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NE: 2009 Hunting accidents

January 13, 2010

Two died in 2009 hunting accidents

LINCOLN - Hunters in Nebraska were involved in 12 hunting accidents with a rifle, shotgun or handgun last year. Two of the incidents resulted in deaths.

"All of these incidents were preventable," Mike Streeter, the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission's hunter education coordinator, said Wednesday. Streeter said the most common cause of a hunting accident in Nebraska is when shooters swing on flying game birds and fire without knowing what is beyond their target, striking hunting companions with shot.

In such an incident, the age of the person firing the firearm is three times as likely to be in 10 to 19 years old as any other age group. Hunting incidents resulting in injury or death are rare in Nebraska. The injury rate per 1,000 hunters commonly is lower than 0.01 percent. Nebraska has about 170,000 hunters each year.

During the past decade, there have been about 12 incidents a year in which a hunter was injured or killed during the past decade. In Nebraska's 2009 accidents, six of the shooters were 10 to 19 years old, four were 20 to 29 and two were 40 to 49. In seven incidents, the shooter shot himself or herself. Someone else was shot in five incidents.

In two instances, a non-hunter was injured or killed. Three involved illegal activity. Six involved the discharge of a rifle, three a shotgun and three a handgun. Three of the incidents involved hunting non-game animals, three involved hunting furbearers, one involved hunting small game, three involved hunting upland birds and two involved hunting deer.

The incidents that resulted in a death occurred in Wheeler County in June and Saunders County in December.

Streeter said Nebraska hunters do an excellent job of ensuring safety each year. "Safe hunting is no accident,'' he said. "Follow the rules.".

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