Accident highlights need for gun safety
Sportsmenís Report
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By Bill Hanson  August 14, 2014 10:21 am

The A-zone opener went well, as check stations are reporting the harvest about even with last year. 

One terrible accident in Napa County illustrates the importance of gun safety. One hunter dropped his rifle, it went off and hit another hunter in the group. Without more information, certain questions must be asked. Was the gun safety off? Was the dropper doing something else, like texting? Did one slip or fall? There are so many possibilities it is hard to point the finger at one person. The take-away is this, be prepared at all times for a misfire. Take the safety off only when you are about to shoot. Never keep a round in the chamber unless you are on a stand or walking mostly alone.

If you have to traverse a steep hillside, cross a fence, get on board the jeep or any circumstance in which a misfire might cause injury, eject the round in the chamber as a matter of course. When boarding a vehicle, ask each hunter to show his empty chamber to another hunter and keep the action open during the ride. Over the course of 50 years of hunting, there have been many misfires, (it happens) no one in my group was hurt, ever. We don’t want to send a hunter home to his mother with a hole in him, no matter how it got there.


Rattlesnake avoidance

There was an excellent group in Rohnert Park last Saturday,

Rattlesnake Avoidance Training, manned by a competent team. In just a few minutes, they can teach your dog to avoid rattlesnakes. A dog’s nature is to get close to something and bark. This can lead to a bite in the face or neck and easily become fatal. 

This avoidance training is a good thing. Your trained dog may even save you from a snake bite someday. The dog is closer to the snake than yourself and will know to bark at the danger. John Potash is a licensed reptile specialist who will work with you and has even offered to travel to deer camp to train all the dogs therein. The snakes are not required to take the training. For more information, go to http://GetRattled.Org or call (775) 234-8844. 


Wildfires help mushrooms

The many wildfires have a bright spot when it comes to mushrooms. The spring after a forest fire, the tasty Fire Morel pops up, sometimes by the bucket full. Clip, save or otherwise capture the boundaries of one of the many fires this year and visit them next spring.

Morels are one of the mushrooms that are nearly always in the top five edibles among fungophiles. They seem to have the capacity to store their spore in the tree bark or soil for decades and respond to trauma like fires and logging. Morels can also be found in the spring in and near slash piles, unwanted wood left by logging operations. Some swear that they only come up two years after a fire, some, myself included, find the best time is the spring after a fire the previous summer.


Bill Hanson is a Sonoma County native and a lifelong sportsman. He is the former president of the Sonoma County Mycological Association. Look for his column in The Community Voice each week.

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