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Hunting- The Pennsylvania Game Commission today announced that 2004 was the safest hunting year in the more than 90 years that records have been kept. Last year, there were 56 hunting-related shooting incidents (HRSIs), including four fatalities. In addition, the incident rate of 5.56 per 100,000 participants was the lowest on record.

In 2003, the year the previous records were set, there were 57 hunting-related shooting incidents, including four fatalities, and the incident rate was 5.63 per 100,000.

"While even one incident is one too many, we are pleased that hunters continue to improve on their safety record," said Vern Ross, Game Commission executive director. "However, we must continue to strive to do better.

"One of the issues that most concerns me is that 25 percent of the incidents - or 14 out of 56 incidents - were self-inflicted. This tells me that hunters must work to remember basic firearm safety standards."

Of the 56 incidents, there were 42 incidents inflicted by another hunter, including three fatalities. The remaining 14 incidents were self-inflicted, including one fatal self-inflicted injury.

Ross noted that there has been a marked decline in these incidents that can be attributed to the success of hunter education training, which began as voluntary course in 1959, and mandatory use of fluorescent orange clothing, which began in 1987.

A hunting-related shooting incident is defined as any occurrence in which a person is injured by a firearm or bow and arrow discharged by an individual hunting or trapping. These incidents often result from failure to follow basic safety rules.

In 2004, the incident statistics by species hunted were: deer, 23 (including four fatalities); wild turkey, 14; small game, 13; waterfowl, 4; and other, 2.

People shot in the line-of-fire comprised 18 of the hunting-related shooting incidents, including one fatality. The second most common cause for shooting incidents was in-mistake- for-game, which accounted for 16 incidents, including one fatality. Unintentional discharge accounted for 8 incidents, including one fatality, followed by: sporting arm in a dangerous position, 6, including one fatality; slipped and/or fell, 4; ricochet, 3; and a defective sporting arm, 1.

The Game Commission has posted information about hunting-related shooting incidents dating back to 1991 on its website at (select "Education," then scroll down and click on "Hunting-Related Shooting Incident Statistics").

Source: PA Game Commision


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