In the wake of a number of recent hunting-related shooting incidents, New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) Commissioner Basil Seggos is reminding hunters to follow basic hunter safety rules when going afield this hunting season.
“While statistics show that hunting in New York State is safer than ever, mistakes are made every year. But every hunting-related shooting incident is preventable,” Seggos said. “We urge hunters to use common sense and remember what they were taught in their DEC Hunters Education Course.”
DEC’s Hunting Safety Rules:
- Assume every gun is loaded.
- Control the muzzle. Point your gun in a safe direction.
- Keep your finger off the trigger until you are ready to shoot.
- Be sure of your target and beyond.
- DEC encourages hunters to wear blaze orange or pink. Wearing orange or pink prevents other hunters from mistaking a person for an animal, or shooting in your direction. Hunters who wear hunter orange are seven times less likely to be shot.
- When hunting in tree stands use a safety harness and a climbing belt, as most tree stand accidents occur when hunters are climbing in and out of the stand. Also, never climb in or out of a tree stand with a loaded rifle.
- Always be prepared for winter conditions when venturing in the woods, inform a friend or relative of your whereabouts, and pack emergency supplies.
DEC Environmental Conservation Officers (ECOs) are currently investigating two hunting-related shooting fatalities that occurred in the last week, both involving accidental shootings that could have been avoided.
DEC requires every hunter to take a special Hunters Education Course before they can receive a license to hunt. Since New York’s Sportsman Education Program was first introduced in 1950, the number of hunting-related accidents have declined by 80 percent.
A DEC report showed 2015 was the first year without a hunting-related shooting fatality in New York since record-keeping on hunting statistics began more than 60 years ago. 2015 also continued the trend of declining incidents with respect to New York’s hunting-related shooting incident rate (incidents per 100,000 hunters). The past five-year average is down to four incidents per 100,000 hunters, compared to 19 per 100,000 hunters in the 1960s.
There were 23 hunting incidents documented in 2015, the third lowest number on record, with 10 incidents self-inflicted and 13 two-party incidents.
View and print the 2015 Hunter Safety Statistics report here: http://www.dec.ny.gov/docs/wildlife_pdf/nyhrsi2015.pdf
ECO Injured in Southern Zone Shooting
The following is a statement from New York State Department of Environmental Conservation Commissioner Basil Seggos regarding the shooting of Environmental Conservation Office James Davey.
“On the evening of November 29, 2016, New York State Department of Environmental Conservation Officers James Davey and Lieutenant Liza Bobseine were investigating reports of potential illegal hunting activity in the Town of Gallatin in Columbia County when officer James Davey was shot. Officer Davey underwent extensive surgery at the Mid-Hudson Hospital to repair damage from the gunshot wound and is in the Intensive Care Unit in stable condition. I had the chance to meet Officer Davey’s wife Nancy, a Forest Ranger at DEC, and other family members last night who were appreciative of the outpouring of support from the DEC family.
“Lieutenant Liza Bobseine who was on patrol with Officer Davey investigating the incident is credited with saving Officer Davey’s life for her quick and heroic actions in the field. Lt. Bobseine was able to quickly apply a compress to the wound while calling for support and keeping the suspects under control 1/2 mile into a field. It’s clear that if it were not for her actions, officer Davey would not have survived. I commend the two officers for their courage in the line of duty and thank them for their dedicated service. Our thoughts and prayers are with the wounded officer and his family.”
An investigation led by New York State Police from the Livingston barracks determined that Alan Blanchard, 55, of Gallatin, was responsible for the accidental shooting due to reckless conduct. Blanchard was arrested for Assault in the 2nd degree, a class D felony, arraigned in the Town of Livingston Court, and remanded to the Dutchess County Jail in lieu of no bail. He is scheduled to reappear in the Town of Livingston Court on Dec. 8 at 7 p.m.
ECO Davey, 39, is a 12-year veteran of the force, having graduated from the DEC Basic Police Academy in 2005. He is currently assigned to patrol Columbia County. Officer Davey is a Division of Criminal Justice Services-Certified Police Instructor, having recently become a Certified Firearms instructor for the DEC. He is married to a DEC Forest Ranger, Nancy Davey.