Local News

Despite Law, Many Hunters Don't Take Safety Classes

Posted February 15, 2006

— When it comes to hunting, Frank Grainger has seen his share of close calls. While safety is second nature for him, he understands how the hunting accident involving the Vice President could happen.

"I've been plenty of places where people have been shot like this," said Grainger.

Grainger goes quail hunting about two or three times a month. He said blaze orange is a required layer of protective clothing.

"All you're trying to do is see your fellow hunters and your fellow hunters see you," he said.

On average, North Carolina records about 40 hunting-related accidents a year. But last year, the number more than doubled. A startling 71 percent of accident victims did not go through a hunter education course, according to the North Carolina Wildlife Commission.

Chris Huebner is a State Wildlife Enforcement officer. He said part of the problem is that hunter safety courses weren't required until 1991.

"So, we've only had 15 years where if you didn't have a license prior to July 1991, where now you have to take hunter education courses to get one," said Huebner.

For avid hunters like Grainger, a safety course is time and money that could save lives.

"Anytime you got a firearm in your hand, safety is paramount," said Grainger.

Grainger plans to go off on a quail hunting trip this weekend. He said he prefers to hunt with one other person, but no more than two. And they all must stay on his right side, since his left eye was knocked out with a BB gun when he was a little boy. That's another reason safety is a priority when he hunts.

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