Archive for Sunday, November 27, 2005

Firearms hunt accidents rare

Risk of injury or death less than in many sports

November 27, 2005


While hunting, especially firearms deer hunting, may seem dangerous, the risk of injury or death is much less than many sports and daily activities in modern life.

"Hunting has an extremely low risk and accident rate," said Mike Britt, an expert witness, consultant and forensic scientist for InterCity Testing and Consulting in New York.

"When you're (firearms) hunting for deer you're not subject to the stresses you would while playing tennis or swimming.

"Hunting is very relaxing. Everything is slow and methodical. You're not pushing yourself to the limit."

While deer hunters do get injured and are killed every deer season, it's often from activities related to hunting, not from actual bullet wounds. In rare instances do stray bullets kill or wound people not in the field.

Consider the statistics on hunter incidents (accidents) in the field in Kentucky for 2004.

"There were 11 hunter incidents and three were fatal," said Kentucky official Jay Webb. "Two of the deaths were attributed to heart attacks and the other was a self-inflicted wound which involved a treestand."

So far this deer season, 69 days into the 135-day archery season, and including weekend muzzleloader and youth firearms hunts, there have been seven hunter incidents, two involving treestands, one of which was fatal, Webb said.

Deer hunter incidents typically include falling from treestands, accidental shootings or mistaken-for-game mishaps, when hunters don't wear orange clothing.

The negligent or careless handling of firearms in camp, or riding on all-terrain vehicles or in trucks with loaded firearms, have also been cited as the reasons for injuries and deaths in recent years in Kentucky.

But the National Safety Council reported the number of unintentional firearms-related fatalities, which include hunting, is the lowest in the history of record keeping, which dates to 1903.


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