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DEC: hunting-related incidents decreasing

Posted at 6:43 PM, Nov 21, 2016
and last updated 2016-11-21 18:43:28-05

Regular hunting season for deer and bear is now underway. It's what hunters have been waiting for. There also were two hunting-related incidents this past weekend, both in Erie and Niagara counties. 

The Erie County Sheriff's Office says a 72-year-old died this weekend, after falling from his homemade tree stand in the Town of Concord.

"He fell anywhere between 10 and 15 feet," said Scott Joslyn, Chief of Patrol for the Erie County Sheriff's Office. "Went about 30 to 40 yards trying to get out of the woods where we found him."

It's the most common hunting accident the Department of Environmental Conservation, which overlook hunters, says it sees during this time.

"The most common would probably be injuries involving tree stands," says Ken Baginski, Wildlife Manager for the DEC. "It seems to happen every year around the state, and it's much more common than a hunting-related shooting incident."

An incident that also occurred this past weekend in Hartland. Niagara County Sheriff's Deputies say a hunter fired at least four shots across the street from a residence, and shot-out a window. That hunter is now facing charges.

"It does occur that people are not following primary rules of hunter safety and handling firearms," said Baginski over the phone. "They don't pay attention to where they're shooting."

Accoridng to the DEC, hunting-related accidents are decreasing. The past three years were the top three safest hunting years in New York, with 2015 being the first year with no deaths.

"Hunters are becoming better educated and becoming safer," said Baginski. 

So this season, both the DEC and Erie County Sheriff's Office recommend:

"Know more importantly your backdrop," said Joslyn. "So when you take a shot, you know if you miss, you know where it'll go."

They also recommend taking a phone with you in case you're alone and need to call someone for help. The 72-year-old was alone and phone-less when he fell from the tree stand, and Joslyn says this could've been avoided if he had a phone on him.