Are hunting accidents common?
Well, it’s that time of year again. The holidays? Cooler weather? FBS standings getting serious? Sure, but we’re talking about hunting season. And hunting is just about as popular an activity in the SEC as football. Unfortunately, hunting accidents can be much more deadly.
Where do most hunting accidents happen?
The Alabama Division of Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries annually compiles and reports statistics and information from submitted hunting incident reports. In other states such as Georgia, Mississippi, Florida, and Tennessee, where we have represented hunting accident clients, they are not so forthcoming with their statistics.
Alabama’s report only captures incidents outside of a building that results in injury or death to any person as a result of a person’s actions while hunting game which is attributable directly or indirectly to a firearm or bow while in-game habitat. It doesn’t capture all the other injuries and deaths which occur when hunting but does capture tree stand accidents. The latest report compiles incidents occurring from September 2021 through August 2022.
According to the Report, compared to other sports, hunting is not only safe but getting safer. The Report, citing American Sports Data and the National Shooting Sports Foundation, indicates that hunting ranks lower than basketball, football, tennis, cheerleading, bicycling, golf, and even bowling in the total number of injuries per 100 participants. Of course, the injuries from hunting accidents are a lot more serious because weapons are involved.
15 total incidents
10 non-fatal firearms incidents
6 two-party accidents
0 fatal firearms incidents
5 non-fatal tree stand incidents
0 fatal tree stand incidents
Hunting Accidents Statistics
This is the fewest number of total accidents ever reported by the Division. The worst year, so far as the number of total accidents is concerned, was 1988-1989 (57 reported). That number was driven by many non-fatal accidents (49). The deadliest year occurred the first year these statistics were reported, 1973-1974, with 19 total fatalities (all firearm related). Clearly, the educational and safety efforts made by the Division and others have helped drive this number down. The 2021-2022 reporting year is the first with no fatal incidents. These statistics mirror what is going on across the country so far as firearm-related hunting accidents are concerned.
Of course, the Report doesn’t capture all the incidental deaths and injuries caused by car accidents, ATV accidents, carbon monoxide poisoning, drownings, falls, hypothermia, electrocutions, and the hosts of other ways that poor design or negligence kills and injures those desiring to enjoy some time in the outdoors pursuing a pastime that has long been a part of history and tradition in this part of the country.