(TX) Steady decline in firearm-related hunting accidents


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Drizzt
March 19, 2005, 04:33 AM
There's safety in these numbers
Steady decline in firearm-related hunting accidents highlights value of training classes

By SHANNON TOMPKINS

The stereotype of hunting as a dangerous activity in which participants regularly fall victim to unsafe use of firearms took another severe blow with the recent release of a report on Texas hunting-related accidents.

This past calendar year saw fewer firearms-related hunting accidents in Texas than any year since 1966, when Texas Parks and Wildlife Department began maintaining detailed records.

In 2004, TPWD wardens documented 29 hunting-related accidents, including four fatal ones, among the state's more than one million licensed hunters.

Those 29 hunting-related accidents continue a long-term reduction of such accidents in the state.

State hunting safety officials and hunter education instructors point to a concerted effort to teach firearms safety as part of a mandatory hunter education program in Texas as one of the reasons for the decline in accidents and fatalities.

1988 a pivotal year
In 1966, TPWD began a program whereby they collected standardized information on all hunting-related accident involving firearms. Game wardens collect most of the information, and it comes from their work and other law enforcement investigations of the incidents.

When the monitoring began, those wardens had a lot of incidents and a sobering number of fatalities to report.

In the 10-year period 1966-75, Texas annually averaged 84.5 hunting-related firearms accidents.

During that same period, hunting-related firearms fatalities annually averaged 23.4.

In 1988, the Texas Legislature made hunter education training mandatory for all hunters born on or after Sept. 2, 1971. Since the program began, almost 700,000 people have passed the courses taught by hundreds of volunteer, TPWD-certified instructors.

Hunting accidents and fatalities began dropping almost immediately after mandatory hunter education took effect.

Impressive drop
During the past 10 years (1995-2004), Texas has annually averaged 40.9 hunting accidents and 4.3 fatalities, according to TPWD's most recent report.

That's a decline of more than half in the annual number of hunting-related accidents. Fatalities have dropped by more than 80 percent.

Just as impressive, the rate of hunting-related accidents has fallen to record lows in the past few years.

From 1966 through 1975, TPWD documented 9.46 accidents for every 100,000 hunting licenses sold.

For 1995-2004, that fell to an accident rate of 3.61 per 100,000 hunting licenses.

In 2004, the rate was 2.7 firearms-related accidents per 100,000 licenses. That's the lowest on record.

The four fatalities in 2004 marked an increase from 2003, when two fatalities were recorded, the lowest fatality count on record.

Texas has not seen double-digit firearms-related hunting fatalities since 1991.

To put that in perspective, Texas has averaged about 40 fatalities in boating accidents during the past few years.

Some notes from the just-released 2004 Texas Hunting Accidents Analysis:

•Texas hunters seem to be taking the "guns and alcohol don't mix" message very seriously.
Alcohol was determined to be a factor in only one of the 29 hunting accidents recorded in 2004. It was determined to be a factor in one of the 44 accidents in 2003, and one of the 35 accidents in 2002.

•Almost all of the accidents involved someone violating a cardinal rule of hunter safety.
The most common cause of an accident was classified as "victim covered by shooter swinging on game."

An example is someone swinging on a rising quail or passing dove, shooting, and the shot hitting a person in the line of fire. Such a mistake accounted for nine of the 29 accidents.

•Dove hunting, with 11 accidents (38 percent of the total) was the activity with the highest number of accidents.
Deer hunting was second with six accidents, or about 20 percent of the total.

•Deer hunting, which typically involves high-power, center-fire rifles, usually accounts for most of the fatal accidents.
In 2004, three of the four fatalities occurred during deer hunts. The other occurred during a hog hunt.

•During 2004, the average age of the person responsible for a firearms-related accident was 27. Those 20-29 years old accounted for almost a quarter of hunting accidents.
•Annually, about a third of the accidents are self-inflicted, and almost always involve breaches of basic firearms safety.
•Only three of the people determined to have been the shooter in the 29 accidents had taken and passed the state's hunter education course.

http://www.chron.com/cs/CDA/ssistory.mpl/outdoors/3091095

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El Tejon
March 19, 2005, 08:53 AM
Wait a tick! Education works? :eek:

This is just more fraudulent tripe offered up by the eeevil pro-educationalists like El Tejon. Common sense will tell you that: you own a gun=you automatically have the common sense to use it safely. It's just common sense, no need for that fancy ejamakashun stuff.

Greybeard
March 19, 2005, 09:38 AM
Quote " •Only three of the people determined to have been the shooter in the 29 accidents had taken and passed the state's hunter education course. "

It's curious that this sentence did not again include the word "mandatory hunter education course", which it really is not. Unlike many other states, written proof proof of hunter education is not really "mandatory" for those born after Sept. 1, 1971 to buy a Texas hunting license. It is, however, a nice piece of paper to have in hand to avoid the little blue "love letter" when the Game Warden comes around. ;)

Many folks have this perception of a "hunter safty class" being for kids. In doing some unusual "profiling" of my own a few weeks ago, 57% of the 200+ students that our range certified last fall were in the "mandatory" 17 to 34 year old bracket. And it had not kept the vast majority of them from getting a license and hunting previously.

Quote: " •During 2004, the average age of the person responsible for a firearms-related accident was 27. Those 20-29 years old accounted for almost a quarter of hunting accidents. "

Yep, that stat has pretty much remained constant for the last several years. In fact, for a little dry humor, we have used special name tags for male students in this age bracket for the past few years. Their name is either printed or underlined in red. We mention that they "fit the profile", according to TP&W, as "an accident waiting to happen". But then, we point out that part of the "profile" is being removed by their taking the class.

Yep, regardless of age,the annual stats typically indicate that hunter education reduces the odds of being a statistic by at least 80%. But it ain't "mandatory", despite what is said on the posters and in the press releases.

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