DEC: NYS hunting incident rate increased slightly in 2020

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ALBANY, N.Y. (WWTI) — The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation has released the 2020 hunting safety statistics for the state.

According to the DEC, these statistics reported that the hunting-related shooting incident rate has increased slightly, however the report is consistent with the low incident rates observed over the past two decades.

“Last year, more than 600,000 New Yorkers and visitors enjoyed the abundant hunting opportunities available in New York as people headed afield in search of outdoor activities during the COVID-19 pandemic,” stated DEC Commissioner Seggos. “The success of our new online hunter education program and the ongoing dedication of DEC’s hunter education volunteers have helped hunting continue to be among the safest forms of outdoor recreation.”

Specifically the Department of Environmental Conservation documented 22 hunting-related incidents and three fatalities in 2020. This figure is an increase from the record-low 12 incidents documented in 2019, however the DEC confirmed that the incidents in the 2020 season continues the downward trend in incidents observed over the past 20 years.

The DEC also added that nine of the hunting related shooting incidents in 2020 were two-party firearm incidents and 13 were self inflicted, claiming that “all of these incidents could have been prevented if hunting safety rules had been followed.”

Further examination by the DEC of the incidents revealed that seven victims involved were not wearing hunter orange or pink when out hunting.

The DEC continued to remind hunters to remember hunting safety. These primary rules include:

  • Treat every firearm as if it were loaded
  • Control the muzzle, keep it pointed in a safe direction
  • Identify targets and what lies beyond
  • Keep finger off the trigger until ready to fire
  • Wear hunter orange or pink

New York State first started recording hunter-related shooting incidents in the 1960s. Since then, the number of hunters in New York State has decline about 20%, while the incident rate has declined nearly 80%.

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