Call for gun safety after Kerang shooting

UPDATE 2PM: POLICE and Bendigo shooting enthusiasts have called for caution after a woman was shot in the stomach while spotlighting near Kerang.

Police say the woman received the gunshot wound about 11.30pm last night; she was sitting in a vehicle with two loaded rifles when one discharged.

Sporting Shooters Association Bendigo president Vic Alexander said it was unfortunate the incident had occurred, especially when a compulsory safety course for anyone using a firearm had reduced incidents by 87 per cent. 

The course was introduced in 1996.

"If shooters are careful and follow all safety rules, spotlighting is a safe pass time," Mr Alexander said. 

"There's probably 100 hunters out in the Bendigo area alone spotlighting every night with no incidents. 

"We just encourage people to stay safe and responsible."

He said the two major dangers while spotlighting were the lack of vision at night and not being able to see around the target. 

"With knowledge and understanding of these dangers though, people should avoid any accidents."

Andrew Campbell from Hartley's Hunting and Fishing firearms division backed her message, saying safety was paramount at all times. 

UPDATE 11AM: A WOMAN remains in a serious but stable condition after being shot in the stomach in a farm spotlighting incident near Kerang.

Kerang police said the 22 year-old woman was spotlighting with friends when she received the gunshot wound about 11.30pm last night. 

Acting Sergeant Roberta Barry said the woman was sitting in a vehicle with two loaded rifles when one went off as another passenger got in.

"The firearm has discharged accidentally and it really is a very unfortunate accident to have occurred," acting Sergeant Barry said. 

The woman, an American tourist on an extended stay, was flown to The Alfred hospital and remains in a serious but stable condition. 

Acting Sergeant Barry said it was unlike anything she had seen in the region in the last decade. 

"Years ago these type of incidents occurred frequently but they very rarely occur now," she said. 

"I can't even remember the last time something similar has happened - it'd be the first one for at least the last 10 years."

She said it reinforced the message to be vigilant around firearms. 

"It's a warm time of the year and people are more likely to be out spotlighting with an increase of foxes and rabbits around," she said. 

"Everyone just has to be aware of how to correctly store firearms, as well as the handling of them. 

"This is the case when you're out, and while moving around in a vehicle.

"They must be in an absolutely safe position because this just shows what can happen."

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