Record-low Hunting-related Shooting Incidents
to a newly released report from the Pennsylvania Game Commission, there were 27
hunting-related shooting incidents (HRSIs) in 2013. That total not only
represents a decrease from the previous year, it’s a record low.
Game Commission has been tracking HRSIs since 1915, and there never before had
been fewer than 33 incidents reported in a year. Decades ago, hundreds of
incidents occurred each year.
for hunters to wear orange in many seasons and ongoing hunter-education efforts
are essential to the upward safety trend, the report states.
2013, 40,971 students received their Basic Hunter-Trapper Education
certification in Pennsylvania.
Commission Executive Director R. Matthew Hough said the latest report is
something about which those student graduates, their volunteer hunter-education
instructors and the hunting public at large all can be proud.
still work to do,” Hough said. “Even one incident is too many and, as the
record shows, we do not take hunter safety lightly. That said, we continue to
be encouraged by record-low numbers of incidents and the continuing trend of
safer hunting in Pennsylvania.”
Pennsylvania, hunting-related shooting incidents have declined by nearly 80
percent since hunter-education training began in 1959.
latest numbers build upon the previous year, during which 33 incidents were
reported, tying the previous record-low.
the 27 incidents reported in 2013 were fatal. Except for 2012 – the first year
without a single reported fatality related to gun handling in hunting and
trapping in Pennsylvania – at least one fatality has been reported each year.
The number of fatal incidents has declined sharply over the years.
2013, nine of the 27 incidents with an identified offender resulted from
individuals with 10 or fewer years of hunting experience.
important to note, however, that no incidents during 2013 involved youth
participating in the Mentored Youth Hunting Program – a program whereby hunters
under the age of 12 are permitted to harvest certain wildlife species, if they
are accompanied by a licensed adult. Nearly 34,000 Mentored Youth Permits were
issued during this timeframe.
annual reports on HRSIs, the Game Commission establishes an incident rate by
computing the number of accidents per 100,000 participants. The 2.85 incident
rate reported for 2013 is 20 percent lower than the 2012 rate of 3.52.
analysis of offender ages revealed individuals ages 16 and younger had an
incident rate of 3.26 per 100,000 participants.
leading causes of hunting-related shooting incidents in 2013 were unintentional
discharge and a victim being in the line of fire, each accounting for one-third
of the total. It should be noted that incidents resulting from a sporting arm
carried in a dangerous position decreased substantially from the previous year
(Two incidents in 2013 compared to eight in 2012).
Commissioner Timothy Layton, of Windber, said hunter education is instrumental
in reducing the number of HRSIs. He thanked the dedicated corps of 2,280
volunteer instructors for the crucial role they play, and the hunters in the
field for continuing to put safety first.
there’s one thing these numbers make clear it’s that hunting in Pennsylvania is
safe and getting safer,” said Layton, who chairs the commissioners’ Information
& Education committee. “As hunters, I’m sure we all can appreciate how far
we’ve come and look forward to many more safe seasons ahead.”