Near-miss shooting incident confirmed

A "near-miss" incident near Milton on the opening weekend of duck-shooting season has been confirmed by the Otago Fish & Game council.

A health and safety report from the last council meeting in May outlined a incident during game bird ranging on May 4.

Otago Fish & Game chief executive Ian Hadland told the Otago Daily Times a hunter had been asked to unload his firearm during a compliance check with rangers.

"He pointed it in a completely safe direction, but it discharged," Mr Hadland said.

A police spokeswoman confirmed they had received a report of the incident in which "no-one was injured".

Advice from other regions was being sought before any recommendations on policy changes would occur, the report said.

Mr Hadland said he was happy with the safety precautions in place.

"We're pretty happy with how we've mitigated those risks in the past.

"We have plenty of provisions in place."

Council rangers approached mai mais only from the rear during duck-shooting compliance checks and had to be wearing hi-viz clothing, Mr Hadland said.

Mr Hadland said it was a rare occurrence but served as a good reminder - "unless we have a sequence of these incidents".

"If you have three near-misses in a row then you would have to start asking questions.

"It's the first incident during my 25-year career of compliance work."

He said there were potential changes the council could explore.

"We could ask everyone to lay their gun on the floor and tell them all to step away. But we prefer when they have dogs running around to make sure guns are made safe before we make any inquiries."

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