Every year, there’s at least one story in the news about a dog tripping the trigger on a shotgun and killing the dog’s owner, or someone else along on the hunt. The thing is, incidents like this should never happen. There are a number of things you can – and should – do to make sure you’re never the subject of one of these stories.
There is no reason to ever put your loaded gun down on the ground while you’re hunting. Getting that pheasant, elk or turkey is not so important that you should ignore basic gun safety. Whether you’re hunting with friends, out alone with your dog, or if you’re out there by yourself, never put a loaded gun down. Unload it before you set it down.
You’re most likely putting it down to cross a fence or some other obstacle. Because of that, you’re probably in an awkward position when you pick the gun back up, so you want to make sure it cannot fire before you set it down. The easiest way to ensure that is to take the ammo out of it.
Each year, someone gets shot by their dog when they put their gun on the ground or lean it against a fence, then cross to the other side. The excited dog then jumps up or walks across the loaded shotgun, and the next thing you know, it’s a terrible news story.
The most recent case was even more preventable. The guy who was shot had a loaded shotgun in the back seat of his truck, along with his three dogs. One of the dogs slipped off the back seat and got its foot in the trigger guard, and the shotgun fired. Sonny Gilligan survived, but he nearly died on his way to the hospital.
Let that be a lesson to you. Unload your gun before you put it down, and never travel with a loaded gun – whether you have dogs with you or not.