Texas Hunter Education Mentors Encourage Hunter Safety Awareness

Hunting season is in full swing and as more hunters march into the woods to gather wild game, safety educators are encouraging hunters to be careful.

"We want students to be responsible and ethical," said Donnie Kee, the Lufkin Area Chief for the Texas Hunter Education Program East Texas. "Those are two major areas that we like to teach is hunting ethics and responsibility along with firearm safety."

Kee has been teaching hunter safety courses for the past twenty years.

"Well, I wanted to find some way to give back to the community and I always enjoyed hunting and being outdoors so I just knew about the hunter education program and said this is something I would like to do," Kee said.

His job is educating hunters on how to prevent careless handling mistakes.

"Obviously the first thing that we want to do is to make everyone safe with a firearm so that the first thing people should do when they get a firearm in their hands is to check if it's loaded. That's the very first thing," Kee said.

According to the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, hunting accidents have fallen from 25 to 23 a year since 2011. Also, more than 3,000 volunteer hunter education instructors have trained 43,645 hunters across the state.

"I would like to think that hunter education--making people aware of the dangers of firearms and how to be safe with them has helped," Kee said.

Kee says accidents can still happen, but the best option for anyone who is afraid their gun might go off is to control the muzzle.

"If you control the muzzle and point it in a safe direction, if the gun does go off then hopefully no one is going to be injured," Kee said.

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