The great state of Texas is home to approximately 1.2 million registered hunters and in 2015, those hunters shattered the hunter safety records of the past.
“Understanding and following basic safe hunting practices, especially knowing your safe zone of fire and keeping your gun’s muzzle pointed in a safe direction at all times, would prevent a very large percentage of the accidents we see,” Steve Hall, who heads hunter education programs for Texas Parks and Wildlife Department told Chron.com. “Those were the most common causes of hunting-related accidents last year.”
With only two hunting-related incidents and a pair of fatalities, Texan hunters set new standards for safety with the overall lowest number of hunting-related incidents since the state began compiling such data nearly half a century ago. While the two fatalities are not the lowest numbers of fatalities on record, they do match six other years as tied for the lowest recorded hunting fatalities in a hunting year.
The state experienced a record low of 1.7 incidents per 100,000 licensed hunters in 2015, the motor vehicle accident rate, in comparison, is 13 per 100,000 people.
Impressive facts aside, regulators in Texas still believe there is room for improvement.
“Hunting is a very safe activity,” Hall said. “But we can always do some things to make it safer.”
These promising numbers are a result of diligent education programming and ethical mentoring from experienced hunters across Texas and in many other states that are also experiencing all-time lows when it comes to hunting-related accidents.
In 2015, a large portion of these incidents arose from dove hunting. Too often hunters were unaware of their surroundings when swinging their guns, leaving other hunters with the sting of stray pellets.
This news coming just weeks before the state’s dove hunting seasons open on September 1st, regulators are hopeful that those heading afield, no matter what prey they are after, adhere to the safe practices and regulations most have been taught since a very young age.