Tonawanda News — The 2012 New York hunting season had the lowest number of hunting-related shooting incidents on record, New York state Department of Environmental Conservation Commissioner Joe Martens said Monday.
Last year’s statistics totalled 24 “personal incidents,” half of which were self-inflicted wounds, according to Martens. Two of those incidents include fatalities during deer season when the individuals were shot by members of their own hunting group.
Overall, however, Martens indicated the number of incidents related to hunting are declining. Since the 1960s, the number of hunters overall has dropped 20 percent the number of hunting incidents fell 70 percent through 2012.
During the last five years there has been an average of 5.3 incidents per 100,000 hunters compared with 19 per 100,000 in the 1960s.
Martens said that Gov. Andrew Cuomo and the DEC are working to expand hunting opportunities across the state, while a solid record of safety goes a long way toward those efforts.
“These declining statistics prove that New York does have a safety-conscious generation of hunters, in great thanks to the committed efforts of more than 2,500 volunteer sportsman education instructors,” Martens said.
There were no hunting-related shooting incidents reported during the first youth hunt for deer, which took place on Columbus Day weekend. Martens added that trained instructors certified by DEC teach safe, preaching responsible and ethical outdoors practices and the important role of hunters and trappers in conservation aided the effort. Courses are offered free of charge by one of some 2,500 volunteer instructors across the state.