The New York Department of Environmental Conservation announced that the 2015 hunting season proved to be one of the safest ever by reporting zero fatalities.
A bulletin released by the NYS DEC announced that the 2015 hunting season was one of the safest on record as no fatal incidents occurred during that time. The state DEC’s safety report indicated that a mere 23 hunting episodes happened with firearms during that span including 10 self-inflicted incidents and 13 dual-party incidents, the third lowest on record.
The significance was not lost on acting DEC commissioner Basil Seggos when he said, “Hunting is a strong and economically important tradition that continues to be safely enjoyed by many in New York State, and I commend hunters of all ages for maintaining high standards in hunting safety. The trend of declining hunting accidents is proof that our hunter safety education programs are working thanks, in large part, to the efforts of the 3,000 volunteer Sportsman Education Instructors that teach our hunter safety courses every year.”
These extremely important words are certainly not lost on the millions of NY residents who call themselves hunters, fishermen, hikers, and campers that routinely spend millions of hard earned dollars in the great state of New York.
Some reports indicate that hunters and fishermen in NY alone spend some $5 million a day or about $1.8 billion a year in NYS.
The state DEC is also very forthcoming about the fact that this is the first time in decades, since the 1950’s, that there has been no reported fatalities in the state during the course of its firearms season. The 2015 season was credited with the continuing trend of declining incidents in NY with the five-year average down to four per 100,000 hunters.
The DEC’s report indicated succinctly that “this year’s report indicated that eight of the victims in the multi-party incidents were not wearing hunter orange.”
While the basics of firearm safety were listed, such as assume every firearm is loaded, know where your muzzle is pointing at all times, finger off of the trigger until ready to fire, and identifying your target and what’s beyond it go without saying, the acting commissioner was already looking ahead saying, “Sportsman education is an essential and required training course for hunters and teaches future sportsmen and women how to be safe, responsible, and ethical hunters and trappers. Through our NY Open for Fishing and Hunting Initiative, Sportsman Education Programs are being enhanced and our hunting license privileges have been updated to ensure increased opportunities for recreational hunting in the state.”
Truer words were never spoken, but when our state has gone since the 1950’s without a lethal hunting incident it’s time to reeducate ourselves and our hunting brothers and sisters. Never is it a time to think that we shouldn’t talk to each of our hunting friends about where we will be in the woods, when we will be there, and what time.
Declining hunting related incidents aside, let this be the first of many years without a fatality and the start of any and all accidents disappearing forever.