Thursday, April 12, 2007

Pennsylvania Hunters Set New Safety Record in 2006

HARRISBURG, Pa., April 11 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The Pennsylvania
Game Commission today announced that 2006 was the safest hunting year in
the more than 90 years that records have been kept. Last year, there were
46 hunting- related shooting incidents (HRSIs), including two fatalities.
In addition, the incident rate of 4.81 per 100,000 participants was the
lowest on record.
In 2005, the year the previous records were set, there were 47 hunting-
related shooting incidents, including three fatalities, and the incident
rate was 4.92 per 100,000. In 2004, there were 56 hunting-related shooting
incidents, including four fatalities, and the incident rate was 5.56 per
"While even one incident is one too many, we are pleased that hunters
continue to improve on their safety record," said Carl G. Roe, Game
Commission executive director. "However, we must continue to strive to do
"One of the issues that most concerns us is that 35 percent of the
incidents -- or 16 out of 46 incidents -- were self-inflicted, including
one fatality. This tells us that hunters must remember to practice the
basic rules of firearms safety while afield."
There were 30 incidents involving people who were shot by another
hunter, including one fatality.
Roe noted that there has been a marked decline in these incidents that
can be attributed to the success of hunter education training, which began
as a voluntary course in 1959, and mandatory use of fluorescent orange
clothing, which began in 1987. Also, he added that hunters deserve credit
for working with the agency to stress safety when afield.
A hunting-related shooting incident is defined as any occurrence in
which a person is injured by a firearm or bow and arrow discharged by an
individual hunting or trapping. These incidents often result from failure
to follow basic safety rules.
In 2006, the incident statistics by species hunted were: deer, 17
(including two fatalities, of which one was self-inflicted); small game,
16; wild turkey, 9; bear, 3; and waterfowl, 1.
Sporting arm in a dangerous position was cited as the cause of the
incident for 13 of the HRSIs. The second most common cause for shooting
incidents was that the victim was in the line of fire, which accounted for
10 incidents. Shot in-mistake-for-game (failure to properly identify
target), and unintentional discharge each registered 8 incidents, as well
as one fatality for each. Other causes included: ricochet, 2; hunter
slipped and/or fell, 2; a defective sporting arm, 1; stray shot, 1; and
other, 1.
Shotguns accounted for 25 (54 percent) of the HRSIs, followed by:
rifle, 17; handgun, 2; and muzzleloader, 2.
The Game Commission has posted information about hunting-related
shooting incidents dating back to 1991 on its website at (select "Education" then scroll down and click
on "Hunting-Related Shooting Incident Statistics").
Created in 1895 as an independent state agency, the Game Commission is
responsible for conserving and managing all wild birds and mammals in the
Commonwealth, establishing hunting seasons and bag limits, enforcing
hunting and trapping laws, and managing habitat on the 1.4 million acres of
State Game Lands it has purchased over the years with hunting and furtaking
license dollars to safeguard wildlife habitat. The agency also conducts
numerous wildlife conservation programs for schools, civic organizations
and sportsmen's clubs.
The Game Commission does not receive any general state taxpayer dollars
for its annual operating budget. The agency is funded by license sales
revenues; the state's share of the federal Pittman-Robertson program, which
is an excise tax collected through the sale of sporting arms and
ammunition; and monies from the sale of oil, gas, coal, timber and minerals
derived from State Game Lands.
Note to Editors: If you would like to receive Game Commission news
releases via e-mail, please send a note with your name, address, telephone
number and the name of the organization you represent to:
For Information Contact:
Jerry Feaser