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Hunting-Related Shooting Incidents

What is an HRSI?

A hunting-related shooting incident (HRSI) is defined as an occurrence when a person is injured as the result of the discharge of a sporting arm while hunting or trapping. Often these incidents result from failing to follow basic firearm and hunting safety rules. Even though one such incident is one too many, the number of incidents are noticeably declining.

The Pennsylvania Game Commission has tracked HRSIs statistics back to 1915. For comparative purposes, the agency monitors trends by measuring incident rates per 100,000 licensed hunting participants. In Pennsylvania hunting-related shooting incidents have declined by nearly 80 percent since hunter education training began in 1959. The marked decline of HRSIs can be attributed to the success of hunter education training and the use of fluorescent orange clothing.

How can they be prevented? What are the statistics?

Most incidents can be prevented by following the SMART firearm safety rules and our basic hunting safety tips. The majority of HRSIs in Pennsylvania fall into two categories:
  • Failure to positively identify the target before shooting
  • Failure to maintain a safe zone-of-fire

To prevent these incidents, hunters should never shoot unless the target is fully and plainly visible and they should not shoot if another hunter is in or near their zone-of-fire. A report of HRSI statistics from 1982 to the present shows a series of annual summaries which provide detailed information about the species hunted, cause of the incident, type of firearm, age and experience of hunters, light and weather conditions, etc. These records show that hunting is safe and getting safer.

No portlets in this column.
Pennsylvania Game Commission, 2001 Elmerton Ave, Harrisburg Pennsylvania 17110-9797