2021 Saw Lowest Number of Hunting Accidents Since Records Began in One State

As sad as it is to admit, hunting accidents are an unfortunate reality every season. Luckily, one state saw its lowest number of hunting accidents since records began for the 2021 season.

The state in question happens to be New York, Fox News shared. According to a recent report, 2021 was the safest hunting season the state has ever seen. The New York Department of Environmental Conservation attributes this to educators. They also credit local programs for enacting practices designed to keep hunters safe.

The NY DEC issued a statement on that matter. In it, they confirmed during last year’s season, they only investigated nine hunting-related shooting accidents. One of these included a fatality, while two others included incidents with self-inflicted wounds. The organization dubbed the 2021 season the “safest-ever for New York hunters.” It credits a big part of the decrease in accidents to its Hunter Education Program, an initiative launched in 1949.

DEC Commissioner Basil Seggos commented on hunting being a practiced pastime in the state and about the Hunter Education Program. “Hunting is an enjoyable and safe form of outdoor recreation with a long and storied history in New York State,” Seggos said. “This past year was the safest-ever on record in New York, with the lowest number of hunting-related shooting incidents since DEC’s Hunter Education Program began in 1949.”

All first-time hunters in New York must complete relevant education courses for their preferred hunting style. Additionally, the DEC encourages hunters to remember and follow basic safety tips. This includes awareness regarding loaded firearms, wearing orange or pink, and hesitation pulling the trigger.

Michigan Issues a Lifetime Hunting Ban to Poacher

While New York experienced record lows in accidents, Michigan appeared to suffer poaching problems. In one notable incident, a hunter received a lifetime ban.

Fox News reported late last month Michigan state officials permanently banned Justin Ernst from hunting. This comes after he pleaded guilty to numerous charges related to a poaching incident last year. Besides the ban, authorities also issued him a $25,000 fine and prison time for up to five years.

Ernst’s charges included one count of felony possession of a firearm and one count of obtaining a hunting license while ineligible. He also admitted guilt for three counts of illegally possessing/taking whitetail deer. David Shaw, assistant chief of the Michigan Department of Natural Resources Law Enforcement Division, issued a statement about the arrest.

“We’re satisfied that this criminal will be imprisoned for robbing ethical hunters, damaging crops and endangering others by recklessly driving through fields and shooting deer at night,” Shaw said. “We hope this serious sentence serves its intended purpose and are grateful for the strong message rendered by the 36th Circuit Court.”