The 2011 hunting season tied the 2009 season for being the safest hunting season ever recorded in the State of New York. The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (NYSDEC) records the number of hunting-related shooting accidents, and compares them on a year-to-year basis.
In the 2011 hunting seasons, 26 people were reported injured after hunting-related shooting accidents, four of which resulted in fatalities. The four fatalities occurred during regular deer season, one being self-inflicted.
How does this stack up to past years? Read on..
As the number of hunters in New York State declines, the number of hunting accidents does too. However, the accident rate among hunters is dropping at a much faster rate. The number of hunters has declined about 20 percent since the 1960s, while the accident rate has dropped more than 70 percent.
There was an average of 19 accidents for every 100,000 hunters in the ’60s. Today, the five-year average shows that this rate has dropped to 5.3.
First-time hunters in NYS are required to take a hunter safety course before they are permitted to buy a hunting license. The course is taught by NYSDEC’s trained instructors, and requires a minimum of 10 hours of instruction. Students must complete the course, and pass the final exam to be eligible for a hunting license.
Hunting today is safer than ever, but accidents do still happen. Most hunting accidents are the result of carelessness, and can easily be prevented. Keep these tips in mind while hunting, and anytime that you are handling firearms:
- Treat every firearm as if it were loaded
- Keep the muzzle pointed in a safe direction
- Identify your target, and what lies beyond it
- Keep your finger off the trigger until ready to fire
Many hunters today wear blaze orange clothing or accessories, as it can be seen from a distance and is not a color typically found in nature.
It looks like a more safety-conscious generation of hunters are out enjoying the New York State back-country today. This is comforting news, and hopefully encourages more people to take care when handling firearms in the wilderness.