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Hunting Accidents Are Rare, But We Can Do Better

Dr. Gary Mauser notes that accidental firearm deaths are low and have been falling for decades.[i]

“Thanks to a strong culture of safety in the firearms community, gun accidents are rare,” Mauser writes. “In the past five years (2015-2019), the most recent years statistics are available, 11 Canadians died each year from an accidental firearms injury.”

“This is less than half the number of accidental deaths in the early 2000s,” he says, “when 26 people lost their lives through firearms accidents.”

While hunting accidents are rare, they still happen. In 2013, for example, six Ontario hunters were shot in the first week of hunting season.[ii]

According to information released by the International Hunter Education Association, the U.S. and Canada combined see around 1,000 hunting accidents, specifically involving shooting injuries, on an annual basis. Moreover, close to 10% of these hunting accidents end in death.[iii]

The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources tracks hunting incidents and fatalities, recording 11 hunting incidents in 2020 and 12 in 2019, and 0 fatalities both years. That was for years during which 883,323 and 841,063 hunting licenses were sold, respectively.

“The number one hunting accident — which everyone thinks (would be) gun-related, which it is not — is people falling when they’re either climbing up or climbing down from tree stands,” said Scott Rall, president of Nobles County Pheasants Forever in Minnesota.[iv]

Lest we become complacent, here are a few tips for staying safe this hunting season:

  • Vigilance is our best ally to prevent hunting accidents.
  • Maintain your awareness of your surroundings and the location of your hunting partners.
  • Wear hunter orange clothing to make yourself visible to other hunters you may not be aware of in your area.
  • Carry a basic first aid kit and know how to use its contents in the case of an accident or injury.

Finally, while you’re out hunting or target shooting, please remember and implement the four basic rules of firearm safety:

  • Treat every firearm as if it is loaded.
  • Always point the firearm in a safe direction.
  • Be sure of your target and what is beyond.
  • Keep your finger off the trigger until you’re ready to shoot.


The life you save might be your hunting buddy’s.








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