Newtown, CT – Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise: Hunting with firearms is safe; in fact, hunting with firearms is one of the safest recreational activities in America.
With hunting season in full swing across the country, the National Shooting Sports Foundation, the trade association for the firearms industry, has compiled data that shows hunting ranks third in safety when compared to 28 other recreational pursuits, ranging from baseball to wrestling. Hunting with firearms has an injury rate of 0.05 percent, which equates to about 1 injury per 2,000 participants, a safety level bettered only by camping (.01 percent) and billiards (.02 percent). For comparison, golf has an injury rate of 0.16 percent (1 injury per 622 participants), while tackle football topped the list of activities with an injury rate of 5.27 percent (1 injury per 19 participants).
“Many people have the misconception that hunting is unsafe, but the data tells a different story,” said Jim Curcuruto, NSSF’s director of industry research and analysis. “Comprehensive hunter education classes that emphasize the basic rules of firearm safety and a culture of hunters helping fellow hunters practice safe firearms handling in the field are responsible for this good record.”
To put hunting’s safety standing into perspective, compared to hunting a person is . . .
- 11 times more likely to be injured playing volleyball
- 19 times more likely to be injured snowboarding
- 25 times more likely to be injured cheerleading or bicycle riding
- 34 times more likely to be injured playing soccer or skateboarding
- 105 more times likely to be injured playing tackle football.
The number of hunters who went afield last year is estimated at 16.3 million. Of that total, approximately 8,122 sustained injuries, or 50 per 100,000 participants. The vast majority of hunting accidents–more than 6,600–were tree stand-related. Though recent accurate figures on fatalities related to hunting are not available, statistics from 2002 show 99 fatal hunting accidents.
It’s not just in the hunting fields that firearms are being used safely either. The most recent data (2008) from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that firearms constitute just 1/2 of 1 percent of all unintentional fatalities in the United States, including those in the home,.
The injury data NSSF used to compile this hunter-safety report comes from the National Electronic Injury Surveillance System of the Consumer Products Safety Commission 2010 and the International Hunter Education Association’s Hunter Incident Clearinghouse. Activity participation figures are from the National Sporting Goods Association Sports Participation in 2010 report.