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Hunting safety in crosshairs after accident in Cortland County

Hunting safety is in the cross hairs after a Cortland County man was rushed to the hospital after a weekend hunting accident. He was treated and released. On Wednesday, Fox 40 took a look at how hunters can stay safe while tracking their game.

Most hunters don't leave home without their gun, ammo and binoculars. But safety practices are something you can't afford to forget -- especially when it comes to your firearm.

"The high points of firearm safety is to treat every weapon as if it was loaded, because it may be," Lt. Rick Warner, of the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, said.

"Always keep the muzzle pointed in a safe direction. Keep your gun on safe mode, and your finger off the trigger, until you're ready to fire," Harting said.

"I hear a lot of people, they're walking through the woods, and they trip, fall and their firearm goes off," Lt. Ben Harting, of the Broome County Sheriff's Office, said. "Or, they're loading it outside their vehicle and the firearm goes off. That's all gun safety rules that they're failing."

Also, know your target before you pull the trigger.

"Many times, when you're questioning somebody that's been involved in one of these incidents, the first thing they say is that they thought they saw a dear," Warner said. "When people say that, that's a mistake right away. If you don't know that what you're shooting at is a proper target, then you shouldn't be shooting," Warner said.

Identify not only your target -- but anything in the path of your weapon.

"If you're aiming at a deer and you're going to shoot, what's beyond the deer?" Harting said. "Is there another hunter back there?"

Sporting the right attire while hunting deer could save your life. You may think a full camoflouge suit is your best bet -- but for the sake of hunting safely, there's actually nothing worse you could be wearing.

"My recommendation, which i do myself, and with my children that go with me, is to wear as much orange as possible," Harting said. "It's not going to affect the animal, but it's other hunters that I want to be able to see me."