DNR reports decline in hunting accidents in 2013

DNRThe Department of Natural Resources (DNR) released its final tally of hunting incidents that took place during the 2013 season. There were a total of nine incidents reported, including one fatality. The total is lower than 2012, when 15 hunting incidents, including one fatality, were reported.

Of the nine incidents reported in 2013, just one was reported in the Upper Peninsula, while the others were reported in Lower Michigan.

The first hunting incident, involving a rabbit hunter, occurred in February 2013 in Shiawassee County. There were six incidents involving deer hunters during various deer hunting seasons, including the fatality, which occurred on opening day of firearm season (Nov. 15) in Montmorency County. Six of the nine incidents involved self-inflicted firearm injuries.

“We saw a decline in the number of incidents this year but, unfortunately, had one fatal incident,” said Lt. Andrew Turner, who supervises the DNR Law Enforcement Division’s recreational safety section. “The importance of the hunter orange law, coupled with what every hunter learns in hunter education classes — these are all key factors for having a safe and enjoyable hunt.”

Turner noted that no hunters under the age of 10 had a hunting incident this year. The youngest hunter involved in an incident was a 12-year-old in St. Clair County who shot high at a deer, went over the intended target and struck a chicken coop, which caused the slug to ricochet off the coop and strike another 12-year-old in the arm.

The fatal incident in Montmorency County involved a 52-year-old hunting from a tree stand who suffered a self-inflicted gunshot wound.

There were two incidents this season involving crossbows, while the rest involved shotguns or rifles. There were no incidents in 2012 involving crossbows.

Michigan hunting incident statistics for the last six years are:

2012:  15 incidents with one fatality

2011:  12 incidents with five fatalities

2010:  14 incidents with three fatalities

2009: 18 incidents with two fatalities

2008:  22 incidents with two fatalities

2007:  32 incidents with two fatalities

“There is no doubt that hunter education saves lives and reduces injuries,” Turner said. “We pride ourselves on operating a strong hunter education program in Michigan, and it is important that anyone considering hunting as a recreational pursuit complete a hunter education class with one of our dedicated volunteer instructors who are the backbone of our program.”

(Courtesy Michigan DNR)