Opening Weekend of Firearm Deer Hunting Season Brings Injuries and Fatalities

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Although hunting is generally thought to be a dangerous sport for the animals in the crosshairs, hunting carries with it the capacity for any number of accidental injuries while pursuing game.

Throughout the month of November, firearm deer hunting season is opening up in the majority of U.S. states. The large numbers of hunters filing through the woods can only increase the likelihood of accidental shootings.

According to the NY Daily News, over the weekend a New York man was shot through the hand and buttocks while dragging a tagged deer back to his car. The shooter claimed that he saw the apparently resurrected deer moving and could not make out the hunter dragging it. The victim was taken to the hospital and is expected to make a full recovery.

The St. Louis Post-Disbatch reports that two hunters were not so lucky as one fell from a tree to his death and the other was involved in a bizarrely fatal heater explosion. One more hunter was injured when he shot himself through the leg while trying to reload his rifle.

There are an average of 80 to 90 fatal hunting accidents in the U.S. every year, according to Interstate Sportsman. This number, however, has dramatically decreased over the years due to the mandatory Hunter Safety Classes that most states require.

Even Dick Cheney, former vice president of the United States, could not evade a firearm accident when he shot his quail-hunting partner in 2006. Although the man survived with non-life-threatening injuries, it just goes to show that anytime “boys” are playing out in the forest with guns it can be a fatal affair.

When hunting safety courses are taken, the firearm in general is painted as it should be; a mechanism that can cause irreparable damage when in the hands of a novice. Firearms are not toys, and they should never be handled carelessly.

While the sport of hunting is seemingly always under fire for being inhumane or unethical, deer hunting in particular is necessary for populations to remain as close to “natural” levels as possible. With an ever increasing population of deer, and a lack of predators to keep them at bay, deer can decimate massive amounts of greenery leading to a slew of second-hand effects.

An uncontrollable deer population was witnessed in Yellowstone National Park until wolves were released back into the preserve. After the wolves were able to curve the deer population, greenery, soil stability and river patterns were able to return to their natural state, causing a truly noticeable transformation.

Since the natural habitat of wolves has been greatly eradicated over the past century, it logistically makes sense that humans must instead become the predators who keep deer populations in check. Although “Bambi” is a terribly cute character, if left unchecked he and his friends will graze a forest into oblivion.  

Souces: NY Daily News, St. Louis Post-Disbatch, Interstate Sportsman / Photo credit: Google