Shoot first, drink later, police urge duckshooters

Experienced duckshooter Hamish McMillan, of Timaru. Photo by Graeme Stilwell.
Experienced duckshooter Hamish McMillan, of Timaru. Photo by Graeme Stilwell.
Alcohol and firearms are a lethal combination and need to be kept away from each other during duckshooting, Senior Sergeant Steve Gregory, of Gore Police, says.

Last year two people in Eastern Southland were injured during duckshooting, Snr Sgt Gregory said in a statement.
Both had consumed alcohol before the incidents, he said.

In one incident the shooter rested the muzzle of the shotgun on their foot. The gun discharged and a serious injury resulted, he said.

‘‘My advice is to shoot first and drink later. Under the Arms Act people need to conduct themselves in a way that ensures the safe and controlled use of firearms. This means keeping firearms and alcohol completely separate,'' Snr Sgt Gregory said.

Those mixing alcohol and firearms could face a fine of up to $3000 or be imprisoned for three months, Snr Sgt Gregory said earlier this week.

Safety with firearms must be a priority, he said.
‘‘The key messages are always point firearms in a safe direction, do not put your finger on the trigger unless you intend to fire the gun and never rely solely on the safety catch,'' he said.

It was also important people in possession of firearms were appropriately supervised. New shooters who did not hold a current firearm's licence must be under the immediate supervision of a licensed shooter.

This meant that the licensed supervisor must be able to control muzzle direction should this be necessary.

‘‘In most circumstances this means one gun to one licensed shooter and one unlicensed shooter. There must be adequate supervision of the activities and the new shooter in possession of a firearm,'' he said.

In one other incident which occurred in the area last year an unlicensed shooter was badly injured when his shotgun accidentally discharged. His supervisor was 10m away when the incident occurred, he said.

Snr Sgt Gregory said police would team up with rangers to patrol shooting areas during duckshooting season.

Fish & Game New Zealand Southland region resource management officer and field officer Jacob Smyth said earlier this week Fish & Game's main role was compliance and officers would be out in force on opening weekend.

Mr Smyth confirmed that Fish & Game would be teaming up with police to make sure all aspects of safety and compliance were covered.

Duckshooters would have licences and bag limits checked, he said.

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