With the excitement of dove season’s arrival, many are looking to fill their hunting bags and freezers. MidSouth Electric Cooperative wants to keep its members informed regarding the dangers of hunting near overhead lines.
Doves often perch on high lines to take a break from flying, scout fields for food and congregate in preparation for migration. While these feathered line dwellers make for enticing targets, the risk of damaging electric and fiber-optic equipment, as well as causing harm to the environment, is far greater than the reward of bagging one more bird.
Electricity and internet access are essential cornerstones to our fast-paced world. Every year, homes and businesses are cut off from these essentials as shotgun pellets collide with electric and fiber cables. The interference hinders communications, causes food to spoil and interrupts essential medical devices, and the damage has the potential to contaminate water. When lines are severed or weakened from a shot, they may sag or break, becoming a hazard to people and animals.
Line damage can also discharge electricity and ignite fires, potentially devastating the environment and infrastructure.
Lineworkers report some hunters attempt to use high lines to set bird decoys. This is an extremely dangerous tactic as contact with power lines can cause serious or even fatal injury.
Although electric wires may appear harmless when birds sit atop them safely, we humans are unable to reach those same lines without having connection to the ground. It is that connection to the ground—by ladder, tree, truck bed or the like—that makes the human body a conductor for the voltage coursing through electric cables.
MidSouth EC encourages you to be considerate of neighbors and mindful of your own safety before hunting near overhead lines and leaving the area without power or internet. Do your due diligence: Scout the area and direction in which you plan to aim your gun. The risks to property and life are far greater than the reward of fowl targets.