GOOD NEWS: KANSAS HUNTING ACCIDENTS DOWN IN 2005
Twenty accidents in 2005, none fatal
The number of reported hunting accidents in Kansas dropped to 20 in 2005, down from 26 reported in 2004, according to a Kansas Department of Wildlife and Parks (KDWP) Hunter Education Section report. There were no fatalities although there were several very serious incidents.
Swinging on game, and its subset, victim-out-of-sight, accounted for 11 incidents. Both of the victims in the victim-out-of-sight-category were wearing blaze orange. Upland bird hunting was involved in more than half of the incidents, and there were four incidents on opening weekend of the upland season.
There was one incident of failure to properly identify a target (mistaken for game). It was a turkey hunting incident and was serious but not fatal.
In those incidents where the age of the shooter was identified, the average age was 36; two shooters were under 16; the youngest shooter was 11; and the oldest shooter 76.
There were four treestand incidents. There is no requirement for medical personnel to report these, so reliable data is not available.
"All of these incidents were preventable with proper observance of the rules of safe gun handling and common sense" said Wayne Doyle, statewide hunter education coordinator for KDWP.
The number of hunters in the field was again up due to good upland bird numbers, and hunters stayed in the field longer due to mild weather. Even though the number of incidents was not the lowest Kansas has experienced, the number is still very small considering the numbers of hunters and the time they spent afield. The latest statistics, compiled by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service for the year 2001, revealed that 291,000 hunters spent 3.7 million hours afield in Kansas. These figures may have been even higher in 2005 because of increased upland bird populations.
While any injury is lamentable, a person is still more likely to be hurt playing basketball in the driveway than to be shot while hunting.