Are Hunting Accidents Crimes?
Fall brings hunting season to Minnesota. Deer hunting, pheasant and grouse hunting are my favorite types of hunting. Each Fall we learn about horrible accidents that leave people injured or dead as a result of another shooter's negligence. Many times these incidents do not result in criminal charges. The victims are left to suffer and the shooters are left to ponder their actions.
I do not write this message to create the sense that hunting accidents are creating too great a risk. Hunting would seem more prone to accidents and fatalities than outdoor activities that don't use firearms. Not so. According to National Safety Council statistics, far more people per 100,000 participants are injured while bicycling or playing baseball than while hunting. And the Council's most recent statistics show that while roughly 100 people die nationwide in hunting accidents each year, more than 1,500 die in swimming-related incidents.
One reason for hunting's safety record: Most states require young hunters to pass a firearms safety course. In Minnesota alone, 4,000 volunteer instructors give firearms safety training to 20,000 young hunters each year.
When safety is ignored, help is available for the injured. Often times homeowners insurance policies will cover negligent acts of a shooter. Compensation can help replace the losses that families suffer from negligent shooting.