Give the gift of safety reminders in 2020

An article from WWA’s Words From The Wardens.

This article originally appeared in Wisconsin Waterfowl Association’s January 2020 eNewsletter.

By WDNR Chief Warden Todd Schaller

The Bureau of Law Enforcement has partnered with WWA since April 2018 in having monthly articles in the WWA Newsletter.  We appreciated that partnership in 2018. And, we appreciate today each month the opportunity to share our message with you and hope the members also find it of value.

We’ve covered a variety to topics (waterfowl ID, boat safety, firearm safety, rules/regulations, etc.). These are the topics we thought WWA members would like to read about.  However, as we head into 2020, we want to hear from YOU – the members — on topics or items you’d like covered.  Please contact Joanne Haas with your ideas and we’ll gladly cover the topics.

As an avid waterfowler I enjoy hearing the countless theories about what the birds are doing, going to do or have done – especially as it relates to some hunters having limited success while others are having success.  I was at “duck camp” in North Dakota weeks ago and the theories were certainly flying around the evening dinner table, unlike the birds flying around the pothole and grain fields.

On my return, which was before the gun-deer season, I was discussing the number of hunting-related incidents we had that far into the 2019 hunting season ( ).  Unlike  “where are the bird theories at duck camp,” WDNR has years of data to say why hunting incidents happen. It all comes down to everyone knowing and implementing the four rules of firearm safety – TAB-K. These four points are the cornerstone of firearm safety regardless of when a firearm is being handled – afield, at home, or on the target range.

T – Treat Every firearm as if it is loaded

A – Always point the muzzle in a safe direction

B – Be certain of your target and what’s beyond

K – Keep your finger outside the trigger guard until ready to shoot

We all know one incident is too many, and every incident is preventable.  So, during the duck camp and any hunt camp discussions, please include a reminder to your hunting partners about firearm safety and, more importantly, practice TAB-K.  Safe hunting is no accident, to learn more about hunting safety visit

Happy New Year!

Chief Schaller will be concluding his warden career with 2019. Here is a photo of the chief before he was chief, a captain working with youth at a National Archery in the Schools Program. Congratulations, Chief Schaller, on a career of public service and a job very well done. Good luck on all those waterfowl hunts you’ll be planning!