Previous Post
Next Post

[NB: Headline updated from the earlier Hunting is Safer Than Eating Pretzels]

This just in from the NSSF: NEWTOWN, Conn. — Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise: Hunting with firearms is safe; in fact, hunting with firearms is one of the safest recreational activities in America . . .

With hunting season in full swing across the country, the National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF), the trade association for the firearms industry, has compiled data that shows hunting ranks third in safety when compared to 28 other recreational pursuits, ranging from baseball to wrestling.

Hunting with firearms has an injury rate of 0.05 percent, which equates to about 1 injury per 2,000 participants, a safety level bettered only by camping (.01 percent) and billiards (.02 percent). For comparison, golf has an injury rate of 0.16 percent (1 injury per 622 participants), while tackle football topped the list of activities with an injury rate of 5.27 percent (1 injury per 19 participants).

“Many people have the misconception that hunting is unsafe, but the data tells a different story,” said Jim Curcuruto, NSSF’s director of industry research and analysis. “Comprehensive hunter education classes that emphasize the basic rules of firearm safety and a culture of hunters helping fellow hunters practice safe firearms handling in the field are responsible for this good record.”

To put hunting’s safety standing into perspective, compared to hunting a person is . . .

5 times more likely to be injured during sex [ED: I added that bit.]
11 times more likely to be injured playing volleyball
19 times more likely to be injured snowboarding
25 times more likely to be injured cheerleading or bicycle riding
34 times more likely to be injured playing soccer or skateboarding
105 more times likely to be injured playing tackle football.

[Click here for a pdf of the stats]

The number of hunters who went afield last year is estimated at 16.3 million. Of that total, approximately 8,122 sustained injuries, or 50 per 100,000 participants. The vast majority of hunting accidents–more than 6,600–were tree stand-related. Though recent accurate figures on fatalities related to hunting are not available, statistics from 2002 show 99 fatal hunting accidents.

It’s not just in the hunting fields that firearms are being used safely either. The most recent data (2008) from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that firearms constitute just 1/2 of 1 percent of all unintentional fatalities in the United States, including those in the home.

The injury data NSSF used to compile this hunter-safety report comes from the National Electronic Injury Surveillance System of the Consumer Products Safety Commission 2010 and the International Hunter Education Association’s Hunter Incident Clearinghouse. Activity participation figures are from the National Sporting Goods Association Sports Participation in 2010 report.

[h/t vigilantis]

Previous Post
Next Post


  1. Cute, but I don’t think it’s very honest to simply compare overall injury rates with no reference to severity. Though I’d be willing to bet it would still compare favourably with bicycle riding, and several others not on the list (pick any equestrian sport).

    • The chart is labeled “unintentional fatalities” as opposed to injuries. Maximum severity can be assumed in all cases.

    • I’m guessing that most people don’t bother keeping records of injuries that don’t require professional medical attention. I imagine that the least severe of the injuries reflected by this data required stitches at least, and that most are somewhere around broken-bone scale. Not as bad a bullet hole, true, but not something you can just slap a band-aid on, either.

      Note that my imagination is not noted for being a reliable source for statistics of any source.

      • So basically, what you’re saying is that professional athletes are a bunch of sissies who cry all the way home to mamma at every opportunity, and that hunters are generally manly men who say “meh, it’s just a fleshwound” before continuing on their way? Stop the presses.

        • I was gonna leave this one alone, but since you asked…

          Misogynist images which objectify women have no place on a serious blog like this one. I cannot fathom the thinking of men who have daughters and think that’s cool. It’s not. The proliferation of those images are a serious problem for young women growing up. To add to that problem is wrong.

          Are there no members of the Armed Intelligentsia who agree with me?

  2. Well, then, hunting pretzels must be the safest of all outdoor activities. I’m in. Who’s bringing the beer? But please — no Pabst.

  3. If you want to add relevance to the picture, it would be really interesting to compare the probability of a hunting injury to an injury sustained during sex. I couldn’t find any stats on it though.

      • I had dinner with a woman who works in a NYC blue collar factory. One of the men who worked there died in the saddle, with a heart attack, while having intercourse with his mistress. The woman who told me the story said that the wife and mistress both attended the funeral standing right by each other and were both crying hysterically. Methinks maybe the two women were in cahoot together and split the life insurance.

    • Of course, now we have other questions. Is sex while hunting safe sex? If so, where can one buy edible camouflage underwear?

      • I thought of using camo condoms, but then it struck me that the effect would be exactly the opposite of what I really want.

  4. Where is the outrage over tree stand injuries? I think a strict, DC-style regime of prohibition, registration, and Kafka-esque licensing would save some lives here.
    –No tree stands to anyone under 21. Or over 45.
    –No tree stands over eight feet high.
    –Tree stands must be made of non-toxic metals and 100% biodegradable.
    –Tree stands must be completely enclosed by an OSHA-approved cage to prevent occupants, arrows or other projectiles from escaping.
    –Purchasers must pass a medical, psychiatric and criminal background investigation before a license can be issued.
    –Tree stand shooters must wear a parachute while in the tree stand, and must install an inflated airbag at least six feet thick at the base of the tree.

    Just think of the lives we’ll save!

  5. Considering the tens of millions of people with AIDS/HIV in this world, most of which will be dead within the next decade or two, its pretty hard to make the arguement against hunting.

    • After looking at the girl in the photo…What are we hunting again?

      Girls who look like the girl in the photo, of course. Good luck with that.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here