The Kansas Department of Wildlife and Parks (KDWP) reports that the 2009 hunting seasons were the safest on record. Hunters reported 12 hunting accidents — and no fatalities. This is a decrease of four accidents from the previous year and one below the previous record low of 13.
"This is an incredibly small number considering that approximately 271,000 hunters spent more about 3.5 million hunter-days afield throughout the season," says Wayne Doyle, KDWP statewide hunter education coordinator. "And this is the first year that swinging on game was not the number-one cause of accidents; careless handling received that dubious 'honor'."
The total accidents included eight careless handling of firearms and four swinging on game. Two other accidents were reported when a treestand collapsed and when a hunter fell while setting up a treestand. Neither victim was wearing fall restraint gear. (Treestand data is kept separately because there is no requirement to report them.)
"As always, all of these incidents were preventable," says Doyle. "If the basic rules of gun handling had been observed, no one would have been hurt. If fall restraint systems had been used, neither treestand incident would have resulted in injury.
"But I salute the 1,300 volunteer hunter education instructors who give more than 20,000 hours of effort each year. Their efforts, along with countless hours by KDWP staff, made another record low possible."
Hunter education courses are offered throughout the state, primarily in summer and prior to fall hunting seasons, as well as prior to spring turkey season. For information on hunter education and course offerings, go to the KDWP website, www.kdwp.state.ks.us . Then click "Hunting/Hunter Education."