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Pennsylvania personal injury lawyer stresses importance of safety when hunting

James Christopher MunleyWe’re in the midst of hunting season across the country, and we can’t stress enough the importance of safety. As millions of hunters are heading into the woods this month, they must keep safety top of mind.

Reports of hunting accidents have already begun, and in the past few weeks alone, there have been many. In two separate hunting accidents in Iowa this past weekend, a 14-year old accidentally shot himself in the leg while setting traps and another hunter fell around 25 feet from a tree stand, sustaining serious injuries. In Oregon, a trooper with the Oregon State Police accidentally shot and killed his 20-year-old daughter while hunting. In Wisconsin, a bow hunter was accidentally shot in the head with a gun by another hunter. In Montana, a 56-year old man was accidentally shot and critically injured by a 13-year-old who was hunting with him, and in Kansas, a man was accidentally shot in the back while hunting.

Hunting Accidents in PA

In a horrific hunting accident in Western Pennsylvania earlier this fall, Reuters reported that a newborn baby was shot in the head while lying on his fathers lap at home. The child was accidentally shot by a man who was hunting on a neighboring property. The authorities referred to it as a freak hunting accident.

These accidents are not only related to guns. Two doctors died while hunting in Oklahoma City, when their ATV overturned, and in Tennessee, and a hunter was killed in a fall while attempting to fix a tree stand.

According to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, in 2011, which is the most recent year for which statistics are available, there were 13.7 million hunters in the United States over the age of 16. 12.7 million of these hunters used shotguns or handguns for hunting. Conservation Force reports that there are actually three times more hunters in the U.S. than commonly published. Fox Nation has referred to hunters as the world’s largest army.

The Minnesota Star Tribune quoted statistics from the National Shooting Sports Foundation as saying that 16.3 million hunters were hunting last year and that they suffered an estimated 7,300 injuries.

According to the Quality Deer Management Association (QDMA), Pennsylvania is the state with highest concentration of deer hunters in the nation, with more hunters per square mile than any other state. The QDMA reported that the Northeast averages nearly twice as many hunters per square mile than the Midwest and Southeast and ten times as many as the West. Pennsylvania averages over ten hunters per square mile.

Mistaking another person for game is the most common cause of hunting accidents, and many of these accidents are serious or fatal. There are safety guidelines that should be followed to reduce the risk of a hunting accident.

• Always wear bright orange – hat, cap, vest, jacket. Wearing orange reduces the chance of a hunting-related accident.
• Never assume you are alone in the woods.
• Be 100% sure of your target before taking a shot. Prior to taking a shot, check the background for people, buildings, and roads to make sure the area is safe. Use binoculars or a scope to check the distance.
• Treat every firearm as if it is loaded, even if you are told it is not.
• Always keep the muzzle of the gun pointed in a safe direction.
• Never touch the trigger until you are ready to shoot at a game animal or a safe target.
• Be sure the barrel if clear of obstructions.
• Never point a firearm at anything you do not intend to shoot.
• Store guns and ammunition separately.
• Unload firearms when not in use.
• Never drink or use drugs before hunting.

If you have been injured in a hunting accident, the Pennsylvania personal injury lawyers at Munley Law Personal Injury Attorneys can evaluate your situation and ensure you are fairly compensated for your injuries. For more information, visit www.munley.com.

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