Hunting Accident Statistics

Someone came by searching for “hunting accident statistics.”

Massive hunter safety programs have cut actual hunting fatalities by at least two thirds in 50 years. In the early 1960’s the hunting related death toll was generally given as 1,200 to 1,500 a year; now that toll is down to 400.

With only about 600 fatalities while hunting a year, we are getting to the point where the database is not large enough to give more than a general answer. Discarding fatal heart attacks in the woods and similar events that might well have occurred in the victim’s easy chair, the data I have looks like this.

Generally speaking, almost three out of four fatal hunting accidents are in some way self inflicted. Whether that was shooting oneself, walking off a cliff, falling out of a tree stand, or whatever, the victim was the last person who could have prevented the accident.

Slightly more than one in four (27.2%) of the hunting accident victims were shot by someone other than themselves.

One third of those were cases in which the victim entered the line of fire of another hunter.

And one fourth of those fatal hunting accidents the victim was mistaken for game, either by the shooter firing at rustles in the brush, or otherwise mistaking a human for their intended target.

Bottom line? Of some 400 hunting related deaths, 300 more or less were self inflicted. Of the remaining 100 or so, 32 hunters walked or rode into the line of fire of another hunter. 28 were mistaken for game. And the other 40 died of wounds inflicted in other or unspecified circumstances. And not all of those were gunshot wounds, by any means.

If you are headed out to the woods, wear that blaze orange camo. Watch where you are riding or walking so you will leave the woods the same way you entered it, not on a gurney. And if you see another hunter, speak before you rustle those bushes.


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One Response to Hunting Accident Statistics

  1. BobG says:

    Never worried too much about getting shot while hunting. You’re more likely to get shot walking in some neighborhoods I’m familiar with.

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