Michigan’s Department of Natural Resources has confirmed 2013 as one of the safest years for hunters. According to the Associated Press, carelessness was the most cited cause of injury last year for the state, which saw eight people injured and one man killed in an accidental shooting.
“For the hundreds of thousands of hunters in Michigan, to have nine serious hunting accidents makes them relatively rare,” DNR officer Joe Molnar told The Alpena News.
As with many states, Michigan officials attributes safer seasons to better hunter education courses. Last year is part of a trend of decreased incidents over recent years. In 2012, the DNR reported one fatality and 14 injuries. In 1960, that number included 11 deaths and 296 injuries.
“Hunter education instructors are vital to passing along Michigan’s hunting and outdoor heritage to the next generation of hunters,” said DNR hunter education supervisor Jon Wood.
While Michigan offers online courses, a big push was made in 2013 to find more instructors in Southeast Michigan. All instructors are non-paid volunteers, and devote their time to teaching child and adult hunters alike about basic safety skills.
However, officials say that even veteran hunters can make mistakes. The majority of incidents last year were due to improper handling of firearms or crossbows.
“It’s pretty common of what we see every year,” Molnar said. “People become complacent in handling weapons. They have been handling them for years, and any time you become comfortable, that’s when accidents happen.”
Image courtesy Michigan Department of Natural Resouces