Hunting Safety Tips

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Thursday a 32-year-old Greenwood man hunting just south of Sneads fell nearly 20 feet from a tree stand, breaking his neck upon impact. Paramedics pronounced him dead at the scene.

Three days later, another hunting accident occurred, this time in Youngstown where a 22-caliber bullet pierced a window, just feet away from a child's computer desk.

Accidents like these have some people concerned about their safety. But one sporting goods store owner says hunting is actually very safe.

"It’s one of the safest sports you can participate in. But if you're not careful, as any other sport you can get hurt," says owner of C&G Sporting Goods Ronnie Groom.

His number one tip is, if you are in a tree stand, wear a safety harness.

"It’s like seat belts in cars. A lot of people won't do it, you know, they don't realize how important it is," says Groom.

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission has a tip they say is equally important: know what you're shooting at.

"People need to make sure and identify their target. Never fire at something when you don't know what's beyond your target," says Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission information officer Stan Kirkland.

Kirkland says accidents can be avoided by following a few simple rules. First, identify your target. Never fire at something when you don't know what's beyond it. Second, always wear hunter orange. Florida law requires hunters wear the color on public land. Third, wear a safety harness. Using restraining devices can help prevent injuries. And finally, keep your gear up to speed.

The FWC offers hunting safety courses year round. The regular gun season begins on December 9.