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