With the spring gobbler hunting season underway, it’s interesting to note that for the first time in history, and during the 2019 spring turkey season, not a single hunting-related shooting incident was recorded, a time that historically garnered the most of these incidents. And the Pennsylvania Game Commission (PGC) hopes that continues for 2020.
According to the PGC, hunter-safety results from the 2019 spring turkey season are part of a larger report on hunter safety. Overall in 2019, reports the PGC, there were 26 hunting-related shooting incidents (HRSIs) – injuries caused by sporting arms while hunting or trapping. It was the seventh consecutive year with fewer than 30 HRSIs and one of the safest years on record. However, and sadly, four of the incidents in 2019 were fatal, but the PGC doesn’t indicate in what seasons those occurred.
The PGC has compiled data on HRIs since 1915. The agency establishes incident rates by computing the number of accidents per 100,000 participants. In 2019 the incident rate was 3.06 whereas for 2018, the rate was higher at 3.16.
PGC reports that 58 percent of 2019 incidents were inflicted by others, and the primary cause of HRSis, while 42 percent was a victim being in the line of fire. The second most common cause was the unintended discharge of a firearm.
Aside from there being no HRSis in the 2019 spring turkey season, there were none in the fall turkey season as well. The PGC attributes this and nearly an 80 percent decline in incidents, to hunter-education training that began in 1959. For example, in 2019, 30,821 students (22,526 traditional classroom courses and 8,295 online students) took the course run by 1,828 volunteer instructors that teach Pennsylvania’s basic-safety and advanced hunting skills.
My son and I took the course at Grouse Fish & Game Association’s Grouse Hall in Ironton when he was 12 and now he’s 48. I have a buddy who, many moons ago, once joined us to small game hunt and I had to show him how to load his pristine Browning A5 semi-auto shotgun. He never took the course.
WHITEHALL’S 2020 ANNUAL FISHING DERBY CANCELLED
According to Michele Dragovits, Whitehall Township’s Recreation Bureau secretary, this years Annual Fishing Derby for youngsters 15 and under and held in Hokey Park in Hokendauqua, had to be cancelled because of the Covid-19 virus. The annual event would give out prizes for biggest fish and in four age groups.
This year’s derby was to be sponsored by Willie Marx’s Bait & Tackle shop in Cementon.
Last Wednesday, volunteers from Pioneer Fish & Game and Lehigh County Fish & Game associations, stocked trout from the Lil Le Hi trout hatchery in a portion of the Little Lehigh Creek in Lehigh Parkway. Fish were stocked from Bogert’s Bridge and downstream to the metal bridge at the entrance to Allentown Police Academy.
Also receiving a second stocking two weeks ago was the Lehigh River from Northampton upriver. The river gets stocked by Lehigh River Stocking Association who have made the river an enhanced fishery.
Nick Hromiak has been an outdoors and automotive writer for over 30 years. He's been published in numerous national and state-wide outdoor magazines and newspapers.