PRATT – Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism statewide Hunter Education Program coordinator Kent Barrett reports that 11 hunting-related incidents, and two treestand incidents, were reported in Kansas during the 2017 seasons, none of which were fatal.
Kansas Hunter Education staff attribute the consistently low numbers in recent years to the efforts of the state’s more than 1,400 volunteer hunter education instructors. Stationed throughout the state, hunter education volunteers work around the year to educate the public on the importance of firearms safety, ethics, wildlife and conservation.
“Our volunteer instructors certify about 9,000 students each year,” Barrett said. “And since the program began 45 years ago, more than 500,000 students have completed the course.”
While staff and volunteers would ideally like to see the number of incidents dropped to zero, current reports remain a stark contrast to statistics from 50 years ago when seven lives were lost in a year, two years in a row.
Of the 11 incidents reported in 2017, four occurred while hunters acted as “blockers” while hunting upland game; three were the result of hunters swinging on game; two were attributed to poor firearm handling; one was the result of the unsafe use of a decoy; and one was attributed to an equipment malfunction.
Neither of the hunters involved in the treestand incidents were wearing a full body harness or fall arrest system.
While 11 incidents is a low number considering the more than 5 million hunter-days spent afield each year, it doesn’t lessen the impact on the victims and their families who suffer as a result of these incidents. That’s why Kansas Hunter Education staff and instructors continue their work at-hand.
Hunting is one of the safest outdoor activities in Kansas, but everyone must do their part to keep it that way. As any Kansas Hunter Education instructor will tell you, the best piece of equipment a hunter can have afield is right between his or her ears.
To find a Hunter Education class near you, visit ksoutdoors.com/Services/Education/Hunter.