The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation says 2021 was the safest-ever season for New York hunters.

DEC officials say the 2021 hunting season saw the lowest number of hunter-related shooting incidents since record keeping began in 1949.

Department of Environmental Conservation Police Officers investigated nine hunting-related shooting incidents in 2021, including one fatality.

“This past year was the safest-ever on record in New York, with the lowest number of hunting-related shooting incidents since the DEC’s Hunter Education Program began in 1949," said DEC Commissioner Basil Seggos. "I’m proud of our Hunter Education Program, and our educators and volunteer instructors, working to ensure licensed hunters experience a safe hunting season. Every hunting fatality is preventable when New Yorkers hunt safely and responsibly.”

Seven of the nine hunting-related incidents that occurred in 2021 were two-party firearm incidents and two incidents were self-inflicted.

All identified shooters were experienced hunters with an average of 40 years of hunting experience.

Seggos says all of the incidents could have been prevented if those involved followed hunting safety rules.

DEC encourages hunters to remember the primary rules of hunter safety:

  • Treat every firearm as if it were loaded;
  • Control the muzzle, keep it pointed in a safe direction;
  • Identify your target and what lies beyond;
  • Keep your finger off the trigger until ready to fire; and
  • Wear hunter orange or pink.

New in 2021, 52 upstate counties passed local laws allowing 12- and 13-year-old licensed hunters to hunt deer with a firearm or crossbow while under the supervision of an experienced, licensed, adult hunter.

None of the nine hunting-related shootings investigated in 2021 involved a 12- or 13-year-old hunter.

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