Hunting accidents are rare. Why? Because the vast majority of hunters respect the sport and are very religious about preparation and focusing on the moment. That being said, an accident is an accident, and that includes hunting, too. You might be surprised that the most common hunting accidents rarely involve a hunting rifle…
So, what are the most common hunting accidents? The most common hunting accidents include animal attacks falling from trees, falling off ATVs, weapon malfunctions, being hurt by other hunters, and drowning.
You do not need to be Dick Cheney to know that hunting accidents can happen. Many professional hunters are aware of the many risks you face while hunting and are therefore prepared. Vast knowledge of the most common injuries people receive while hunting will be your best tool to keep yourself safe in the wild.
The Most Common Hunting Accidents in 2023 Are…
1. Tree Stand Accidents
Tree stands are tools used mostly by deer hunters. They will set up a spot mid-way up a tree and essentially camp out until animals below cross usually. With this kind of hunting, people not securing themselves properly or falling asleep and rolling off their canopy are some of the most common accidents hunters fall victim to.
Falling is one of the most common forms of hunting injuries. You are in unfamiliar territory in a wide variety of weather. Slipping on wet rocks, walking through thick brush, and not seeing a change in land height or terrain are just a few examples of common accidents.
2. Weapon Malfunctions
Weapon malfunctions may not be as common as falls, but there will still be several every year. Every serious hunter should be well educated. There are several classes a newbie hunter can take to be sure he or she is fully knowledgeable. However, you think you know your gun or bow; mistreatment causes lots of terrible accidents every open season.
Uncleaned guns or blocked barrels can lead to gruesome, life-changing, and life-ending accidents. Using incorrect ammunition or not noticing gun wear can lead to nasty accidents as well. Whether you are using a gun or a bow, inspect every arrow, bullet, and gun before heading outdoors.
3. The Elements
Some hunters will underestimate mother nature and end up being injured or killed because they did not prepare properly for the weather and environment. The weather, either getting too hot or too cold, can cause fevers, dehydration, frostbite, and hypothermia.
A storm rolling in can cause winds capable of taking down trees and branches. Being hit or crushed by falling timber is more common than you would think. Be aware of your surroundings while moving through or camping.
4. Other Hunters or Landowners
Misfiring or accidental shootings are still one of the most common hunting accidents. Mishandling of firearms is usually the leading cause but simply being in the wrong place at the wrong time is common.
When out in the wilderness, a hunter and a property owner can also get into confrontations. Without realizing it, a hunter will kill an animal on a piece of land owned by someone else. This has led to many assault and battery cases and even some deaths.
5. Transportation Accidents
It is common for many hunters and fishers to use off-road vehicles and boats to get around in the wilderness. This, unfortunately, leads to many accidents and even drownings. Small boats are the most commonly used since it is mainly lakes and streams that a hunter will travel. Killing an animal and misjudging the weight can cause a boat to capsize.
All-Terrain Vehicles or ATVs can be a hunter’s best friend, allowing for easy transport of themselves and whatever they catch. Some terrain is unforgiving, which is why ATV accidents are a common cause of accidents.
6. Animal Attacks
Not always the most common, but animal attacks happen often enough to make this list. After shooting an animal, you put that scent in the air. Wolves and bears can smell blood from extremely far distances, so sometimes, you may quickly go from the hunter to the hunted.
Not realizing your prey is still alive happens often as well. Just because the animal goes down or is still does not mean it is dead. Many hunters will approach a still living animal in its most dangerous position, fight-or-flight mode. Do not underestimate a hoof to the head.
How Common are Hunting Accidents?
There are more causes of hunting injuries than can be counted. Fortunately, they are not that common. Most surveys count anywhere from six hundred to a thousand accidents are reported each year. This figure includes both the United States and Canada.
Out of all those figures, fatalities only make up about ten to fifteen percent of those accidents. So, on average, if a thousand injuries are reported, only seventy-five to a hundred will be fatalities.
How to Avoid Hunting Accidents
As with most things in life, education will be the best way not to experience a hunting accident. Educate yourself with hunting classes; they are offered everywhere. Allow yourself to be as familiar as possible with whatever weapon you use.
You also need to know what you are hunting and what type of environment it lives in. Know what the animal’s natural enemies are so you know what else you might run into. You need to be aware of other animals that might be around poisonous snakes, tarantulas, crocodiles, etc.
Finally, dress and pack appropriately. Do not let yourself get caught in an environment that you are not prepared for. Wind and weather can be your best friend or worst enemy while on a hunt. Having the right food and supplies and first aid is going to be your best accident prevention.