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From 21 September 2003 Issue

Hunting Statistics and Examples
1977-2001
From Marisa Herrera - lovenature@pacificcoast.net

Hunting Accidents

According to the International Hunter Education Association, hunters shot 1038 to 1790 people per year in the US and Canada during 1987 to 1997.

In 1997, the causes of 822 shootings were given:
318 (39%) people were victims of accidental discharge,
193 (23%) people were mistaken for game,
143 (17%) people were in their homes or vehicles or obscured by vegetation,
140 (17%) were visible (in some cases wearing blaze orange) but were not noticed as the hunter quickly aimed and shot, and 28 (3%) moved into the line of fire.

The hunters were 8 to over 60 years old and were hunting deer, bears, foxes, raccoons, crows, turkeys, and other game. Many were experienced hunters who had taken hunter safety courses. Weapons were shotguns (70%), rifles (25%), other firearms (4%), and bow and arrow (1%).

Following are a few of the hunting accidents that appeared in newspapers during 1997 to 2001.

November 9, 1997. A stray bullet came through a wall and a chair and hit a 13-year-old girl in the chest as she played her clarinet in her home in Motley, Minnesota.

November 8, 1997. A stray bullet came through a windshield and hit a 29-year-old woman in the forehead as she drove near Redwood Falls, Minnesota.

November 16, 1997. A 47-year-old man dressed in blaze orange was shot in both legs as he crossed a road before sunrise near Motley, Minnesota.

October 17, 1999. A 36-year-old duck hunter who had taken several hunter safety courses mistakenly shot two 13-year-old boys and their collie dog near Paynesville, Minnesota.

November 20, 2000. A stray bullet came through the door of a van and wounded two men driving near Birchwood, Wisconsin.

November 17, 2001. A stray bullet killed Wayne Blodgett about 8 AM as he stood in an open field in Adams County, Wisconsin.

November 17, 2001. A 14-year-old hunter who was trailing a wounded deer saw a movement and killed his 21-year-old brother at 4:30 PM near Ettrick, Wisconsin.

September 18, 1998. A 12-gauge shotgun slug intended for a bear deflected off a tree branch, penetrated a solid cedar door, ricocheted off a refrigerator and ceiling and landed two feet from where a 10-year-old boy was eating supper in Thunder Bay, Ontario.

October 1999. Several lakeshore property owners complained to Minnesota DNR
Officer Chuck Nelson about shotgun pellets hitting their roofs near Paynesville, Minnesota.

December 8, 1997. A hunter education instructor mistakenly shot his wife in dense vegetation while trying to shoot a duck near Carthage, Texas.

November 25, 2000. A man taking a walk near Muskogee, Oklahoma, was critically wounded by a 30.06 rifle bullet fired at a deer from 400 yards away by a 15-year-old hunter who had taken hunter safety courses.

October 1, 2000. A 65-year-old turkey hunter mistook his two sons for turkeys and shot them near Elmont, NY.

November 25, 2000. A stray bullet hit a tractor-trailer, cut the fuel line, and ended up in the fuel tank during deer hunting season near Pittsfield, Maine.

October 10, 2000. A turkey hunter in Oak Grove, Missouri, saw his hunting partner 30 yards away, mistook him for a turkey, and shot him in the head with buckshot.

November 20, 2000. A 19-year-old hunter thought a man was a deer and killed him with a .223 caliber bullet near Glasgow, Kentucky.

October 29, 2000. A bow hunter thought he heard a deer, looked, thought he saw a buck, and killed his 28-year-old son who was walking toward him near North Webster, IN.

December 2, 2000. A teenage hunter saw a 35-year-old man looking for his dog, mistook him for a deer, and killed him with a shotgun blast near Powhatan, Virginia.

October 21, 1999. A 37-year-old hunter saw a gray cap, thought it was a squirrel, and shot a boy in the head near Sudbury, Vermont.

October 27, 1999. A brown cat came home with an arrow through its back during deer season near Rochester, MA.

November 25, 2000. Two 16-year-old deer hunters killed two horses near Pittsfield, Maine.

November 20, 1999. Within minutes after a 49-year-old hunter removed his blaze orange vest he was mistaken for a deer and killed by a 61-year-old hunter near Woodbridge, Connecticut.

December 9, 2000. A 40-year-old bear hunter saw a 54-year-old man sitting in the woods, mistook him for a bear, and killed him near Binghamton, New York.

November 22, 1995. A 23-year-old hunter mistook his hunting partner's gun barrel for antlers and shot at him. Later, he said, "I thought I was the safest hunter in the world. Now I'm afraid to walk through the woods myself. I can see how easy it is."

1999 A 50-year-old pheasant hunter could not see through dense vegetation and shot a 4-year-old girl playing in her back yard in Utah.

November 16, 2000. A 43-year-old hunter mistook a 13-year-old boy and his 70-year-old grandfather for elk and shot them in Oregon. Each of the victims was wearing yellow rain gear.

December 28, 2000. A 13-year-old hunter killed a 69-year-old man who was taking a walk near Jonquiere, Quebec. The teenager said he saw the man only as a figure in the distance. He took aim with his .22 caliber rifle, and shot the man in the head.

November 2000. About 6 PM, a bullet came through a wall and missed a woman by five or six feet in Chazy, New York.

November 1999. A 51-year-old deer hunter heard what he thought were rutting noises, saw movement, and fired at something brown he saw through his scope. The victim was a 39-year-old man wearing a brown fleece jacket near Bloomingdale, New York.

November 1999. A 41-year-old hunter saw a white reflection in a man's jacket, thought it was the tail of a deer, and killed the man as he walked in a field by his house near Raymondville, New York.

October 15, 2000. A 49-year-old man was shot on a wooded section of private land near Sterling, Connecticut.

October 3, 2000. A conservation officer accidentally shot his 15-year-old son while hunting for turkeys near Morden, Manitoba. The officer said that each carried a radio to prevent accidents, but there was miscommunication.

November 4, 2000. Daniel Ripka, 21, shot at a running deer, missed, and killed Stephen Gilbertson, 53, whom he didn't see in the brush east of Backus, Minnesota.

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