Idaho's high number of hunting accidents this year points out the need for caution in the field, the state Fish and Game Department says.
The 1989 season is only half over and already has resulted in more fatal accidents than all of last year.At least one of the two deaths and two of the six non-fatal accidents might have been prevented if the victim had been wearing hunter-orange clothing, said Dan Papp, hunter education coordinator for the department. In 1988, one fatal and four injury accidents occurred.
This year, two people out for a late afternoon walk in northern Idaho were shot by a hunter who mistook them for a bear. In other non-fatal incidents, a hunter was injured by ricocheting metal when his partner shot their vehicle in an attempt to down an elk.
Fatal accidents include a hunter wearing dark clothing and a partially white cap who was shot at twilight because he resembled a mule deer. In another, a hunter shot his partner while carrying a loaded gun on an all-terrain vehicle.
"Although the accidents always make headlines, statistics show that hunting is much more safe than most other recreation," Papp said. "We sell around 240,000 hunting licenses in Idaho every year, and have only a handful of injuries, indicating the majority of hunters are careful to identify their target.