunters is less than 0.02% anually and there are about five million hunters in America. That is less than 3 people diying accidentally trough firearm accidents. This makes hunting one of the safest sports there is.
But back to Dick Cheney and the hunting accident.
Dick Cheney carelessly has violated some of the most common basic hunter safety standards with which every hunter is familiar. These are.
1. Treat any firearm as if they where loaded.
2. Never pull the trigger unless you have fully identified your target as such.
3. Always point the muzzle in a safe direction, away from you and other people.
4. Be sure of your target and its surrounding and beyond it. (Never shoot at a target that is sky lighted or only partially visible or that you not otherwise have clearly identified as such.)
5. Make sure the ammunition is the right size for your firearm.
6. Make sure the barrel is free of obstructions before you load a firearm.
7. Never take any chances with a loaded firearm.
8. Don’t relay on the safety feature on your firearm.
9. Store firearms and ammunition in safe place where only you or by you authorized people have access.
10. Never load a firearm before you are ready to shoot or hunt.
11. Never ever mix alcohol, drugs and firearms and/or ammunition.
12. Never think that you are safe know you are safe by observing the guidlines and all firearms regulations. Make sure other hunters in your party know the safe firearm handling procedures.
In addition to this safety standards and specially for the upcoming spring turkey hunting seasonand if you hunt on public land where you are very likely to encounter other turkey hunters -let’s hope you don’t run into Dick Cheney - you might follow these additional safety standards.
1. Always wear a blaze orange vest on your way to your turkey set up and again after the hunt when you go back to your truck or to another location.
2. Do not use turkey decoys, they could be mistaken for the real thing and be shot at by other hunters.
3. Tie a blaze orange ribbon, about five feet of the ground, around the tree you have chosen as your stand location. This ribbons will warn other hunters that hunting is in progress at this location. Blaze orange ribbons do not spook turkeys as some hunters would have you belief.
4. Never raise your gun and aim at sound, it could be another hunter making turkey calls or coming your way. Only aim and shot when you're absolutly sure what you see is a legal to kill turkey.
5. You should not stalk (bushwhack) turkeys on public land, you could be mistaken for a turkey and be shot at.
6. If you see another hunter approaching you stand location sit still and make yourself known by shouting loud at the other hunter. Do not wave or use a turkey call.
7. If you on your way to your location see a turkey make sure it is not a decoy before you raise your gun up and aim. If you see another hunter sitting at the bottom of a tree do not wave at him. Stay still and shout at him or make a slow retrat keeping an eye on the hunter.
8. If you have been successful in shooting a turkey wrap it into a bright red or blaze orange cover before you carry it out of the woods.
9. Use commonsense and keep your eyes open for possible danger at all times.
10. Before you aim at a turkey be sure of your target and beyond.
11. If in doubt about safety let the opportunity to shot a bird pass by. You will get another chance another time and it’s a lot easier to live with that being a lifetime sorry.
I guess what I want to say with all that is don’t be a Dick Cheney, or Richard Cranium, as we call him around here. Be safe be resposible and conciderate of others and then you will have fun.
Stay tuned for my upcoming turkey hunting strategies which will help you bagging that big ol’tom you have been dreaming about.