Statistics reveal that few activities are safer than hunting
PRATT -- Kansas hunters log millions of hours afield each year, enjoying not only the thrill of the hunt but the joy of being outdoors and the camaraderie of other hunters. While people who have never been exposed to hunting may think it is an unsafe activity, nothing could be further from the truth.

Periodically, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service commissions a report entitled the National Survey of Fishing, Hunting, and Wildlife-Associated Recreation, citing a variety of statistics in these areas. The latest statistics gathered by the report revealed that Kansas hunters spent more than 3.6 million man-days afield in 2001. Of these, approximately 1.5 million man-days were spent upland bird hunting. Although statistics for 2005 have not yet been compiled, the Kansas Department of Wildlife and Parks (KDWP) estimates that 2005 figures for upland bird hunting may be even higher because the state experienced a banner year for bird populations.

What's revealing about this, according to KDWP staff, is that only 11 upland bird accidents were reported for the 2005 season. (Twenty accidents were reported for all hunting.) None of these accidents was fatal. It is hard to imagine any physical activity as accident-free.

KDWP urges parents to take their kids afield when they feel they are old enough, and the agency offers a number of hunter education courses throughout the state each year. It is believed that these courses are largely responsible for the low number of hunting accidents. For information on local hunter education classes, visit the KDWP website here .

Anyone born on or after July 1, 1957, must successfully complete an approved course in hunter education before hunting in Kansas, except that anyone 15 years old and younger may hunt without hunter education certification provided they are under direct supervision of an adult 18 or older. Hunters 12 years of age and older may hunt without adult supervision provided they possess a valid hunter education certificate and the appropriate licenses and/or permits.

For more information on hunting programs in Kansas, phone 620-672-5911 or visit the KDWP website