From the North Dakota Fish and Game Department
-- The number of incidents involving North Dakota hunters in 2008 was below the average of the past decade, and nearly half what occurred in 2007. But sadly, two involved fatalities.
Jon Hanson, hunter education coordinator for the North Dakota Game and Fish Department, said 10 hunting related incidents were reported in 2008, down from 19 in 2007. On average, about 13-15 incidents have occurred annually over the past decade.
“Even one incident is one too many,” Hanson said. “We know certain situations often dictate hunter excitement, such as a pheasant flushing or a deer breaking from cover, but with the right mindset all hunting incidents are avoidable.”
Hanson stresses the importance of planning your hunt ahead of time, especially when hunting within a party. “Map out your hunt,” he added. “Know where the other hunters are at, where they are going and where they will end up. That way shots should never be fired in the direction where other hunters are out of sight, because you know someone is over there.”
In 2008, six incidents involved hunters shooting shotguns (five while hunting pheasants and one waterfowl) and four were rifle-related (all in pursuit of deer). Residents were involved in seven incidents, nonresidents three. The average age of the shooter was 31, while the average age victims were 40.
Major factors included victim out of sight of shooter (three); careless handling (two); discharge in and around a vehicle (two); victim moved into line of fire (one); shooter swinging on game (one); and barrel obstruction (one).