Be aware of what’s behind that big buck or it might cost big bucks.

Your electric co-op’s time and money are spent every year repairing equipment and power lines that have been struck by a stray bullet. As a not-for-profit cooperative, owned by the members, we all share in this expense.

This doesn’t even include the inconvenience, damages, and hazards to members down the line that require power for medical equipment or other needs, while a lineman does some hunting of his own looking at spans of line trying to locate the problem.

Hunters and other gun-owners should be cautious not to shoot near or toward power lines, power poles, and substations. A stray bullet can cause damage to equipment, could be deadly to the shooter, and potentially interrupt electric service to large areas.

Sometimes the damage isn’t noticed for several weeks or months and is only discovered when an
unexplained outage occurs.

Landowners are also encouraged to take note of nonmembers who are hunting on their property and remind them to be aware of power lines.

Shooting near overhead power lines or insulators can result in severe injury or death.

The main safety points to remember are:
• Do not shoot at or near power lines or insulators.
• Familiarize yourself with the location of power lines and equipment on land where you shoot.
• Damage to the conductor can happen, possibly dropping a phase on the ground. If it’s dry and the electricity goes to ground, there is the possibility of electrocution and wildfire.
• Be especially careful in wooded areas where power lines may not be as visible.
• Do not use power line wood poles or towers to support equipment used in your shooting activity.
• Take notice of warning signs and keep clear of electrical equipment.
• Do not place deer stands on utility poles or climb poles. Energized lines and equipment on the poles can conduct electricity to anyone who comes in contact with them, causing shock or electrocution.
• Do not shoot at, or near, birds perching on utility lines. That goes for any firearm, including pistols, rifles or shotguns.
• Do not place decoys on power lines or other utility equipment. Anything attached to a pole besides utility equipment can pose an obstruction—and a serious hazard—to electric cooperative employees as they perform utility operations.
• Avoid the use of lofting poles near overhead power lines. Remember, electricity can jump across a considerable distance.