Dramatic police video gives warning to deer hunters

A dramatic new video is aiming to educate deer hunters about the dangers of misidentifying targets.

The video is part of a new campaign by the police, and tells the story of a hunter - referred to only by his first name, Ross - who learnt a "very tragic lesson" while on a hunting trip in 2008.

"Ross was shot by his hunting partner after they had agreed not to load their firearms or hunt as they took separate paths through the bush to an allocated meeting point," said Acting Superintendent Mike McIlraith.

Speaking in the video, which also featured an re-enactment of the incident, Ross said it all happened after he separated from his friend in the bush.

After stopping to check for a clearing, Ross raised his rifle to use the scope to get a better view.

It was then he heard a shot fired by his friend.

"Obviously in his mind he saw a deer," Ross said.

"I was hit in the arm. I proceeded to scream out that I was shot, panic set in and hairs stood up in the back of my neck and I realised that I was in a fair bit of strife."

He said he immediately began running down the track where he found his friend around 20 metres away. Because they were around 5 kilometres within the bush he told his friend to go for help.

"He just threw everything to the ground and ran."

Ross said he knew it was important to keep the injury elevated and his heart rate down and used his belt to make a makeshift tourniquet to stop the blood flow.

"My biggest worry was that I would be left there and no one would be able to find me for days."

Around three or four hours later paramedics arrived and he was then carried out of the bush before being airlifted to hospital.

In hindsight the fact his friend had been fatigued from a busy few weeks at work led to him making a bad judgment, Ross said.

Acting Superintendent McIlraith said police hoped by sharing Ross' story other hunters could learn important lessons and stay safe.

"A number of factors led to this tragedy, so it's important that hunters remember the safety basics when heading out this season," he said.

"Plan ahead – take communications devices and a personal locator beacon so if something goes wrong you can get help quickly. Take a first aid kit and make sure you know the basics of first aid – a day's training could make a world of difference, it did for Ross.

"Wear high vis – we can't say this enough. You don't want to become a mistaken target out there. And that leads to the most important point of all – identify your target beyond all doubt."

Acting Superintendent McIlraith said the incident changed both Ross's life and that of his friend forever.

The friend was convicted of careless use of a firearm causing injury, while Ross still suffers from his injuries, he said.