Hunter safety is no accident

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WAUSAU, Wis., (WSAW)-- It's Wisconsin in the fall which means we are in the thick of deer bow season and gun is just around the corner.

A white-tailed deer buck leaping through tall grass.

To talk about all those safety reminders, Mike Fitzgerald lead instructor with the Marathon County Hunter Education Group joined Sunrise 7.

An estimated 600,000 hunters headed into the woods throughout Wisconsin for opening weekend of the nine-day firearms hunt.

There are four primary rules when it comes to fire arm safety;
o Treat Every Firearm as if it is Loaded
o Always Point Your Muzzle in a Safe Direction
o Be Sure of Your Target - and Beyond
o Keep Your Finger Off The Trigger - Until You Are Ready To Fire

Another danger is hunting from elevated devices. According to the Wis. DNR, statistics show that 1 of 3 hunters will be involved in a fall from climbing in and out of elevated devices. Fitzpatrick says to never carry your firearm or bow when climbing in or out of your elevated device. Instead use a "Haul Line" to raise and lower your UNLOADED firearm or bow when hunting from an elevated device.

Last year, 22 hunting incidents were reported with 1 fatality. Below are the top three hunting citations for 2017. (1,031 total, 26% were related to hunting safety violations)

1) Place or possess a loaded firearm inside a moving or stationary motorized vehicle.
2) Discharge a firearm from across a highway or within 50 feet of center of road.
3) Hunt within 50 feet of road's center.
d) Top 3 Contributing Factors for 2017
1) Victim Out of Sight of Shooter
2) Shooter Failed to Identify Target
3) (tie) Victim Covered by Shooter Swinging on Game / Careless Handling of Firearm / Trigger Caught on Object

Fitzgerald also reminds hunters to review the current Hunting Regulations for the specie you are hunting. You are responsible for knowing the law. "There are always new, or different, regulations from previous years."