Phil Melugin is the founder of Phoenix Home Care and the owner of Pheasant Run Ranch, a private hunting ranch in north central Kansas. On his ranch, Phil Melugin emphasizes safety for hunters, hunting guides, and hunting dogs alike. Here, Phil Melugin answers questions about hunting safety, whether on Pheasant Run Ranch or on any property.
Q: How important is hunting safety?
Phil Melugin: Hunting safety education is very important. Thanks to gun safety education, firearm deaths have dropped significantly since 1989.
Q: How many firearm deaths are there each year?
Phil Melugin: In 2009, there were 600 unintentional firearm deaths, according to the National Safety Council. That is down 60% since 20 years ago, when deaths were at 1,489.
Q: What gun safety rules do you recommend for hunts on your property?
Phil Melugin: It is important that a gun be treated at all times as if it is loaded. Always walk with it pointed toward the ground and engage the safety whenever you are in motion.
Q: Do you recommend certain attire?
Phil Melugin: Blaze orange vests are easy to find and inexpensive to purchase. For extra safety, there are also orange hats, pants, and shirts.
Q: Isn’t the goal for the hunter to blend in with the scenery to avoid being identified by prey?
Phil Melugin: Safety comes first. The more visible a hunter can be, the less chance he or she will end up in the line of fire.
Q: What about gun safety courses?
Phil Melugin: Gun safety and hunting safety courses are readily available and are a great investment if you’re planning to hunt. The more people take these courses, the safer all hunters will be.
Q: It’s not only the safety of the hunters and guides you’re concerned about, right?
Phil Melugin: We have hunting dogs at Pheasant Run Ranch that some of the hunters on our property use. As a rule, we require hunters to shoot horizontally or higher at all times. Shooting toward the ground can put our hunting dogs in danger.
Q: How easy is it for a prey to be mistaken?
Phil Melugin: Very easy. It’s easy to get caught up in the hunt and fire impulsively. I emphasize the importance of carefully identifying a prey before shooting.
Q: Is it important for a novice hunter to hunt with a guide at first?
Phil Melugin: A guide will not only work with a hunter to teach important hunting tips, the guide can also provide these imperative safety tips.
Q: How can someone sign up for a hunt at Pheasant Run?
Phil Melugin: To reserve a space, hunters should call 1-785-476-5736 or visit our website at http://www.pheasantrunranch.net/.
The property at Pheasant Run Ranch offers pheasant, quail, turkey, and deer hunting. Demand is high during peak hunting seasons, so Phil Melugin stresses the importance of booking a hunt far in advance. Overnight accommodations are available for those who need them.