NZ Firearms & Hunter Education : Real Stories

ReferenceRule 1: treat every firearm as if it is loaded.

Here’s a story that illustrates how faulty assumptions can have serious consequences: 

“Many years ago when I was commercially hunting, I stopped over at a friend’s place in Dunedin. I’d sold him a Mauser action rifle that I’d tuned up some time before. We were sitting in the lounge when I asked him how the rifle was and if he could grab it for me. He handed it to me with the bolt shut, so I asked him if it was loaded. ‘No’ he said, ‘A friend used it with me hunting a couple of weeks ago and I asked him if it was unloaded when we got home. He told me it was.’

I took him at his word and asked him if he liked what I’d done to the trigger, at which point I said I’d try it out. Now, with a Mauser action all that is needed to cock the action is to lift up the bolt handle and put it down, which I did.  I then aimed the ‘empty’ rifle at a spot on the wall and pulled the trigger! You can guess what happened. There was a huge bang, one very irate wife, two white ghosts sitting in the lounge and a hole in the wall. Not a good look.

That rifle had passed through the hands of three hunters and not one of us had bothered to do the first of the 7 basic rules: ‘TREAT every firearm as if it were loaded!’  Not one of us had even bothered to check!”

So, make sure you are the one who asks and inspects the firearm. 

Reference Rule 4: Identify Your Target

“I was hunting in area where there was lots of fresh stag rubs on trees and I expected to see a stag. Suddenly I spotted a bush moving and thinking it was a stag thrashing its antlers, got really excited. Then, to my surprise a guy moved out half bent over from passing under a branch. He was wearing camo gear. When I accosted him I discovered he was way out of his area and trespassing on my block!”

Reference Rule 6: Store Firearms & Ammunition Safely

“Some years ago, on the evening before the start of duck shooting, the Police did a check around a number of rural Southland hotel car parks. They found numbers of vehicles with firearms in them and consequently confiscated them. Not a good start to the duck shooting season for some hunters, but a lesson learned!  An expensive one too!”