From the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission
-- LINCOLN, Neb. -- There were 12 hunting-related incidents in Nebraska during 2008, including one fatal incident, according to Nebraska Hunter Education Coordinator Mike Streeter.
The fatal incident occurred Nov. 20 in Platte County, when a 50-year-old man died after falling from a tree stand while hunting deer. He was found dead at the base of the tree.
"Hunting incidents that result in injury or death are extremely rare in Nebraska," Streeter said. "It is common that the injury rate per 1,000 hunters is lower than .01 percent. The average number of persons who participate in hunting in Nebraska is around 170,000 each year, and the last 10-year average of incidents where a hunter was injured or 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 occurred when the victim was out of sight of the shooter. Two of the incidents were due to the shooter not paying attention to what was beyond the target. The other seven hunting-related incidents last year each were caused by different unsafe practices. They were discharging a firearm in or on a vehicle; failure to identify the target; removing or placing a loaded firearm into a vehicle; a ricochet; shooter stumbled and fell; failure to use fall arrest system; and dog knocked firearm off rest.
Streeter said: "All of these incidents were preventable if the simple rules of safety had been followed."
The shooters in the incidents included five age 10-19, one age 20-29, one age 40-49, two age 50-59, one over 60 years, and the age of another was unknown. There was one victim age 10-19, two age 30-39, two age 40-49, three age 50-59, one over 60 years and the age of one other victim was unknown.
Streeter said through the years the most common cause of a hunting incident in Nebraska has been 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. “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,” he said.
"Hunting safely is everyone's responsibility and Nebraska hunters do an excellent job of hunting safely each year," Streeter said. "Safe hunting is no accident. You are responsible for safety while afield. Follow the rules of safe hunting and enjoy the great outdoors and hunting opportunities 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 and click on Hunter Education.