Hunters – be aware of target safety around power equipment

SP000983Be aware of what’s behind that big buck, or it might cost big bucks!

Across the U.S., ­thousands of ­dollars per year are spent repairing equipment and power lines that have been struck by a stray bullet. Not-for-profit cooperatives, owned by the members, all share in the expense.

This doesn’t even include the ­inconvenience, damages and ­hazards to members down the line who require power for medical equipment or other needs while a lineman does some ­hunting of his own to locate the problem.

Hunters and other gun-owners should not shoot near or toward power lines, power poles and ­substations. A stray bullet can cause damage to ­equipment, could be deadly to the shooter, and potentially interrupt electric service to large areas.

Sometimes the damage isn’t noticed for several weeks or months, and is only discovered when an unexplained outage occurs.

Landowners are also encouraged to take note of nonmembers who are hunting on their property, and remind them to be aware of power lines.

Hunting safety tips:

• Do not shoot at or near power lines or insulators.

• Familiarize yourself with the ­location of power lines and equipment on land where you shoot.

• Damage to the conductor can ­happen, possibly dropping a phase on the ground. If it’s dry and the elec­tricity goes to ground, there is the possibility of electrocution and wildfire.

• Be especially careful in wooded areas where power lines may not be as visible.

• Do not use power line wood poles or towers to support equipment used in your shooting activity.

• Take notice of warning signs and keep clear of electrical equipment.

• Do not place deer stands on ­utility poles or climb poles. Energized lines and equipment on the poles can ­conduct electricity to anyone who comes in contact with them, causing shock or electrocution.

• Do not shoot at, or near, birds perching on utility lines. That goes for any type of firearm, including pistols, rifles or shotguns.

• Do not place decoys on power lines or other utility equipment. Anything attached to a pole, except ­utility ­equipment, can pose an obstruction — and a ­serious hazard to electric ­cooperative employees as they ­perform utility operations.

• Avoid the use of ­lofting poles near overhead power lines — ­remember, ­electricity can jump across a ­considerable distance.

The majority of hunters practice safe hunting and understand the potential risks when discharging a firearm. We encourage ­experienced hunters who are familiar with the area
to identify the ­locations of ­utility ­properties and equipment to young or new ­hunters in their group and remind them to avoid shooting toward these ­facilities. Enjoy the great outdoors. Just be sure to hunt only what’s in season.

During hunting season, please remember that ­electrical ­insulators, ­conductors and electrical equipment are NOT on the hunting season list.