Matt Jansen, a 30-year-old man from Houston, was shot and killed Sunday morning, January 17 by his hunting partner in what has been ruled a tragic hunting accident. The accident occurred on the Salt Bayou Unit of Texas Parks and Wildlife Department’s J.D. Murphree Wildlife Management Area shortly after legal shooting time began Sunday morning. The duck hunting accident was ruled by a Jefferson County Justice of the Peace as not intentional and no charges have been filed.
TPWD game wardens and Wildlife Division staff worked with the Jefferson County sheriff’s office to respond to and investigate the incident. Investigators and staff involved say Jansen’s partner swung on a flock of ducks outside a safe zone of fire. Although the number of hunting incidents is low compared to similar outdoor pursuits, and the rate of hunting accident in Texas continues to decline, swinging on game outside a safe zone of fire remains one of the most common accident causes. Just ask Dick Cheney.
Hunter safety experts say two or more hunters in a stationary blind should establish and communicate their safe zones of fire prior to shooting and stick to their safe zones while shooting. Experts say observation of the “safe zone” rule would eliminate a quarter to a third of all hunting incidents in Texas each year.