The 2014 New York hunting season closed with the second lowest number of hunting related-shooting incidents on record, State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) Commissioner Joe Martens announced last week.
New York’s hunting incident rate has fallen by more than 75 percent since the 1960s. The past five-year average is down to 4.3 incidents per 100,000 hunters, compared to 19 per 100,000 in the 1960s.
A total of 22 hunting incidents occurred in 2014, including one fatality which occurred while hunting small game. Eight accidents were self-inflicted, eleven involved members of the same hunting party and three occurred where the victim and shooter did not know each other.
This was the first year on record without an incident occurring during the spring turkey season. The lowest total number of hunting incidents in any year occurred just a year ago (19 incidents in 2013).
Only incidents involving firearms, bows, and crossbows are included. Incidents involving tree stand use or other hunter health-related mishaps are not.
Many incidents could have been prevented if the shooter or victim followed the primary rules of hunter safety to:
• assume every firearm to be loaded;
• control the firearm muzzle in a safe direction;
• keep finger off the trigger until ready to fire;
• identify your target and what lies beyond; and
• wear hunter orange.