Benefit of Safety Training

d31tc

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I like charts that show interesting trends. Perusing the Minnesota DNR website and compiled some quick stats:

Before 1973 - Average firearm hunting fatalities were 8.7 annually
Since 1974 through 2022, after hunter safety courses were implemented, firearm hunting fatalities averaged 2.9 annually
Since 1974, hunting licenses sold has increased by over a factor of 3, while incidents and fatalities has remained low.

Firearms Safety Training.png

Also, perusing what incidents occurred, I found an interesting one. It's number 9 on the following link.


Always good to have a reminder. Remember dawgs, keep your paws off the trigger until you're ready to shoot.
 
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What happened in 1973? Geez, the thing went up like a bottle rocket.
 
I have been getting those statistics each year with my class materials for 38 years now.
Those summaries are not always accurate and before 1970's if someone died of a heart attack while hunting or killed in a traffic accident those would be listed as hunting fatalities.
Not all firearms fatalities get listed either.
Yes, dogs are trigger happy if someone has a loaded firearm unattended.
I have a slide where a turkey shot a hunter when both, a loaded shotgun and turkey thought to be dead were in trunk. Victim opened trunk and........
Gregor, CGVS
 
Those summaries are not always accurate and before 1970's if someone died of a heart attack while hunting or killed in a traffic accident those would be listed as hunting fatalities.
Not all firearms fatalities get listed either.
As usual, there are lies, damned lies, and statistics. Garbage in, garbage out
 
What happened in 1973? Geez, the thing went up like a bottle rocket.
The yellow line that shoots up in 1973 is the number of hunting students certified in hunter safety classes state-wide. Prior to 1974 there was no safety class.

The brown/orange line is the number of total hunting accidents, which drops from over 100 to less than 10 after safety classes were introduced.

The gray line is the number of fatal hunting accidents, which seems to remain below 10 a years
 
I have been getting those statistics each year with my class materials for 38 years now.
Those summaries are not always accurate and before 1970's if someone died of a heart attack while hunting or killed in a traffic accident those would be listed as hunting fatalities.
Not all firearms fatalities get listed either.
Yes, dogs are trigger happy if someone has a loaded firearm unattended.
I have a slide where a turkey shot a hunter when both, a loaded shotgun and turkey thought to be dead were in trunk. Victim opened trunk and........
Gregor, CGVS
Yeah, the DNR had “data” going back to 1947 and it was clearly not consistent. I just used the data from the point in time hunter safety certification data was continuously available and went back a few years farther.

Taken as a whole, there seems to be a strong correlation to fewer incidents and hunter safety training. I know the current hunter safety includes other safety instruction beyond just firearms, such as tree stands. I guess whether or not someone dies from a gunshot or falling out of a tree stand, dead is dead.

The online safety training material is pretty tedious for an 11 year old to get through…
 
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Here is information for Michigan's 1943 hunting season. It appears they kept good records.

1943 Hunting records.jpg
 
My son wanted to hunt with me so told him he would need to take the new hunter safety course first. So went down to register, said nope, he is only 9 and our minimum age is 16. So I explained that he had been shooting since 4 and was a junior state match championship competitor, so the instructors decided to test his safety knowledge and the son became the youngest person to set for the multi week course. As I had to provide the transportation to and from in any case, I decided to register myself and sit the course with him. It is a good course as taught in FL and is time well spent together with your kids, 1,000 times better than watching the stupid box..
 
It is a good course as taught in FL and is time well spent together with your kids, 1,000 times better than watching the stupid box..
:thumbup::thumbup::thumbup:
Yep. It was a long time ago now, but I (or sometimes my wife if I had to work) attended every Idaho Hunter Safety Education class with each of our 2 daughters as they went through them. We enjoyed the classes, right along with our daughters.
So went down to register, said nope, he is only 9 and our minimum age is 16.
Funny - it's so different here. In Idaho, a young hunter is no longer eligible to participate in what are called "Youth Hunts" after they're older than 16. "Youth Hunts" are areas where if a hunter is 16 or under, they're allowed to shoot a doe. Some years (like last year) many of the "Youth Hunts" were cancelled due to dwindling deer populations.
At any rate, I think (although I'm not sure) that Idaho requires a person to be at least 12 to get a hunting license, and everyone born after a certain year is required to have a Hunter Safety Education course behind them before they can get it. Consequently, each of our daughters went through the course after they turned 12, but before hunting season got here.
I (and my wife) never took the class ourselves. But I was born in 1948, and my wife is not far behind me. ;)
 
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Here in MN a youth can get a free license at 10 but has to be with an adult.
The minimum age to take FAS is 11 and must be accompanied by an Adult. At 14 and with permission may hunt alone.
I was given a picture of a 15 year old that was allowed to hunt alone and 20 min later was killed when he apparently lost control of his rifle.
His mother asked that I talk about her son's accident so another family doesn't have to go through what they are.
One of my students lost his life 31 years ago, and was absolutely the best student!
The only thing I can rationalize is the more one is involved with all aspects of guns the chances of something terrible goes up, but then again it can happen the 1st time.
So I can only do my best and keep doing it!
Safety doesn't take a break!!!!
 
