Sportsman Education News
2012 Sets a New Record for Safest Year in New York Hunting History
Based on the number of hunting-related shooting incidents, the 2012 hunting seasons set a new record for the safest year of hunting in New York. The season included 24 personal incidents with just over half being self-inflicted. Most unfortunate were two fatalities that occurred during the deer season where the individuals were shot by members of their own hunting group. Incidents involving two or more individuals stress the importance of one of hunting's basic tenets: identifying your target and what lies beyond. There were no hunting-related shooting incidents reported during the first youth hunt for deer that took place this past Columbus Day weekend.
View a detailed summary of the 2012 Hunting Safety Statistics (PDF) (68 KB).
Though the number of hunters is declining in the state, the hunting incident rate (incidents per 100,000 hunters) is falling much faster. Since the 1960s, the number of hunters has declined about 20 percent, while the incident rate has plunged more than 70 percent. The past five-year average is 5.3 incidents per 100,000 hunters, compared to 19 per 100,000 in the 1960s.
Trained instructors certified by DEC teach safe, responsible and ethical outdoors practices and the important role of hunters and trappers in conservation. New York has an extremely safety-conscious generation of hunters, thanks largely to more than 60 years of dedicated efforts of more than 2,500 volunteer Sportsman Education Instructors. All first-time hunters and bowhunters must successfully complete a hunter safety course and pass the final exam before being eligible to purchase a hunting license. All courses are offered free of charge.
Hunting is safer than ever, but we cannot become complacent, as every hunting related shooting incident is preventable. Many, if not all of these incidents could have been prevented, if only the shooter and/or victim had followed the primary rules of Hunter Safety:
- Treat every firearm as if it were loaded
- Keep your muzzle pointed in a safe direction
- Identify your target and what lies beyond
- Keep finger off the trigger until ready to fire
- Wear hunter orange