Hunters be sure of your target

Published 10:28 am Saturday, May 1, 2010

What a tragedy at Flag Tail Hunt Club last Saturday, when 61-year-old Alan Rader lost his life after being shot while turkey hunting near the Southampton-Sussex County line.

Unfortunately, it happens all too often.

No doubt it was an accident, although the investigation is continuing. And you can’t help but feel sorry for the 17-year-old who mistook Rader, a Franklin native, for a turkey, and killed him with one shot.

In Virginia, hunters are not required to wear blaze orange when going after turkey. The reason being is turkeys have tremendous eyesight, making the hunter easy to spot.

Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries, however, recommends tying a piece of blaze orange fabric or a ribbon to a nearby tree so another hunter knows you’re around.

That’s what happened with Rader. He didn’t know the 17- year-old boy was hunting nearby and vice-versa.

The key to preventing such tragedies is to always make sure of your target before firing. Get a good look at the animal. It’s easy to get excited when hunting. Listening to the approach of an animal, especially one you’ve been tracking.

Hunters need to control their eagerness and make sure of their target. Once a bullet is fired, you can’t take it back.