Safety rules forgotten as duck-hunters shot

Three people were shot at the weekend while hunting ducks (Getty)
Three people were shot at the weekend while hunting ducks (Getty)

Gun safety advocates are "dismayed, frustrated and disappointed" at the mistake-riddled start to the duck-hunting season.

Three people were hospitalised on the very first day on Saturday -- one man was shot in the eye, another in the wrist and a 10-year-old boy in the foot.

Four people were also issued offence notices for hunting without a firearms licence.

Nicole McKee, founder of Firearms Safety Specialists, says people are forgetting basic safety rules.

"I actually wonder whether it's carelessness, whether it's complacency, whether it's people just not paying attention," she told Paul Henry today.

"When we get our firearms licences we have to go through the seven basic rules of firearm safety. These people seem to be just forgetting about those rules when they handle firearms."

But with an estimated 55,000 people out hunting at the weekend, she says three incidents is "pretty good" -- even if all were preventable.

The basic rules for hunters are:

The most commonly ignored is the fifth -- checking your firing zone and considering what will happen if you miss.

"Making sure that you know what's between you and your target, and what's beyond the target, is essential."

A 16-year-old was shot and killed during last year's duck-hunting season, one of four since 1992.