The best way to learn is to teach. The young folks in our classes are there because they can legally hunt at 11 if they show us that they understand the principles of hunter safety and responsibility. Otherwise, they do not qualify for a license until 16. We have adults in every course who are interested in the material, or who need a hunter safety card to hunt big game in Colorado or another state that requires proof of training.

Over the last four decades, we have seen increasing participation by females, and many children from single parent families that don't have the traditional resources. There is no charge for the basic 10 hour class, but kids can do part of it on line at a small cost if they learn better that way. All must pass the standard test and attend a field day, however. We work with IHEA on accreditation, but the NRA on line course is an option.
https://nra.yourlearningportal.com/Course/HuntersEdActivityInfoPage

The training has reduced rates of injury and death. Time well spent, but always room for improvement.
 
I believe there are many reasons why incidents and fatalities have declined.....but also believe mandatory safety training is the biggest factor. About the same time most states implemented safety training, they also instituted the use of Blaze Orange for deer hunting. The visibility of other hunters in the field and the readily identification of them, helped make a difference. Around here, the old practice of "Deer Drives" has practically disappeared. This was a practice of not done correctly, could be very dangerous. Then there are the guns used today as compared to 50 years ago. back when I started to hunt, I had a .22 with no safety and a shotgun with a broken off trigger guard, because this was all we could afford. Then there is the familiarity with the firearm. When I was a kid, we couldn't afford a lot of practice ammo, so a good part of the time, the gun didn't come out of the closet until opening day of the season. Loading and unloading lever guns and having to pull the trigger to put hammer actioned guns on safe, tended to promote accidents. Especially young kids with frozen fingers. Times have changed for the better, yet we still need to follow the basic rules of gun safety.
 
I believe there are many reasons why incidents and fatalities have declined.....but also believe mandatory safety training is the biggest factor. About the same time most states implemented safety training, they also instituted the use of Blaze Orange for deer hunting. The visibility of other hunters in the field and the readily identification of them, helped make a difference. Around here, the old practice of "Deer Drives" has practically disappeared. This was a practice of not done correctly, could be very dangerous. Then there are the guns used today as compared to 50 years ago. back when I started to hunt, I had a .22 with no safety and a shotgun with a broken off trigger guard, because this was all we could afford. Then there is the familiarity with the firearm. When I was a kid, we couldn't afford a lot of practice ammo, so a good part of the time, the gun didn't come out of the closet until opening day of the season. Loading and unloading lever guns and having to pull the trigger to put hammer actioned guns on safe, tended to promote accidents. Especially young kids with frozen fingers. Times have changed for the better, yet we still need to follow the basic rules of gun safety.
Excellent point. Quick google - In Minnesota in 1986 the law required red (think lumberjack plaid) or blaze orange. In 1994, the law eliminated red and required blaze orange. I started hunting around 1982 and I know our hunting party all had blaze orange even at that time.

Regarding lever actions, the Marlin 336 and others (mine was a Glenfield Model 30A) was a very common "first" hunting rifle that my dad bought be because the 30-30 was a good "woods" gun I didn't shoot but 3 to 5 rounds to verify zero each year. I shot a LOT of 22LR though, so I was pretty comfortably with guns.

I generally agree with your comments regarding loading, unloading, and lowering the hammer on lever actions like my Glenfield. For that reason, I prefer the features of an AR for my kid's hunting rifles. My daughter is using a 6.5 Grendel and 300 blackout in an AR platform. It's one less opportunity for a mistake with the hammer, loading and unloading.
 
I generally agree with your comments regarding loading, unloading, and lowering the hammer on lever actions like my Glenfield. For that reason, I prefer the features of an AR for my kid's hunting rifles. My daughter is using a 6.5 Grendel and 300 blackout in an AR platform. It's one less opportunity for a mistake with the hammer, loading and unloading.
When I first started hunting deer, everyone in my family had a firearm you had to "lower the hammer" to put on "safe". Lever action Winchesters, break open single shots and model "97" shotguns. While we never a had an accident with therm, it was pretty common to hear a single shot coming from my mom's stand opening morning at daylight, as she tried to put the "97" she used, on "safe". Regardless of seeing any deer or not, she most generally always got a shot off. Because of this, my dad finally replaced "ol' Bertha" with a M1917 mil surp for her. I still use both the "97" and the M1917 to this day, even tho both are over a century old.
 
I taught Hunter's Ed classes here in Arkansas for several years, several years ago. At that time the most accidents occurred while Turkey Hunting. Since then it has changed to Deer Hunting and most of them are stand related. Falling out of stands, stands falling over, ect. There is still the occasional hunter shot mistaken for game, self inflicted gunshot by mis-handling firearms, ect.
 
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