Hunting Accident File > Safe Hunting?: > 2004


POSTED: 8:24 AM EST November 22, 2004
UPDATED: 11:00 AM EST November 22, 2004

In addition to the killing of five hunters in Sawyer County over the weekend, there were several other accidents and hunting-related deaths across the state this weekend.

In Dane county Sunday morning, Jeffrey Johnson, 46, of rural Stoughton, fell from a tree while climbing down to retrieve a deer in the town of Christiana. He was taken to the hospital with non-life-threatening injuries.

In Forest County, two hunters fell out of tree stands Sunday afternoon. One accident happened east of Crandon and the other about four miles north of Wabeno. Both men were taken to the hospital.

In Clark County Sunday, Joseph Rickert, 60, of Racine, fell out of a tree and died.

In Juneau County, a 47-year-old man was shot and killed in a hunting-related accident.

Fewer DNR Wardens Out This Year

Hunters are seeing fewer DNR wardens in the woods this season. The agency is concerned with the lack of law enforcement.

"We've had to double up our regular wardens," said Warden Chuck Horn. "So rather than having two squads in an area, we may have only one because wardens are working together for safety purposes."

Chuck Horn: The DNR's warden force is at 175 statewide -- 27 positions smaller this year than last year due to budget cuts and retirements. The state also had to cut money to fund nearly 100 deputy warden positions. They hope lack of presence doesn't affect hunters' safety

"If they know that we're out there, and there's a chance that they could get caught, they're going to be less apt to do something stupid like shooting off the road or maybe shooting in a dangerous situation toward buildings or what not," Horn said.

Before the start of the deer season, 29 people had been injured in hunting related incidents, compared to 17 last year.

Horn said hunters need to brush up on safety rules, such as knowing what's beyond your target, keeping your finger off the trigger until you're ready to shoot and treating every gun like it's fully loaded ... and pointing guns in a safe direction.

The DRN is telling wardens they should take a couple days off during the hunting season to rest, to try and fight burnout.



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