AUGUSTA, Maine (NEWS CENTER) -- Despite a rash of hunting accidents, inclduing two very serious ones, the 2011 deer hunting season is about average in terms of safety, according the Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife.
"I think when you look at the numbers, I think we're about an average season," said Michael Sawyer who is Safety Officer for DIF&W. "Once in a while we have some incidents that just get grouped together."
Sawyer was referring to the fatal shooting of Peter Kolofsky of Sebago by William Briggs on November fifth. It followed closely on the heels of a serious accident where Mark Mattson of Portsmouth, New Hampshire was shot in the stomach by Travis Wood of Windham. Mattson survived the serious wounding.
A statistical analysis reveals that hunting incidents and fatals are running "about normal." Over the last ten years, Maine has averaged 8.9 incidents per year. There have been a total of four fatals.
In the 2011 calendar year, there have been eight incidents and one fatal.
There is one week left in the traditional firearms season on deer. It will be followed by two weeks of muzzle-loader hunting. Duck hunting continues until the end of the year, so there is a chance the 2011 numbers will rise.
Since 1984, there have been twelve seasons with no fatalities. The record for fatalities in a season was 19 in 1950 and 1952. The last time there was more than one fatality in a season was 2000. From 1948 through 1952, there were 83 hunting fatalities.
Sawyer reminds hunters that they should always be sure to "identify their target and beyond."