One of my favorite movies is A Christmas Story, a story with its plot centered around the main character Ralphie’s burning desire to receive a Red Ryder BB gun for Christmas. But at every turn, from his mom, to his teacher, to even the department store Santa tell Ralphie he shouldn’t have a BB gun because, yeah, you know it…you’ll shoot your eye out kid. Well Hollywood being Hollywood, on Ralphie’s first shot with his trusty Red Ryder, the BB ricochets, hitting him in the glasses, breaking them. The reason I am using A Christmas Story in an editorial that is decidedly pro gun/hunting is to illustrate the fact shooting and hunting can be dangerous if not practiced in a proper manner. And it would seem, we hunters have received that message loud and clear.
In 2013, over 16,000,000 people participated in hunting, and in that year, some 7300 were injured. Now I will be the first to admit that is a lot of injuries and there is still work to be done to make our sport safer, but when put it in context, it turns out hunting is a very safe avocation.
Per 100,000 participants, 45 injuries occurred. Put another way less than one half of one tenth of one percent of hunters incurred injury in 2013, and this isn’t just firearms accidents. This includes tree stand injuries, slip and fall, and my least favorite, gouging the high inside of your thigh crossing a barbed wire fence…that one still gives me the willies. So statistically speaking, hunting is a very safe endeavor. But how does hunting’s safety record stack up to other sports?
So for an apples to apples comparison, hunting averages 45 injuries per 100,000 participants. So yes, hunting is dramatically safer than football, baseball, and basketball; that is to be expected and I don’t participate in those much anymore. But I have been known to golf, which is statistically more than 3 times more dangerous than hunting, with 175 injuries per 100K participants. And don’t you dare make me go fishing….there’s a daredevils sport if there ever was one with 227 injuries per 100K anglers. But there is always bowling, right? Well, not really, as even bowling has more injuries, as 48 bowlers go down each year compared to hunting’s 45.
You see, hunting is one of the safest of all recreational activities. But if you really really want to play it safe, billiards and camping may be the way to go, with 19 and 12 injuries per 100K respectively. Unfortunately, reports on ping-pong and Keno were unavailable at press time.
So Mom, if you are worried about concussions, sprained limbs, and broken bones, give your kids the proper training and send them into the woods with a rifle or bow. It’s one of the very safest sports they can pursue.