The 2014 New York hunting season closed with the second lowest number of hunting related-shooting incidents on record according to the State Department of Environmental Conservation, but almost half of all hunting accidents occurred in Northern New York.
Of the 22 hunting incidents that occurred in 2014, nine occurred in Northern New York. Statewide, eight accidents resulted in self-inflicted injuries, eleven involved members of the same hunting party and three occurred between a victim and shooter who did not know each other. Incidents in Northern New York included:
10/14 – Warren. The victim was struck with several pellets from a round discharged by the shooter who was shooting at waterfowl.
10/17 – Hamilton. While turkey hunting the shooter discharged one round resulting in eleven pellets striking the victim.
10/22 – Herkimer. While reportedly hunting for bear, the shooter discharged one round from his rifle. The bullet stuck his brother in the groin area.
10/25 – Herkimer. Self-inflicted – While small game hunting the victim placed the muzzle of his .22 rifle on his foot while texting. During that process he discharged one round into his right foot resulting in the loss of a toe.
11/22 – Herkimer. The victim was struck with one round in the left leg from a firearm discharged by the shooter.
12/1 – Essex. The victim was struck in the lower abdomen with one round fired by his friend.
12/6 – Clinton. Self-inflicted – While goose hunting the victim discharged one round into his right foot. Several pellets struck his toes.
12/12 – Jefferson. Self-inflicted – The victim had used two loaded shells reversed in his shotgun magazine to act as a plug for migratory bird hunting. After discharging one round at a goose the follower shell exploded causing facial and hand injuries.
12/27 – Herkimer. Self-inflicted – The victim was hunting coyote with two other hunters. While reportedly sitting on a log, the victim’s rifle discharged striking him in the right buttock.
New York’s hunting incident rate (incidents per 100,000 hunters) has fallen by more than 75 percent since the 1960s. The past five-year average is down to 4.3 incidents per 100,000 hunters, compared to 19 per 100,000 in the 1960s.
The primary rules of hunter safety are:
- assume every firearm to be loaded;
- control the firearm muzzle in a safe direction;
- keep finger off the trigger until ready to fire;
- identify your target and what lies beyond; and
- wear hunter orange.