Dove season, as well as youth and disability season for deer, are currently open statewide. With hunters taking to the prairies and woods, the Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism wants to remind hunters of basic safety practices.
Assistant Hunter Education Coordinator for KDWPT Aaron Austin said the “10 Commandments of Firearm Safety” are always good to keep in mind — especially commandment number five: Be sure of your target and what is beyond it before pulling the trigger.
“You can never get a shot back once you pull the trigger,” Austin said. “That’s why we always want to be sure of our target and never shoot at sound or movement.”
For dove hunters, identifying the safe zone of fire, and never shooting at low flying or perched birds is an addition to this rule. Firing at low-flying birds, or swinging out of the safe zone of fire could cause hunters to injure another hunter in the field.
While commandment five focuses on keeping others safe, hunters should also take precautions to protect themselves.
Wearing blaze orange is not required while dove hunting, though it is a state requirement for big game such as deer, and for turkey hunting. However, Austin said making sure to distinguish themselves can keep hunters safe.
“You never want to look like the game you are hunting,” Austin said.
Dove season is open until November 29 — when regular firearm season opens for deer — and muzzleloader and archery seasons open for deer Monday.
The 10 Commandments of Firearm Safety:
1. Treat every gun as if it is loaded.
2. Control the gun muzzle at all times.
3. Guns not in use are to be unloaded and stored with actions open.
4. Be sure the barrel and action are clear of obstructions and that only the proper ammunition is carried with every gun in use.
5. Be sure of your target identification before you pull the trigger, and always know what lies beyond the target.
6. Never point a gun at anything you don't want to shoot.
7. Never climb a fence or tree or cross a ditch or other obstacle with a loaded gun; and never pull a gun toward you by the muzzle.
8. Never shoot at water or a flat, hard surface; and always be sure your backstop is adequate.
9. Store guns and ammunition separately, out of reach of people who are unfamiliar with safe gun handling.
10. Never handle a firearm or operate a vehicle while you are affected by alcohol or drugs.