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New Law: No Names in Hunting Accident Reports
Both the House and Senate in Mississippi have passed a bill that will affect how hunting accident investigations are handled in the future. The key provision is that the names of parties involved in any accident (even those that involve death) will not be released to the public.
The reasoning for the language is to prevent frivolous lawsuits, according to officials at the Department of Wildlife, Fisheries and Parks. Apparently, Mississippi has a problem with trial lawyers soliciting clients through the public information available in the reports. Though this procedure is new for hunting, it is standard in Mississippi for boating and auto accidents.
Also included in the bill are restrictions on alcohol consumption while hunting. A hunter involved in an accident may be tested for drunkenness. If he shows a .08 blood alcohol level he will lose his license for two years. If he refuses to take a Breathalyzer then the license suspension is four years. What's surprising, though, is that Mississippi isn't requiring hunters to be Sunday-morning sober. Wildlife officers should remember that it takes some work to get to .08.