According to the International Hunter Education Association, less than 1,000 persons are inadvertently shot by hunters in the United States and Canada each year, with fewer than 75 deaths. The majority of these accidents happen at home range boundaries where a hunter has no reason to be in an area occupied by animals, such as when walking dogs or riding horses. A small fraction occur while hunting, but most of those cases can be attributed to negligence or improper training.
In the European Union, about 200 people are killed by hunters each year, most of them men between 15 and 54 years old. In Russia, about 1,500 people are reported dead annually from shooting accidents. Other estimates are much higher, with some researchers claiming that up to 10,000 people die in Europe after being hit by arrows.
Accidents during preparation or cleanup of the kill account for nearly half of all hunting fatalities. These injuries include cuts from broken glass, knives, and blades; infections caused by dirty equipment; and explosions caused by faulty gas generators or other mechanical problems with guns.
Hunters often aren't aware that certain animals will not move or give alarm calls if they are being hunted from a fixed position. This is particularly true of large predators such as lions and wolves.
Trapping does pose certain risks. While hunting mortality rates have decreased in recent years as a consequence of substantial hunter education programs offered in the majority of states, there are inherent hazards to hunting. Hunting fatalities from guns account for around 12% to 15% of all firearms fatalities in the United States. The most common causes of death are accidents with guns that have been discharged, followed by suffocations caused by hanging up or over-hunting an animal. Illegal hunting practices may lead to more fatal encounters. Humans are one of many species killed by predators when they are caught in a snare or trap.
Of the approximately 250,000 hunters who die each year in the United States, about 12% (30,000) die while pursuing game animals such as deer, birds, and fish. An additional 7,500 die while hunting other animals for food, such as furbearers (foxes, coyotes, etc.) and livestock predators (carnivores that feed on cows, pigs, sheep, etc.). The remaining 100,000 or so hunters die during activities such as hiking into remote areas or climbing fences to pursue game. Many of these hunters are experienced adults who take significant risks to obtain their own food and shelter, but some are not. In fact, around 4,000 children under the age of 16 die each year while playing with guns. That's more than die from cancer or AIDS combined.
The Hunter Incident Database recorded 56 hunting-related firearm accidents in 2019. Handguns were responsible for around eight of these, shotguns for 23, and rifles for 25. The database no longer keeps track of the ages of persons involved in accidents, but it does reveal that the vast majority of incidences were not deadly. There were six deaths related to hunting accidents in 2019.
This is down from 70 in 2018 and up from 46 in 2007. This decline can be attributed to improvements in gun safety education and use of firearms by less experienced shooters.
Of the 56 hunting accidents recorded in 2019, three occurred while target shooting, two while bird hunting, and one each while deer hunting and fish fishing. No other type of hunting was reported in more than 10 incidents each.
Two of the six death hunting accidents occurred while target shooting. Both of these victims had been using a handgun, and both shots entered the left side of the chest, suggesting that they were probably fired from a close range.
Three of the remaining four death hunting accidents occurred while hunting with a rifle. All three shots to the head or neck were fatal. Two of these shootings took place during deer hunting and the third during bear hunting. All three hunters were experienced enough to have their guns inspected by a professional prior to going on a hunt.
This statistic depicts the number of hunters in the United States from 2006 to 2019. In 2019, roughly 15.09 million people (aged six and over) participated in hunting. This represents a decline since 2006, when 16.9 million people took part in hunting.
The number of hunters has declined since its peak in 2008, when nearly 17 million people participated in hunting. The main reason for this decline is the ongoing economic crisis that started in 2007. At the time of writing, no clear trend can be observed for 2020.
Women play an important role in American hunting culture. In 2019, about 5 million women participated in hunting, which is almost half of all hunters. This share has been relatively stable since 2006, when about 5.3 million women took part in hunting.
Black Americans are underrepresented in American hunting culture. In 2019, only 1% of all hunters were black people. This figure has remained constant since 2006, when 1.4% of all hunters were black people.
Hispanic Americans are underrepresented in American hunting culture. In 2019, only 0.7% of all hunters were Hispanic people. This share has been relatively stable since 2006, when 0.8% of all hunters were Hispanic people.