MI: Hunting incidents continue to decline in state

Lansing – There were five gun-related accidents during the 2011
firearms deer season, which continues a downward trend that has
occurred during the past six years. Three of those incidents were
fatalities, which has caused some concern among state law
enforcement officials.

“We’re kind of disappointed in the number of fatalities,” Sgt. Jon
Wood, of the DNR’s Law Enforcement Division, told Michigan Outdoor
News. “The overall trend of incidents is still going down, so
that’s good.”

In 2006 there were 13 incidents and two fatalities during the
firearms deer-hunting season in Michigan. That was followed by 16
incidents and two fatalities in 2007, nine incidents and one
fatality in 2008, nine incidents and zero fatalities in 2009, and
six incidents and one fatality in 2010.

“I hope this year’s fatalities are an anomaly, not a trend,” Wood
said. “Overall, the firearms season was pretty safe. I’m guessing
that the number of incidents per 100,000 hunters is probably the
lowest we’ve ever had.”

Through all of the hunting seasons in 2011 there were 12 incidents
and five fatalities. One of those fatalities occurred during the
early antlerless deer season in Barry County, and the other was a
waterfowl-hunting incident in Bay County.

Careless handling of a firearm was cited as a major factor in seven
of the 12 incidents. Victim out of sight of the shooter was cited
in two. Swinging on game and shooting at an unidentified target
were identified as major factors in one incident each.

The 12th incident, which occurred during a rabbit hunt in Montcalm
County on Dec, 27, is still under investigation.

In one of the fatalities – a self-inflicted wound by a hunter in a
treestand – the victim had a blood-alcohol content of .14. Six of
the 12 incidents were self-inflicted.

“Overall, with 12 incidents, we’re still trending downward,” Wood
said. “We will not stop until we get it down to zero.”

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