The 2013 New York hunting season had the lowest number of hunting related shooting incidents on record, a New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) report says.
It credits hunter safety programs with the decline in hunting accidents.
New York’s hunting incident rate (incidents per 100,000 hunters) has fallen by more than 70 percent since the 1960s. The latest five-year average is down to 4.3 incidents per 100,000 hunters, compared to 19 per 100,000 in the 1960s.
Down from 24 in 2012, a total of 19 hunting accidents occurred in 2013, including two fatalities. Fourteen of this year’s accidents where self inflicted. Investigations of all accidents are completed by trained Environmental Conservation Officers.
The findings of these investigations are used to improve New York’s Hunter Education Course to ensure that the most common causes of accidents are addressed and emphasized during instruction.
DEC says that the decline proves that New York has a safety-conscious generation of hunters, thanks to the efforts of more than 2,500 volunteer Sportsman Education Instructors. These trained instructors, who are certified by DEC, teach safe, responsible and ethical outdoor practices and the role of hunters and trappers in conservation. All courses are offered free of charge.
While hunting is safer than ever, accidents happen and it is important to remember that every hunting related shooting incident is preventable, many by following the primary rules of hunter safety to:
• 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; and
• wear hunter orange.
For more information, visit http://www.dec.ny.gov/outdoor/7860.html.