Connecticut’s Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP) announced on Tuesday that with the close of 2013, sportsmen in Connecticut enjoyed another year of safe and productive deer hunting. This marks the third consecutive year there were no hunting related injuries involving the discharge of a firearm or bow, and only one such incident since 2007. There was only one hunting related injury reported in 2013 – a fall from a tree by a hunter failing to wear a safety harness. This level of safety is remarkable in light of more than 300,000 deer hunting permits issued and hunters spending, a cumulative total nearly six million days afield over that period.
“Connecticut hunters continue to be national leaders in hunting safety, due in large part to mandatory firearms and archery education programs, which have produced a safety-conscious generation of hunters,” stated Rick Jacobson, Director of the DEEP Wildlife Division. “Although deer hunters enjoyed a near perfect safety record during the past six seasons, our goal has always been to have no injuries of any kind, period,” continued Jacobson.
Since 1982, the Conservation Education/Firearms Safety Program has provided hunter safety courses to over 100,000 students taught by a dedicated corps of more than 350 volunteer instructors. Program administration, support staff, and all supplies and materials are funded through the Federal Aid in Wildlife Restoration Program, commonly referred to as the Pittman-Robertson Act. Funding for the program is derived from a federal excise tax on sporting arms and equipment, which is distributed to the states for use in hunter education, wildlife research and management, and land acquisition. The required match in non-federal funds is provided by in-kind time donated by the volunteer instructors. Instructors donate more than 11,000 hours of their time each year conducting firearms, bowhunting, and trapping classes to ensure that students are safe, knowledgeable, and responsible in the pursuit of their outdoor activities.
Information about hunting safety courses, including a complete schedule of upcoming classes, can be obtained by contacting the DEEP Wildlife Division’s Sessions Woods office at 860-675-8130 or Franklin Wildlife office at 860-642-7239 (Monday through Friday, from 8:30 AM-4:30 PM). Course listings also are available on the DEEP website (www.ct.gov/deep/hunting). Those interested in taking a hunting safety course are advised to check the course listings on the DEEP website daily as courses, when offered, fill up quickly. More classes are expected to begin in early spring 2014, prior to the opening of the spring turkey season on April 30.