My Challenges Blog #7

Hello and welcome back to another weekly edition of my blog on Hunters Safety Education.  If this is your first time visiting, be sure to go back to the home page and check out the earlier blogs.  Also definitely check out the articles I posted on the Must Reads!! tab.

This week I want to get into some of the problems researchers face when exploring these issues and possible some solutions to these challenges.  I have been researching this topic for over two months now and the biggest issue I am facing is that hunting accidents, specifically in my home state of Maryland, are grossly under reported.

The main source of information where you can find actual statistics of hunting accidents is the International Hunters Education Association.  I applaud the work they have put into compiling these statistics however there are several issues with the data.  Firstly, the most recent data available is from 2007.  We are quickly approaching 2016, almost a decade removed from the most recent incidents available to the public.  Oddly enough, up until 2007 the IHEA had produced statistics on hunting incidents every year starting in 1994 and then all of a sudden, the reports stopped.

There is an interesting theory as to why these reports are no longer made.  It has to do with our old friends at the NSSF.  If you have not heard of the report from the National Shooting Sports Foundation, you need to check it out here.  Then be sure to read this report that shows just how skewed the NSSF reporting was.

So as I was searching for more recent data on the IHEA website, I noticed a small credit to the NSSF in the lower corner.  “This website was made possible by a grant from the National Shooting Sports Foundation,” is written in fine print on the homepage.  So the IHEA has been putting out these hunting incident reports until the NSSF, the same group that funds the IHEA web page, released a highly publicly criticized report about how safe hunting is.   Strange that there are no hunting incident reports in the years surrounding the NSSF claims.  I don’t see how this is coincidental.

The second and most important factor in under reporting of hunting accidents is that there is no government agency collecting the data.  As i said earlier the IHEA is the best place to find statistics and they are purely voluntary collections from states natural resources departments.  In 2007, 30 states did not report any data at all!

These factors are proving to be major obstacles in my research, but i will not be phased.  I am currently working on a large primary research survey that I am looking forward to sharing with you in the coming weeks.

With the rut coming upon us, bucks will be chasing doe and more and more hunters will be hitting the woods.  Be sure to use extra caution as you get out there this week. Check your surroundings and be wary of other hunters on public lands. Thanks for joining me on this adventure. Feel free to leave a comment.

Until next week

Lane.

The Ugly Truth Blog #6

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Hello again,

Welcome back to another weekly edition of my blog. If you are just joining me, i recommend you go back and definitely read the previous blogs to get a better idea of why I am writing.  Also don’t forget to check out the links I have provided to interesting and informative articles under the Must Reads tab,

Today I want mainly talk about an article from the National Shooting Sports Foundation that was released a few years ago.  The article, titled Hunting is Safer than Golf and Most Other Activities, attempts to convince the reader that Hunting is one of safest activities you can partake in.  On the surface, this statement seems absurd and as you look into the research of the article, it becomes clear that it truly is absurd.

The report essentially used data from the National Sporting Goods Association to estimate the number of of sports participants in the U.S. They then used estimates from the Consumer Products Safety Commission and the National Electronic Injury Surveillance System to total the number of injuries for each sport.  Divide the number of sports participants by the number of injuries for each sport and voila, hunting is the 3rd safest sport in America.

It is easy to see how this report misrepresents the facts.  My first question is how did they account for the hundreds of yearly deaths that occur while hunting that are extremely rare in any other sport.  In fine print, the report states “Injury versus fatality data by activity are unavailable.” Seems just a little too convenient if you ask me.

In a very well written rebuttal by Nick Leghorn from The Truth About Guns, we find the truth behind the research flaws in the original report.  I will do my best to give you a quick synopsis but I highly encourage you inform yourself by reading the entire report.

To start, the number of hunting accidents reported by the NSSF combines data from the CPSC and the International Hunter Education Association. Somehow, the CPSC only accounts for two categories for hunting accidents but has six categories for fireplace accidents. Also while the original report largely relies on data from the IHEA, it fails to inform the reader that IHEA numbers are purely voluntary coming from states Department of Natural Resources where some states do not submit any data whatsoever.  This largely underestimates the actual number of accidents involved in hunting.  Like I previously stated, the rebuttal also touches on how the report does not account for the severity of the injury. Refusing to account for deaths automatically skews the data presented.  Overall, the report by the NSSF is inadequately researched and intentionally misrepresented.

I have had a few people bring up this report to me in the past few weeks when I have been doing research for this blog which is why I wanted to share the truth with you.  These people did as many do and took a biased report at face value. They did not do their own homework and were misinformed.

Thanks again for joining me on this adventure and I look forward to continuing to share my findings with you.  Feel free to leave a comment.

Until next week,

Lane

7 Deadly Sins (Part 2) Blog #5

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Hey guys,

Thanks for joining me again. Be sure to check out the earlier blogs and the articles under the Must Reads!! tab.

Last week i got into the first 3 of 7 accidents that hunters and the public may not be aware of that happen while hunting.  In the second installment of my 2-part series, I want to finish the final 4 with you.  The main reason I am spotlighting these accidents is that majority of these accidents are not taught to us when we take the Hunters Safety Course.  If the goal of the Hunters Safety Course is to keep hunters safe, then it would make sense that we be informed of the different types of accidents and how to avoid them.

I am going to pick up where I left off with number 4 where Jason Herbert, in 7 Hunting Accidents to Avoid, lists hunter confrontations. This accident is fairly rare but when it does occur it almost always ends badly.  I don’t know why but something about big bucks drive hunters a little crazy.  When a hunter shoots a deer and that deer runs off to the neighboring property, the shooter more often than not hops the fence to retrieve his prize. Depending on the size of said prize and the other landowner’s personality.  A peaceful discussion can turn ugly. Verbal arguments are a guarantee with physical confrontation likely as well.  With both hunters carrying a weapon, in extreme cases, these can turn deadly.

Another confrontation is with poachers.  Hunters put in a lot of work every year to get that once in a lifetime buck but often that opportunity is taken from them when poachers illegally shoot deer.  Poachers wander property that they do not have permission to be on, often and night and shoot game out of season or at night when they are bedded down.  When a hunter sees a poacher, he justifiably could become enraged.  There are many cases where a hunter has confronted a poacher only to be left fighting for his life with a gunshot wound.  The general rule is, if you don’t know the owner of the property you need to get to, or the person who has wandered onto your property, get the Natural Resources Police involved.  Its their job to handle situations likes these.

The 5th accident that has shown an increase in recent years is ATV accidents.  Hunters have started using ATV’s for clearing food plots, dragging big game from thickets, and most commonly transportation from camp to a hunting site.  ATV’s are built for rough terrain but far too often, hunters push the limits of their stability trying to take a shortcut or through reckless use.  Proper safety equipment and operations are another aspect left out of the Hunters Safety Course.

Accident to avoid 6 is drowning.  This is common in waterfowl hunting.  For deer hunters it is fairly uncommon but nevertheless important.  With scents being an important part to hunting, hunters often wont wear life vests when they take to the waters.  With weight of extra equipment or even big game that has been killed, boats and canoes handle differently which can lead to overturning, hypothermia, and drowning. Again another aspect of hunting excluded from the safety course.

Finally, accident number 7 is dangerous animals.  Bear, mountain lions, poisonous snakes, and rutting deer all claim lives of hunters during the year.  Being aware of the nature of frightened animals is one way to protect yourself from the wild.

That wraps up my 2-part series and as you should now know, there are many different ways hunters get injured or killed each year.  It is our responsibility as hunters to prepare ourselves and keep our loved ones safe. Do your part to be safe and make sure others do as well.

Until next week,

Lane