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Lincoln, Neb. – Nebraskas 2003 grouse hunting season opens this weekend and Nebraska Hunter Education Coordinator Mike Streeter urges hunters to be careful in the field this year.

“Though it isnt required by law for upland hunting, grouse hunters should wear hunter orange on their head, chest and back to inform others of their presence in the field,” he said.

There has already been one hunting accident. “During the first week of dove season a hunter shot at a dove not knowing another hunter was near-by and in the direct line of fire. Luckily the victim did not sustain serious injuries and will recover from his wounds.”

Streeter said hunters must always think before they shoot. He advises hunters to identify their safe zone of fire by knowing where other hunters, buildings, vehicles and livestock are before they shoot, then to restrict themselves to shooting only within that safe zone.

“Another common cause of accidents is the hunter shooting at a target when he doesnt know, or is unable to see what is beyond it. Remember, that shot will travel over a hill or into and through brush and tall grass/weeds,” he said. “A load of 6s fired from a shotgun will travel over 300 yards. If another person is hidden beyond a hill or other obstruction they may still be injured. If you are in doubt about what is behind what you are shooting at, do not shoot.

Streeter also cautions hunters to unload their guns when they leave the field. “Never have a loaded firearm in a gun case, a vehicle, or the home,” he said.

Being a safe hunter includes being careful not to start a fire. “Fire danger is extreme this year,” Streeter said. “Hunters should exercise caution when driving in the fields and should be very careful with smoking materials. Those abundant rains we received last spring have left a bumper crop of tinder-dry grass in the fields.”

“Above all, be careful out there - because safe hunting is no accident,” he said.




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