Bowhunter’s SOS gunshots backfire in wrong part of deer season

“It’s always upsetting when something like that happens,” Mr. East said. “But the vast majority of these incidents are preventable if you follow the basic rules of hunting.”

Mr. East said a hunter will use a rapid, three-shot signal in case of an emergency, but a shooter should always know where his target is and what the bullet could hit if he were to miss it.

Along with pointing their guns in a safe direction, Mr. East said, hunters should treat every gun as though it’s loaded and keep away from the trigger until ready to shoot.

And while he understood that “anytime somebody gets shot, whether it’s hunting or game-related, it gets reported,” Mr. East said, the actual percentage of injuries is quite low, given the millions of people who go hunting each season.

A report issued by the National Shooting Sports Foundation showed that of the 16.3 million people who went hunting with firearms in 2010, about 8,100 were injured — or roughly one per 2,000 hunters.

Compared to the sport shooting federation’s tallies of one injury in 77 people playing baseball, or one in 19 people hurt playing tackle football, the federation ranked hunting as one of the safest activities.

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