By: John Goode
October 16, 1969
Getting in front of a trigger happy fellow hunter seemed to be the best way to get yourself shot last hunting season, according to Game Commission Safety Officer J. N. Kerrick. Mistaking the victim for game was the most common cause listed for accidents during the 68-69 fiscal year, but victims being out of sight of the shooter or covered by the shooter as he swung on game ranking a close second. Improper handling of guns including clubbing, handling loaded firearms in vehicles, dropped weapons and horseplay accounted for 9 accidents.
The majority of the accidents occurred at close range on clear days and in open light to open cover. Of the 46 hunting accident victims, 38 were injured and 8 lost their lives. The previous 12 month period included the same number of accidents but only seven fatalities. Only one out of each 4,000 hunters approximately becomes involved in a hunting accident either as a shooter or victim. Three of the hunting accident victims had received the hunter safety course. One of these suffered self-inflicting wounds and two were shot by other hunters.
During the fiscal year, 11,033 students were graduated from Hunter Safety Course, making the grand total 58,716 as of June 30, 1969. The fact that the hunting accident rate per 10,000 hunters has remained stable, in spite of the increase in the number of hunters pursuing their sport in Virginia, is considered evidence that the hunter safety program is effective.