The 2015 New York hunting season proved to be one of the safest on record and yielded the first year without a hunting-related shooting fatality since record-keeping began in the 1950s, according to a report by the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC).
The report showed only 23 hunting incidents in 2015, the third lowest number on record, with 10 incidents self-inflicted and 13 two-party incidents.
Eight of the 2015 victims in the multi-party incidents were not wearing hunter orange.
This continues a declining trend for New York State with the hunting-related shooting incident rate (incidents per 100,000 hunters) declining almost 80 percent since the 1960s.
The past five-year average is down to four incidents per 100,000 hunters, compared to 19 per 100,000 hunters in the 1960s.
“I commend hunters of all ages for maintaining high standards in hunting safety,” said DEC Acting Commissioner Basil Seggos on Wednesday.
“The trend of declining hunting accidents is proof that our hunter safety education programs are working,” he said.
New York State offers yearly hunter safety courses taught by 3,000 volunteer Sportsman Education Instructors, according to Seggos.
Seggos said every hunting-related shooting incident is preventable by following the primary rules of hunter safety:
• Assume every firearm is loaded;
• Control the firearm muzzle in a safe direction;
• Keep your finger off the trigger until ready to fire;
• Identify your target and what is beyond; and
• Wear hunter orange.