Experience in the field is no guarantee in hunter safety

Experience in the field is no guarantee in hunter safety

The last hunting season was the safest in New York since hunter education became required in 1949.

That’s a great thing. There were nine hunter related incidents in 2021, the fewest ever.

The very bad thing, however, is that one of those incidents resulted in a hunter’s death – and there was another fatality involving a tree stand – and there is no good number when it comes to that other than zero.

Still, it is a great thing that incidents are way, way down from even a few decades ago. Our hunters are among the best trained and most knowledgeable in the nation.

There is one thing additional thing, however, that I find very disturbing in the hunter safety report recently released by the Department of Environmental Conservation – the number of years of experience of those involved. The four big game incidents? The shooters had 48, 41, 45, and 50 years of experience in the field.

What does that say to you?

What is says to me that we cannot take safety for granted. That we never know it all. That we can never just go through the motions. That reviewing safety procedures before every hunting season is a must. That retaking the hunter education course might not be a bad idea.

More:Believe it or not, most hunting camps are about hunting

More:New York hunters take fewer bears in 2021

You can't take hunter safety for granted, no matter your experience level.

Take a look at the deer hunting incidents: In one, a hunter discharged his firearm over a highway (an extremely obvious violation of the rules) and hit a car, injuring two people. In another, a hunter slipped, discharging a round and injuring a hunting partner. In a third, a hunter reached for his firearm as it fell after he leaned it against an ATV, and shot himself in the foot.

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