By New York Dept. of Environmental Conservation
New York’s 2015 hunting season proved to be one of the safest on record, and yielded the first year without a hunting-related shooting fatality since the 1950s.
The 2015 Hunting Safety Statistics report highlighted a total of only 23 hunting incidents, the third lowest number on record, with 10 incidents self-inflicted and 13 two-party incidents.
“The trend of declining hunting accidents is proof that our hunter safety education programs are working thanks, in large part, to the efforts of the 3,000 volunteer Sportsman Education Instructors that teach our hunter safety courses every year,” according to Acting Commissioner Basil Seggos.
This is the first year without a hunting-related shooting fatality in New York since record-keeping on hunting statistics began in the mid 1950s.
2015 also continued the trend of declining incidents with New York's hunting-related shooting incident rate (incidents per 100,000 hunters) declining almost 80 percent since the 1960s. The past five-year average is down to four incidents per 100,000 hunters, compared to 19 per 100,000 hunters in the 1960s.
While hunting is safer than ever, accidents can still happen, educators stress that every hunting-related shooting incident is preventable.
As this year’s report indicated, eight of the victims in the multi-party incidents were not wearing hunter orange. Firearm accidents can be prevented if hunters follow the primary rules of hunter safety: Assume every firearm is loaded; Control the firearm muzzle in a safe direction; Keep your finger off the trigger until ready to fire; and identify your target and what is beyond.
In 2016, he hunter safety course curriculum will be updated to enhance the program and implement recommendations identified in a 2015 peer-reviewed analysis if New York’s hunter safety education program.
For more information on Sportsman Education course registration, access to the course manuals and worksheets, visit http://www.dec.ny.gov/outdoor/7860.html.