Hunting accidents preventable

Published 9:05 am Wednesday, January 15, 2014

This past weekend two hunters lost their lives in tragic accidents.

James Raymond Landers, III., 50, was shot just after 6:30 a.m. on Sunday as he was getting into his tree stand off Coven Abbett Highway in the Piney Woods area near Lake Martin. Police say Landers was shot with a .30-06 hunting rifle in his lower back.

Adam Scott Jordan, 37, from Arab, was shot around 4:30 p.m. on Sunday while hunting with friends.

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Neither man was wearing the required 144 square inches of blaze orange clothing.

Both incidents are still under investigation.

There are details about each accident that remain unclear.

What is clear is that there were things that could have been done to prevent these accidents.

What’s also clear is that this can happen anywhere and to anyone.

That doesn’t mean we can’t all go about our business and enjoy hunting.

We can.

The number of hunting accidents in Alabama is relatively small given the number of hunters throughout the state.

This year, there have been five fatal accidents, four of which included a firearm. In the State of Alabama, there are 256,099 licensed hunters.

While the number of fatal hunting accidents is small, it’s not small enough. Zero is achievable.

The Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources offers these tips for safe hunting:

  • Keep the muzzle of your gun pointed in a safe direction at all times.
  • Treat every firearm with the respect due a loaded gun.
  • Be sure of your target and what is in front of it and beyond it.
  • Keep your finger outside the trigger guard until ready to shoot.
  • Wear a blaze orange cap or vest. All hunters during gun deer season must wear a vest or cap with at least 144 square inches of solid hunter orange, visible from all sides. Deer hunters in tree stands elevated more than 12 feet from the ground need not wear hunter orange, except when traveling to and from tree stands. Only hunter orange, blaze orange or ten mile cloth is legal. If you’re hunting from a ground blind, it’s a good idea place something orange somewhere in the vicinity so other hunters are made aware of your hideout. The idea is to minimize the risk of not being seen to the greatest extent possible.

Deer hunting is important to many in Alabama, and to many folks right here in Butler County. To those folks, we say, happy hunting. Let’s just make sure we’re being safe out there.