Over the nine day gun season in Wisconsin hunters reported 303,162 deer killed with only two accidental fatalities. For the state that is the safest season on record. Overall, five shooting accidents were reported, which led to two deaths. Last year 15 accidents were reported, again with two deaths. None of this year’s incidents involved juveniles and two were self-inflicted.
These stats are a dose of good news for hunters in a state shocked by the murder of six hunters over a trespassing issue. The deer hunters allegedly shot by Chai Vang in November were not included in the tally of hunting accidents because police classified the encounter as a “trespassing dispute.”
Resolution in the Vang case will be slow, and hunters will likely have to fend off blanket accusations of recklessness from outsiders. However, seeing these numbers and knowing that nearly 650,000 Wisconsin deer hunters enjoyed a safe and exciting nine days is a start for defending our image. How unfortunate, though, that what would have been a banner season has instead been marred by one of the great tragedies in the outdoors.