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Nebraska Sees 12 Hunting-Related Incidents in 2007

January 18, 2008.

From the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission:

There were 12 hunting-related incidents in Nebraska last year, including one fatal incident, according to the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission.

The fatal incident involved a 50-year-old man who shot at a coyote with a rifle from the deck of his Saunders County home. The bullet struck and killed a 47-year old man who was hunting for deer several hundred yards away.

“Hunting incidents that result in injury or death are extremely rare in Nebraska,” said Commission Hunter Education Coordinator Mike Streeter. “It is common that the injury rate per 1,000 hunters is lower than .01 percent. The average number of persons who participates in hunting in Nebraska is around 170,000 each year, and the last 10-year average of incidents where a hunter was injured of killed is around 12 per year.”

Streeter said the incidents occurred because one or more participants did not follow safety rules. Three of the incidents were due to the shooter not paying attention to what was beyond the target and two involved falls from tree stands. Other causes were: failure to unload a firearm when it wasn’t in use, failure to practice muzzle control, and allowing the muzzle of a firearm to be pointed at another person.

“All of these incidents were preventable if the simple rules of safety had been followed,” Streeter said.

Five of the incidents took place while hunting deer, three while hunting upland birds, two while hunting nongame animals, and one each while hunting turkey and small game.

The shooters in the incidents included three age 10-19, one age 20-29, two age 30-39, one age 40-49, and three age 50-59. There was one victim age 10-19, two age 20-29, three age 30-39, two age 40-49 and two age 50-59.

“Historically in Nebraska, the most common cause for a hunting incident is the shooter swinging on game and not paying attention to what is behind their target when the gun is fired, resulting in hitting a hunting companion with shot from a shotgun,” Streeter said. “The age of the person firing the firearm is three times as likely to be in the age group 10 through 19 as any other age group.”

Streeter said hunting safety is everyone’s concern and that Nebraska hunters do an excellent job of ensuring safety each year. All hunters under age 12 are required to be accompanied by a licensed adult age 19 or older while hunting. Those age 12 or older born on or after Jan. 1, 1977 must complete a state certified Hunter Education course and carry the certificate on their person while hunting.

“Safe hunting is no accident,” Streeter said. “You are responsible for safety while afield. Follow the rules of safe hunting and enjoy the great outdoors in Nebraska.”

For more on Hunter Education, go to the Commission’s Web site at www.OutdoorNebraska.org. Click on Hunting, then pull down on the Hunting Programs menu to Hunter Education.

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