Michigan Department of Natural Resources

The 2012 hunting season saw only one fatality in the 15 incidents reported to the Michigan Department of Natural Resources, making it the safest season in the last five years. While there were three fewer incidents reported in 2011, there were two fatalities in that year.

“We continue to emphasize the importance of the hunter orange law, knowing your target and safe firearm handling, and how they all are key factors in having a safe season,” said DNR Law Enforcement Division Chief Gary Hagler. “We also continue to encourage mentors to work closely with youth hunters to teach them safe firearm handling skills. One incident this year involved a hunter under the age of 10.”

The incident involving a fatality in 2012 occurred in St. Clair County on September 20 when a coyote hunter reportedly shot and killed another hunter in an apparent accident. There were no hunting incidents reported in the Upper Peninsula in 2012, compared to three in 2011, including one fatality.

A total of three hunting incidents involved minors as the shooter, with the youngest being six years old. The six-year-old was unloading his firearm when it discharged and unintentionally struck his father causing a leg wound.

Michigan hunting incident statistics for the last six years are:

2012:  15 incidents with one fatality

2011:  12 incidents with five fatalities

2010:  14 incidents with three fatalities

2009: 18 incidents with two fatalities

2008:  22 incidents with two fatalities

2007:  32 incidents with two fatalities

Hagler credits Michigan’s hunter education program with Michigan’s low rates of incidents over the last few years.

“There is no question that hunter education saves lives and reduces injuries,” Hagler said. “It is incumbent that anyone considering hunting as a recreational pursuit completes a hunter education course with one of our highly dedicated volunteer instructors.”

For more information on Michigan’s hunter education, visit www.michigan.gov/huntereducation. Summaries of Michigan’s hunting incident reports can be found at www.michigan.gov/conservationofficers.