Goshen News, Goshen, IN

October 6, 2012

Hunters need to put their safety first


— What happened was no less sad for being all too familiar.

Last Sunday a hunting trip proved fatal for 28-year-old Kenneth Moore of Rochester. He was deer hunting with friends — two adults and a 12-year-old — on private property west of Rochester.

According to state Department of Natural Resources officers, the hunting party split into two groups. Moore and the 12-year-old were making their way along a corn field when an adult hunter from the other group fatally shot Moore.

A man’s life was cut short Sunday. That would be tragic enough, but the episode is more wrenching because Moore’s death was no anomaly. It was also preventable.

Hunting season is here, and too often in this region it’s marked by lethal or injurious misadventures. Some may place the blame on the practice of hunting. This newspaper does not.

Many people find hunting objectionable, and that’s fine. However, those same people would do well to reflect on their recent meals. The News finds nothing wrong with carnivores killing their own protein sources rather than outsourcing the task. We also think hunting can serve as an outdoor pastime enjoyed by families as a bonding experience.

Count us as a fan of hunting, when it’s done safely.

Circa 2012, hunting is a sport rather than a survival necessity. Yet it differs from, say, basketball in that deadly weapons are involved. As such, it requires more caution and care than a lay-up.

In the aftermath of Moore’s death, the DNR reiterated several gems of advice for the hunting community. Among them: Treat every firearm as if it’s loaded, and always keep the muzzle pointed in a safe direction. Hunters should also keep fingers off triggers and outside trigger guards until they’re ready to shoot.

Most importantly, they should always positively ID the target before firing. It’s also a good idea to know what’s beyond the quarry; alas, sometimes hunters miss.

Adults teaching young hunters-to-be must insist on safe conduct, sternly and repeatedly. They should also take stock of it themselves when they take to the field.

Happy hunting. And be careful.