25 January 2004
The 2002-03 hunting year produced reports of 27 accidents
resulting in injury or death. There were three reported fatalities, although
one of those was attributed to a heart attack. The accidents were reported
among about 291,000 hunters and they represent more than 4.6 million hunter
days afield, according to the most recent federal survey that lists Kentucky
Of the 27 accidents, 19 were listed as incidents involving
the shooting of a gun or the release of an arrow. Eight accidents occurred
in circumstances in which shooting was not involved.
Deer hunting was the activity that resulted in the most
accidents, a high of 14 among the 27. Much of the higher number of deer
hunting-related mishaps, however, is accounted for by deer hunting being the
most popular game sport.
Statewide, more Kentuckians hunt for deer than for any
Turkey hunting may be the more hazardous per capita,
accounting for six accidents despite a far smaller number of participants.
Other accidents occurred during rabbit hunting, four mishaps, and squirrel
hunting, two accidents.
Of the shooting accidents, six were the result of a hunter
failing to accurately identify his target, shooting another person
mistakenly. The other half-dozen were caused by "swinging on game and
covering the victim accidentally" or other behavior that by circumstances
put a victim in the line of fire. Both are causes that are specifically
addressed by the education course.
The shooting accidents were identified as 14 instances in
which one hunter shot another, while injuries were self-inflicted in five
The two fatal accidents that were hunting specific
(excluding the heart attack death) included one instance of a hunter
shooting himself when he attempted to cross a fence while carrying a loaded
and primed muzzleloading rifle, and another was a deer hunter who fell to
fatal injury when the homemade tree stand he was using pulled loose from the