No hunter deaths reported during Wisconsin deer seasonSix hunters were shot during the nine-day Wisconsin firearms deer hunting season, but none fatally.
By: Mike Simonson, Wisconsin Public Radio
Six hunters were shot during the nine-day Wisconsin firearms deer hunting season, but none fatally.
That makes it two years in a row and only the third hunting season on record with no hunters killed by gunfire. The first time that happened was in 1974. The state Department of Natural Resources recorded 12 shooting incidents last year, all nonfatal.
“I remember back in the years when I was younger where we just wore red. Nowadays with this blaze orange helps a lot,” said Wisconsin Deer Hunters Incorporated President Dennis Hoffman, who has been hunting since 1967. “And of course you look at the guns back then that we used, that 30-30 with that hammer. That gun was not a real safe gun but it was the most popular one out there.”
Blaze orange was first required in Wisconsin in 1980, and hunter education in 1985.
Hoffman says higher deer stands also help, because hunters in stands are shooting down toward the ground rather than out into the woods.
According to DNR data, the lowest number of incidents over the last 28 years came in 2004, when the agency recorded two fatal and two nonfatal shootings. Minnesota truck driver Chai Soua Vang shot six hunters to death and wounded two more during a trespassing dispute in Sawyer County that year, but the DNR doesn’t count intentional shootings as hunting incidents.
The agency reports it sold 620,534 gun deer licenses this year, down slightly from 621,094 last year. The 2011 season ended Sunday.
The most dangerous hunting season on record was 1958, when 191 hunters were struck by bullets or arrows and 25 were killed.
Lew Martin of Superior says things have changed since the good old days. Martin, 94, has been hunting since 1941.
“Oh, yes, it was real bad. In fact, the local insurance companies used to sell you hunters insurance. I think you got $10,000 worth if you got killed and it only cost two to three dollars.”
Martin says wives thought it was very considerate of their husbands to buy hunters life insurance.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.