Rules reduce hunting injuries
By Jessica Willis, Berkshire Eagle Staff
Tuesday, September 25
WILLIAMSTOWN — In the wake of a Saturday hunting accident, which
left one local man seriously injured with a gunshot wound to the
face and head, the question remains: What can hunters do to protect
"It comes down to following the rules," said Susan Langlois, a
wildlife biologist and administrator of the Hunter Education Program
run by the state's Division of Fisheries and Wildlife.
Raymond J. Beaudreau, 52, of 37 Ballou Lane was shot during a
hunting expedition with two local men, according to reports.
Williamstown police officers were called to the vicinity of 481
Luce Road at approximately 11:20 a.m., and Beaudreau was located
about 400 yards into the woods and airlifted to the hospital,
according to a press release from the Williamstown Police
The University of Massachusetts Medical Center in Worcester
listed Beaudreau in fair condition yesterday.
Lisa Capone, spokeswoman for the state environmental police, said
that the three men were squirrel hunting, and that the case is under
investigation by the environmental police and the Berkshire County
District Attorney's Crime Prevention and Control Unit.
According to Langlois, Beaudreau's case is a rarity. Hunting
accidents in the United States are on the decline, and
hunting-related injuries are at an all-time low of six per 100,000
"It's safer than playing football," Langlois said.
She attributed the sharp decrease to "hunter education and (the
wearing of) hunter orange."
She also said that the state's 53-year-old hunter education
program — which is mandatory for all first-time hunters and hunting
license buyers — also contributed to the decline in accidents.
Langlois said that "hunting accidents" specifically refer to any
injury or death caused by the discharge of a firearm or the release
of an arrow. Hunting "incidences," in the state's parlance, include
nonweapon-related events such as heart attacks and falls, she said.
According to Langlois, the relatively sensational hunting
weapon-related accidents are not as much of an issue as the
incidences; and the "number one problem" for hunters in the state is
caused by "tree stand falls."
The falls usually occur when hunters are exiting or entering the
tree stands and are improperly "strapped in," she noted.
The Department of Fish and Game offers 75 courses across the
state, taught by more than 300 volunteers, Langlois said, and along
with safety, the topics include environmental conservation issues,
survival methods and ethics. The courses, which usually include a
series of three to six sessions, will resume in January and all are
free of charge, Langlois said.
Material from the North Adams Transcript was used in this report.
To reach Jessica Willis:
firstname.lastname@example.org, (413) 664-4995.