How Dangerous is Hunting, Really?

By: Brock Ray

Here are the figures on how safe this blood sport really is.

How can a sport where adults and the young run around the woods and over water while carrying loaded firearms really be safe? Each hunting season newspapers and television news broadcasts inform the public of hunting tragedies ranging from accidental shootings and drowning, to fatal falls from tree stands. Is hunting just an accident waiting to happen? I mean, is it really so dangerous that even the Vice-President of the United States is not safe to join on a hunting trip to the woods?

Most, but not all hunting accidents involve firearms. In the United States accidental deaths involving firearms comprise less than 1 percent of accidental deaths or about 700 deaths a year nationwide annually. In a recent report from the National Safety Council, a nonprofit public service organization, revealed an amazing 48 percent decline in accidental firearm-related deaths in the past decade. According to the National Safety Council, which keeps tabs on accidents in its “Injury Facts 2005-2006” publication, no other category of accidental death has declined as much in recent years. Some statistics from the National Safety Council: The average Americans chances of dying are as follows, which means we need to put restrictions on furniture.

ready aim fire


In any accident: 1 in 23


By a vehicle while walking: 1 in 612


Fall from bed, chair, furniture: 1 in 4745


Firearm accident: 1 in 4888


It is worth noting that annually, fatal hunting accidents occur at a rate of 80 to 90 persons per year. That is only 12 to 15 percent of the national average of deaths by accident use of firearms. Conversely, each year in the United States, there is 1,500 to 1,800 people that drown, and another 800 to 875 people killed in boating accidents. Ironically, hunting accidents are one of the few categories of fatal accidents that have been in decline over the past to decades. Mandatory Hunter Safety Classes are credited with this remarkable occurrence.

Most states DNR’s offer hunter safety courses during late summer and early fall prior to the start of hunting seasons. Volunteer instructors are also dedicated hunters and prefer to be in the woods than in the classroom during hunting season. Some courses are also offered in the spring prior to spring turkey season.

Volunteer instructors schedule each course. Some are completed in a weekend, while others may take several week nights and a day during the weekend to complete. Some courses may have a fee of up to $6 to offset expenses incurred by instructors and cover use of facilities. Hunting safety, and particularly the safe handling of firearms is a major part of the course.

Click here for a list of firearms safety tips for novice and experienced hunters alike.

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