Unload Your Guns
Many years ago. a group of my friends and I went Rabbit hunting near the South Central California towns of Taft and Maricopa at the southern end of the San Joaquin Valley where there are some Texas-sized Jack Rabbits. There were six or seven of us that frequently hunted together, and another four guys we knew joined us a little later in the morning. We had never hunted with this new group before, and they seemed to be less experienced than our group. The area we were hunting in had rolling hills that slowly rose in elevation, and we walked two or three hours going up one small hill after another. About this time, we could no longer see our vehicles but knew about where they were.
One hunter from the second group decided to go back and bring their car up so they wouldn’t have so far to walk later and returned some time later with their car. The passenger side windshield was gone; the rest of the windshield was badly cracked; and the back seat and some of the front seat were destroyed. The passenger side dashboard and some of the metalwork was also damaged. He had been hunting with a shotgun. When he got to his car, he had opened the trunk and put his shotgun in, closed the trunk and got in. A few yards later he hit a bump and the shotgun fired. He had not unloaded it before placing the shotgun in the trunk. Luckily, he was alone.
I try to remind all of my students to make sure their shotguns are unloaded before placing them into their vehicles, to check them as soon as they take them from storage, etc.—to not trust their memories but to always check the gun. Shooting accidents seem to always happen with so-called ‘unloaded guns’. It just takes a few seconds to make sure your gun is unloaded.
Barry Hartmann is an NSSA Master Level and NRA Certified shotgun instructor who can help you improve your skills at American Skeet and wingshooting. To contact Barry, email him at firstname.lastname@example.org or give him a call at (918)803-2393.