Hunting seems to be safer than ever in New York State. The state D.E.C says the number of hunting related accidents is dropping quickly. YNN's Carmella Mataloni shows us what's being done to keep people out of harm's way.
NEW YORK STATE--Many sports men and women look forward to hunting season.
While misfires do happen, shooting related incidents have hit an all time low in New York.
"The downward trend is just a reflection that hunter education has been conducted over sixty years now here in New York. I think we are finally getting to the point when hunters grasp this and they really hold safety near and dear to their hearts and I think we have just become safer as a result," said Andrew MacDuff, Wildlife Biologist.
General trends show the number of licensed hunters is declining. However, the number of hunting incidents is falling faster than that rate. The 2012 records show 24 personal injuries, with half of those being self-inflicted. Hunters say they are pleased to see safer seasons.
"Anything devastating as an accident in hunting is tragic and anytime you can get those numbers down is awesome and very good," said Mike O'Connor, Watertown Resident.
Governor Cuomo along with the D.E.C is working to expand hunting opportunities in New York State. Hunter safety is a big part of those efforts.
Officials preach four primary safety rules to all hunters to make sure they have a safe season. They have added a fifth one telling hunters to wear this bright orange so they are always visible to prevent any incidents.
"Treat every firearm as if it's loaded, always keep the muzzle pointed in a safe direction, keep your finger off the trigger until you're ready to shoot, and then when you are ready to shoot be sure to know what your target is," said MacDuff.
First time hunters must complete a safety course and pass an exam before getting a hunting license.