CT's safe hunting record continues in 2013

For the third consecutive year in Connecticut, there were no hunting-related injuries involving the discharge of a firearm or bow in 2013.

According to the state Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP), only one such incident has occurred since 2007.

Overall, only one hunting-related injury reported was reported in 2013 — and that involved a fall from a tree by a hunter failing to wear a safety harness.

“This level of safety is remarkable in light of more than 300,000 deer hunting permits issued, and hunters spending a cumulative total nearly $6 million days during that period,” according to the DEEP release.

Mandatory hunting education courses

State officials said mandatory education problems have helped limit accidents with firearms and bows.

“Connecticut hunters continue to be national leaders in hunting safety, due in large part to mandatory firearms and archery education programs, which have produced a safety-conscious generation of hunters,” said Rick Jacobson, DEEP Wildlife Division director.

“Although deer hunters enjoyed a near perfect safety record during the past six seasons, our goal has always been to have no injuries of any kind, period,” Jacobson said.

More than 100,000 students

Since 1982, the Conservation Education and Firearms Safety Program has provided hunter safety courses to more than 100,000 students. The courses are taught by a dedicated corps of 350-plus volunteer instructors.

Program administration, support staff, and all supplies and materials are funded through the Federal Aid in Wildlife Restoration Program, commonly referred to as the Pittman-Robertson Act.

Excise tax on sporting arms, equipment

Funding for the program is derived from a federal excise tax on sporting arms and equipment, which is distributed to the states for use in hunter education, wildlife research and management, and land acquisition.

The required match in non-federal funds is provided by in-kind time donated by the volunteer instructors.

The instructors donate more than 11,000 hours of their time each year to conduct firearms, bow-hunting, and trapping classes to ensure that students are safe, knowledgeable, and responsible in the pursuit of their outdoor activities.

Learn about courses

Information about hunting safety courses, including a complete schedule of upcoming classes, can be obtained by contacting the DEEP Wildlife Division’s Sessions Woods office at 860-675-8130 (weekdays from 8:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m.). Course listings also are available on the DEEP website (www.ct.gov/deep/hunting).

State officials said courses fill up quickly. More classes are expected to begin in early spring 2014, prior to the opening of the spring turkey season on April 30.