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Hunter safety – it's working

Izaak Walton Report

April 6, 2012
Blaine Kloppenborg , The Daily Freeman Journal

Believe it: Hunting with firearms is one of the safest recreational activities in America. The National Shooting Sports Foundation, the trade association for the firearms industry, has compiled data that shows hunting ranks third in safety when compared to 28 recreational pursuits, ranging from baseball to wrestling.

Hunting with firearms has an injury rate if 0.05 percent which equates to about one injury per 2,000 participants, a safety level bettered only by camping, .01 percent and billiards .02 percent. Get this: for comparison, golf has an injury rate .16 percent or one injury per 622 participants, while tackle football topped the list with an injury rate of 5.27 percent or one injury per 19 participants.

Many people have the misconception that hunting is unsafe, but the data tells a different story. Comprehensive hunter education classes that emphasize the basic rules of firearm safety and a culture of hunters helping fellow hunters practice safe firearm handling in the field are responsible for this good record. OK, let me put it this way to put hunting's safety standard in perspective: Compared to hunting, a person is 11 times more likely to be injured playing volleyball; 19 times more likely to be injured snowboarding; 25 times more likely to be injured cheerleading or bicycle riding; 34 times more likely to be injured playing soccer or skateboarding; and 105 times more likely to be injured playing tackle football. The total number of hunters who went afield last year is estimated at 16.3 million. Of that total, approximately 8,122 sustained injuries, or 50 for every 100,000 participants.

Article Photos

The vast majority of hunting accidents more than 6,600 were tree stand related. There are more automobile accidents in one hour every day here in Iowa than there are hunting accidents in the whole United States in one season. It's not just in the hunting fields that firearms are being safely used either. The most recent data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that firearms constitute just one-half of one percent of all unintentional fatalities in the U.S., including those in the home.

River reservoirs ready for runoff?

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers says its river reservoirs have begun the spring runoff season with more space than the normal amount for flood control storage. Runoff is expected to be near normal this year. Corps officials said the reservoirs were at desired levels last spring, but a late buildup of snow to the north of us with additional heavy spring rains overpowered the system. The Missouri River in particular was caught by a late buildup of snow in the Rockies and heavy rains in Montana and other upstream areas in May led to record runoff.

The mushrooms are up

Those little gray one's are all over the place, especially in the tall grass where you can't find them. The edge of the woods seems to be the hottest place to find them this year. They don't last this hot, windy weather dries them out pretty quickly. They're up one day and gone the next.

Everything is different out there this spring. Monday morning, I went for a walk in the woods with a couple of old time turkey hunters. They were scouting out the territory and let me tag along. The timber is a lot greener than usual everything this spring is ahead of schedule the spring flowers are in bloom, and the foliage is thicker. Turkey calls aren't going to carry as far this spring and the turkeys will be harder to see in the woods. Be sure to wear plenty of wood tick repellent, too. The little buggers are thick this spring. Then too, the food sources bugs, grubs and plants are more plentiful this spring. Most of the turkeys won't be on the edges of the wood this year they'll be deeper in the woods around the food supply. I think we're going to see more hunting and a lot less calling this year. We'll have to work for every one we get. They're in flocks and grouping up tight. They haven't scattered yet. It's going to be feast or famine. The guys with the most skill will get the turkey. I don't think you can count on blind luck to help you out this spring. Mother Nature is making up her own rules for us.

On the other hand, having said this, I may have to eat my own words. Richard Rasmussen was telling me Sunday that he saw some "huge wild turkeys out on the Links Golf Course" recently. Imagine that. We hunters spend hours even days out in the woods searching for wild turkeys, when all the while they're right here in town in the middle of the golf course. But then I guess I shouldn't be surprised because most of the bald eagles I saw this winter were perched in the tree-tops of the Links Golf Course. Go figure.

And now have a good weekend.



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