As hunting season is now in full swing, it’s an important time to review the Big Four of hunter safety.

Following an unfortunate incident in Nevada, the state took a look at the hunting accident fatalities over the years and what they found was a steep decrease from when they began hunter education courses, according to a report by the Reno Gazette Journal.

The tragic accident in Elko County, Nevada occurred when two friends were out hunting and one of them placed a loaded gun in the back seat and it suddenly discharged. The shooting was ruled an accident. Since it was first hunting-related firearm fatality since 1997, state officials took a closer look at historic records. 

The Nevada Department of Wildlife created a spreadsheet of firearm deaths over the past 60 years. Out of 64,000 hunting licenses since 1955 here have been just 26 hunting related fatalities. There were 20 firearm fatalities in the 26 years from 1955 to 1981. But for the next 25 years there were be just six.

The reason for the sharp decrease, experts say, is that in 1959 the state of Nevada, as did many other states around that time, instituted mandatory hunter education courses.

A review of the brief descriptions of each fatal accident since the 1950s reveals some horrifying scenarios. In 13 cases, accidents involving mishandling, nine around  a moving vehicle. These stories sadly demonstrate how important some simple safety precautions can be. In hunter safety parlance, they are called the Big Four.

1.       Assume every firearm is loaded unless verified by yourself.

2.       Keep your finger off the trigger at all times until prepared to shoot.

3.       Never point a weapon at anything unless you are prepared to shoot

4.       Do not transport a loaded firearm in a moving vehicle.