No injuries sustained in accidental firearm discharge at a hunter education class in Rawlins

    The Wyoming Game and Fish Department reports that no injuries were sustained during the accidental discharge of a firearm in a hunter education class on Jan. 28 in Rawlins. Students were present and on break while instructors were preparing firearms for the hands-on portion of the class when the discharge occurred. Game and Fish is working to finalize its report on the incident. 

    “We are very thankful that no one was injured,” said George Oberstadt, hunter education coordinator for Game and Fish. 

    The incident occured Monday evening, Jan. 28, at the Department of Corrections Training Facility in Rawlins. The certified volunteer hunter education instructors were preparing the firearms at the side of the classroom when the discharge occurred. 


    Game and Fish protocol requires hunter education instructors to notify the Game and Fish hunter education coordinator in the event of an incident which then sets into motion a review of the incident, filing of reports and appropriate action as outlined in policy and procedures. 

    Game and Fish has procedures outlined in the instructor handbook related to firearm handling both before and while firearms are present in the classroom. These include: 

    “All firearms, inert or firing, must be handled with the utmost care. Procedures should include:

    • Verify the firearm is unloaded and cased prior to entering a classroom.
    • When setting up a classroom activity, the coordinating instructor must verify that all firearms are unloaded.
    • A second instructor, or experienced volunteer, must also verify that the firearms are unloaded.
    • Bore safety flags should be used to indicate that the firearm is safe; bore safety flags may be removed but must be in place during any handling by students.
    • The coordinating instructor must also verify that there is NO live ammunition in the class, unless live-fire activities are being conducted.
    • The coordinating instructor will keep a log of each firearm brought into class and the appropriate ownership.
    • Students are not allowed to bring their own firearms or ammunition into class.”

    “Our primary goal with hunter education is to teach safe firearm handling to prevent hunting accidents,” Oberstadt said. “There are stringent protocols in place for firearm handling in hunter education classrooms to ensure safety.”


    A complete review of the incident is ongoing and will result in appropriate action per department protocols and policies.


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