A 26-year-old Illinois man has died after being accidentally shot in the face by a member of his hunting party over the weekend in Iowa. The incident marks the state’s second hunting fatality in just over a month.
Illinois Hunter Killed While Duck Hunting
The Iowa Department of Natural Resources said Seth Egelhoff of Chesterfield, Illinois was fatally shot Saturday afternoon while duck hunting with a group at the Bays Branch Wildlife Area near Panora.
Someone in the hunting party called 911 around 1PM to report Egelhoff had been shot. First responders airlifted him for medical treatment but he died en route, the DNR stated.
Authorities said the shooting appears to be an accident based on initial findings. The investigation remains ongoing with assistance from local law enforcement.
Comes Weeks After Previous Fatality
The duck hunting tragedy comes about a month after 53-year-old Mark Arends of Iowa was killed in a coyote hunting accident on October 16th.
Arends was struck by a single errant rifle shot from a member of his coyote hunting party in Hardin County. Authorities ruled his death accidental as well.
The two recent fatalities underscore the inherent dangers of hunting and the need for strict safety protocols.
DNR Urged Hunters to Review Safety Steps
After October’s coyote hunting death, the Iowa DNR urged all hunters to review fundamental gun safety measures to prevent accidents.
Jamie Cook of the DNR emphasized always treating firearms as if loaded and keeping muzzles pointed in a safe direction. He reminded hunters to be certain of their target and what lies beyond it.
The “Ten Commandments of Firearm Safety” provide a framework all hunters should follow to avoid tragic outcomes.
MN Man Also Shot Last Week in Mishap
The accidents come after a Minnesota man was shot in the leg by a hunting partner on November 15th. Officials said the shooter was checking if his gun was unloaded when he inadvertently fired.
The recent rash of hunting mishaps in Iowa and surrounding states highlights the lethal potential of lapses in gun safety. Conservation experts implore hunters to make safety their top priority.
Hunting Deaths Average 100 Annually in US
Shooting accidents claim around 100 lives annually among America’s over 10 million hunters, according to the International Hunter Education Association.
Experts note complacency and lack of adherence to safety basics tend to be factors in hunting fatalities and injuries. Ensuring proper training and mindset is crucial.
Safety Tips for Hunting Season
- Treat every firearm as if loaded until confirmed otherwise
- Keep muzzle pointed in safe direction, away from people
- Ensure full awareness of target and surroundings
- Wear blaze orange for visibility
- Unload guns when not in active use
- Avoid alcohol consumption before or during hunts
- Verify local regulations and property boundaries
Accidents Can Happen Even Among Experienced Hunters
Authorities noted the Iowa victims were experienced hunters, underscoring the reality that accidental shootings can happen to anyone when protocol lapses occur.
Hunting traditions hold deep importance for many American families. Honoring these outdoor pastimes depends on an unwavering culture of safety and responsibility from all involved.