Hunting Accident File > Safe Hunting?

MA - Hunter shot in the face

Rules reduce hunting injuries
By Jessica Willis, Berkshire Eagle Staff

Tuesday, September 25

WILLIAMSTOWN In the wake of a Saturday hunting accident, which left one local man seriously injured with a gunshot wound to the face and head, the question remains: What can hunters do to protect themselves?
"It comes down to following the rules," said Susan Langlois, a wildlife biologist and administrator of the Hunter Education Program run by the state's Division of Fisheries and Wildlife.

Raymond J. Beaudreau, 52, of 37 Ballou Lane was shot during a hunting expedition with two local men, according to reports.

Williamstown police officers were called to the vicinity of 481 Luce Road at approximately 11:20 a.m., and Beaudreau was located about 400 yards into the woods and airlifted to the hospital, according to a press release from the Williamstown Police Department.

The University of Massachusetts Medical Center in Worcester listed Beaudreau in fair condition yesterday.

Lisa Capone, spokeswoman for the state environmental police, said that the three men were squirrel hunting, and that the case is under investigation by the environmental police and the Berkshire County District Attorney's Crime Prevention and Control Unit.

According to Langlois, Beaudreau's case is a rarity. Hunting accidents in the United States are on the decline, and hunting-related injuries are at an all-time low of six per 100,000 hunters.

"It's safer than playing football," Langlois said.

She attributed the sharp decrease to "hunter education and (the wearing of) hunter orange."

She also said that the state's 53-year-old hunter education program which is mandatory for all first-time hunters and hunting license buyers also contributed to the decline in accidents.

Langlois said that "hunting accidents" specifically refer to any injury or death caused by the discharge of a firearm or the release of an arrow. Hunting "incidences," in the state's parlance, include nonweapon-related events such as heart attacks and falls, she said.

According to Langlois, the relatively sensational hunting weapon-related accidents are not as much of an issue as the incidences; and the "number one problem" for hunters in the state is caused by "tree stand falls."

The falls usually occur when hunters are exiting or entering the tree stands and are improperly "strapped in," she noted.

The Department of Fish and Game offers 75 courses across the state, taught by more than 300 volunteers, Langlois said, and along with safety, the topics include environmental conservation issues, survival methods and ethics. The courses, which usually include a series of three to six sessions, will resume in January and all are free of charge, Langlois said.

Material from the North Adams Transcript was used in this report.

To reach Jessica Willis: [email protected], (413) 664-4995.

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