Inadvertently pulling the trigger by contact with some object other than the trigger finger

This is probably the cause of more hunting accidents than all the other causes added together. There are numerous recorded cases of twigs snagging on the trigger of loaded shotguns and rifles, and I am sure that many of them are genuine accidents. Less likely are those incidents allegedly involving inquisitive dogs, rabbits twitching in game pockets and even shot pheasants landing on the trigger guard!

Case example: Fingerprint expert inadvertently discharging a shotgun. It would be highly unlikely for the soft touch of a fingerprint dusting brush to have sufficient force to discharge a weapon whilst the trigger was being searched for prints. There was, however, an incident where the fingerprint officer, having found nothing on the trigger, proceeded to use the trigger to steady the weapon whilst dusting the butt stock. Sufficient force was applied to the trigger to discharge one barrel of the shot gun. The shot went straight through the ceiling and into the room above, much to the consternation of the police officers who were searching there for evidence.

Case example: Tractor driver shot by own gun. This involved a farmer who kept his shotgun behind the back seat of his tractor, just in case he saw the odd rabbit. Whilst backing the tractor up to a hedge prior to starting a ploughing run, the gun became entangled in some brambles. On starting forward, one barrel discharged completely removing the back of his head.

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