2005 Record Low Year for Hunting Incidents

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During the 2005 hunting seasons Nebraska recorded the lowest number of hunting-related shooting incidents without a fatality in 13 years, according to Mike Streeter, Nebraska’s hunter education coordinator.

“The last time Nebraska experienced a safety record like this was in 1992,” Streeter said. “Prior to 1992, Nebraska had never had a year without fatalities and this low a number of incidents.”

In 2005 there were eight hunting related incidents reported to the Game and Parks Commission which resulted in a hunter being injured. Only six of those involved the discharge of a firearm. Of the remaining two incidents, one involved a bowhunter who was severely injured when he fell from a tree while moving a tree stand, and in the other, an upland bird hunter died of an apparent heart attack while hunting. His dog led other hunters to his master’s body.

Of the six incidents involving the discharge of a firearm, only two involved one hunter shooting another. The remaining four incidents occurred when the hunters accidentally shot themselves. Of the six, three of the incidents involved a rifle, two involved a shotgun and one was a muzzleloader accident.

Hunters ages 10-19 years were most likely to be involved in a hunting incident and, as usual, the most common cause of incidents was careless handling of a firearm.

“All of the incidents would have been prevented if the people involved had followed the safety rules taught during every hunter and bow hunter education class,” Streeter said. “Even though there are a few accidents each year, the hunter education classes are making a huge difference in Nebraska. The knowledge and skills passed on by dedicated volunteer instructors save lives.”

Streeter said every year he hopes no one is injured or killed while hunting, and a record low year like 2005 is worth celebrating. He congratulates all Nebraska hunters on their diligence and adherence to the rules of safety. Nationwide, hunting is one of the safest sports in which a citizen can participate. It has one of the lowest injury rates of all sports per 100,000 participants.

“The total number of people who hunted in Nebraska during 2005 is not available yet, but generally it is 130,000 -150,000 people. With that in mind, only .00005 percent to .00006 percent of the total number involved in hunting are ever involved in a hunting incident where someone is injured or killed,” Streeter said. “But everyone should remember hunting is conducted with extremely dangerous tools and they must always follow the rules of firearm safety. It really is true that safe hunting is no accident.”