Idaho's 1999-2000 hunting seasons ended with the highest number of fatalities since 1982.
Five people died in hunting-associated shooting incidents during the seasons recently ended. Four non-fatal shootings were also reported, below the 20-year average for such incidents.
Compared to recent statistics, the number of incidents is no higher than average, but the outcomes were grimmer. Since the inception of Idaho's hunter education program in 1980, hunting seasons have averaged 1.9 fatalities and 5.8 non-fatal shootings.
The figures for the last decade suggest that the 1999-2000 statistics are an anomaly. There were no fatalities in 1993, 1995, 1996 or 1998. Compared to the 1950s, 1960s and early 1970s, hunting fatalities in Idaho have plunged dramatically.
Of the five fatalities, three involved victims mistaken for game, one was the victim of careless firearm handling and the final incident was caused by a firearm falling from an insecure rest.
The non-fatal incidents involved two cases of firearms discharging while riding in a vehicle and one was alcohol-related. In one odd instance, the shooter was driving a vehicle when he stopped to fire over the cab. The bullet struck the top of the cab, ricocheted and sprayed the passenger in the head with bullet fragments.
In terms of injuries and fatalities compared to total number of participants, hunting in Idaho and America remains one of the safest outdoor sports.