Hunting Accident File > Safe Hunting?: > 2004


25 January 2004

The 2002-03 hunting year produced reports of 27 accidents resulting in injury or death. There were three reported fatalities, although one of those was attributed to a heart attack. The accidents were reported among about 291,000 hunters and they represent more than 4.6 million hunter days afield, according to the most recent federal survey that lists Kentucky hunting statistics.

Of the 27 accidents, 19 were listed as incidents involving the shooting of a gun or the release of an arrow. Eight accidents occurred in circumstances in which shooting was not involved.

Deer hunting was the activity that resulted in the most accidents, a high of 14 among the 27. Much of the higher number of deer hunting-related mishaps, however, is accounted for by deer hunting being the most popular game sport.

Statewide, more Kentuckians hunt for deer than for any other species.

Turkey hunting may be the more hazardous per capita, accounting for six accidents despite a far smaller number of participants. Other accidents occurred during rabbit hunting, four mishaps, and squirrel hunting, two accidents.

Of the shooting accidents, six were the result of a hunter failing to accurately identify his target, shooting another person mistakenly. The other half-dozen were caused by "swinging on game and covering the victim accidentally" or other behavior that by circumstances put a victim in the line of fire. Both are causes that are specifically addressed by the education course.

The shooting accidents were identified as 14 instances in which one hunter shot another, while injuries were self-inflicted in five cases.

The two fatal accidents that were hunting specific (excluding the heart attack death) included one instance of a hunter shooting himself when he attempted to cross a fence while carrying a loaded and primed muzzleloading rifle, and another was a deer hunter who fell to fatal injury when the homemade tree stand he was using pulled loose from the tree.

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