Seventeen accidents in 2006, down from 20 in 2005; none fatal

The number of reported hunting accidents in Kansas dropped to 17 in 2006, down from 20 reported in 2005, according to a Kansas Department of Wildlife and Parks (KDWP) Hunter Education Program report. None of the accidents were fatal.

"Swinging on game" and its subset, "victim moving into line of fire," accounted for 11 incidents. Upland bird hunting was involved in 12 of the incidents; doves, one; waterfowl, one; and turkey, two. The other accident involved poor gun handling before the party went afield.

There were two incidents of failure to properly identify a target (mistaken for game), and four cases of careless gun handling. Sixteen shotguns and one rifle were involved in the incidents, and no bow incidents were reported.

"While any accidents are unfortunate, having only 17 during the entire hunting season is a great record," said Wayne Doyle, statewide hunter education coordinator for KDWP. "We are especially grateful that there were no fatalities."

Even though the number of incidents was not the lowest Kansas has experienced -- 13 accidents were reported in 2003 -- the 2006 figure is still very small considering the numbers of hunters and the time they spent afield. The latest statistics, compiled by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service for the year 2001, revealed that 291,000 hunters spent 3.7 million hours afield in Kansas.