Hunting Accident File > Safe Hunting?: > 2006

Dramatic increase in South Dakota hunting accidents

Be safe while enjoying time out hunting

March 4, 2006, 3:46 am

Whatever specific reason for the dramatic increase in South Dakota hunting accidents this past year, there’s an underlying cause – carelessness.

We saw 54 hunting accidents in the state last year. Fortunately, none was fatal and none even – as far as is known – required an overnight hospital stay.

But when you go from 18 accidents in 1997 to 28 in 2002, then 40 in 2003 and 22 in 2004, a jump to 54 this past year is alarming.

“We’re hoping it’s a blip in the statistics,” said Curt Robertson of the state Game, Fish and Parks Department. “Having said that, we’re going to take some pretty aggressive action.”

That includes a stepped-up education program, particularly across the state during the next pheasant season. Of the 54 accidents, 50 were during pheasant hunting. And almost all were the same – a hunter following a bird with his gun and not paying attention to the location of other hunters.

“Make sure you see sky below that bird before you shoot,” Robertson said.

Of course, then there were the really stupid accidents. According to a GF&P report, a 22-year-old hunter in Mellette County was just dumb as a box of rocks.

“Shooter was pushing a box of shells across the roof of a pickup toward another hunter with the muzzle of his rifle,” the report said. “Rifle discharged causing several cartridges in box (which was struck) to explode.”

Take that man’s gun away. He’s dangerous.

For everyone else – pay attention, for heaven’s sake.

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