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Oklahoma Department of Wildlife urges caution when using AR-15 to hunt

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OKLAHOMA CITY - A tragic accident lands an Oklahoma hunter in the ICU.

Hunter Scales was sitting in a deer stand in Southern Oklahoma last weekend when his semi automatic rifle went off twice, hitting him in the stomach and thigh.

He'd forgotten to make sure the gun was on safety.

Hunter's family says he fell nearly 25 feet from the stand. Thankfully, his brother was nearby and called 911.

He's still recovering tonight in a Tulsa hospital.

Captain Wade Farrar with the Oklahoma Department Of Wildlife says many people use these types of firearms to hunt animals like hogs or deer.

"It is becoming more common. We've taken the magazine restriction off of the 22 caliber versions of the assault rifles and that's making it a lot more common for kids and things like that to hunt with," Capt. Farrar said.

He says although the AR- Rifles are lightweight, they have a lot more parts than other rifles.

"Hunting with an AR-Rifle is more complicated. There's a lot more moving parts. It does have a safety that is very easy to use. You have to flip a lever. It points towards fire when it's off of safety and safe when its on safety."

Farrar doesn't think semi-automatic rifles are any more dangerous than other weapons, but he admits this type of rifle is still pretty powerful.

"The only way a semi-automatic rifle would be any more dangerous to hunt with than a bolt action rifle or a more conventional type of hunting rifle, it`s that every time you pull the trigger, if there`s ammunition in it, the gun is going to fire."

He encourages anyone who wants to use an AR-15 to get proper training.

Better to be safe than sorry since accidents can happen to even the most seasoned hunter.

"No matter how long you've been around guns, no matter how familiar you are with them, you have to be cautious every moment that you`re out there hunting."

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