PRATT -- Folks in the Kansas Department of Wildlife and Parks Hunter Education Section are excited about statistics -- recent statistics that reveal a 53 percent reduction in the number of hunting accidents from the 1999 to the 2000 seasons. Only 17 hunting-related accident were reported this last season (plus one is still under investigation). There were no fatalities.
"This is the lowest total for accidents ever," says statewide hunter Education coordinator Wayne Doyle. "It^s a great tribute to our volunteers across the state."
Doyle adds that the next lowest years are 21 accidents in 1992 and 1995.
Counting the possible accident still under investigation, the 2000 hunting season
injuries involving discharge of gun or bow are broken down as follows:
* Upland birds- 8
* Dove -- 2
* Waterfowl -- 1
* Turkey -- 2
* Deer -- 1
* Small game -- 3
* Unknown --1
* Swinging on game -- 4
* Victim moved into line of fire --3
* Careless handling of firearm -- 3
* Victim hit by ricochet -- 3
* Stumbled and fell onto own arrows -- 1
* Victim out of sight of shooter -- 1
* Mistaken for game (turkey) -- 1
* Faulty equipment -- 1
* unknown -- 1
Four of the accidents were self-inflicted. Two upland accidents (25 percent) were caused by swinging on game. This is unusual because in most years, swinging on game not only accounts for almost all upland game hunting accidents, it is the usually dominant type among all accidents totaled. In 1999, there were 32 accidents, and 100 percent of upland accidents in 1999 were swinging on game accidents.
Even if the incident under investigation is counted in these numbers, one thing becomes very clear: hunting is one of the safest pastimes in the state. There are approximately 170,000 licensed hunters in Kansas. This does not count hunters who are younger than 16 or older than 64 because they don^t need licenses in Kansas. Multiply an estimated number of hunters from these figures by any conservative estimate of the number of hours each hunter spends in the filed in a year, and a picture of
just how safe hunting is quickly emerges.
Hunter Education Volunteer instructors across Kansas spend thousands of hours of their own time training young people in the safe handling of firearms, conservation ethics, wildlife management basics, and other topics. Their efforts have paid off over the years, nurturing not only safer hunters but hunters who are more aware of the needs of all wildlife and who are sensitive to outdoor ethics.
For more information on this program, visit the Kansas Department of Wildlife and Parks website, www.kdwp.state.ks.us, email firstname.lastname@example.org, or phone (620) 672 5911 and ask for Hunter Education. -30-