It was a record-winning hunting season in New York.

Hunters in New York know just how seriously the state takes safety. According to the New York Department of Environmental Conservation, all first-time hunters, bowhunters, and trappers are required to successfully complete a hunting education safety course before being eligible to purchase a license in New York State.

The training program run by volunteer instructors has been going on since 1940. The DEC trains and certifies these volunteers who teach hunters and trappers to be "safe, responsible, and ethical" in their pursuit of wild game.  When it comes to young hunters, the DEC has instituted a mentoring program for big game hunters aged 12 and 13 to instruct them on safely using a crossbow or firearm.


Because of the state's efforts, 2022 has tied the record for the safest hunting season in New York State history. The lowest number of hunting-related shooting incidents since the state began keeping records were reported this season, tying last year's record.

There were nine hunting-related shooting incidents in 2022. Four of them involved two-party firearm incidents, but the rest were all self-inflicted. There was just one fatality this year, a turkey hunter who died after they shot themselves. According to the DEC, all of the shooters in these incidents were experienced hunters, not newer hunters who have recently gone through a safety course.

The majority of hunting fatalities were due to tree stand falls. Elevated Hunting Incidents are generally underreported, but the ones that the DEC were notified of claimed the lives of four hunters. Out of the 13 incidents that were reported, only two of the hunters were wearing proper safety harnesses.


DEC Commissioner Basil Seggos credited hunting groups and state workers and volunteers with making the past two years the safest on record.

This record year for safety is a testament to the DEC expert staff, volunteers, and local hunting clubs that work collaboratively to teach safety to hunters of all ages. I commend their efforts and for all hunters who safely and responsibly contributed to our conservation efforts this season.

The DEC has many resources available for young hunters as well as those with more experience who may not be aware of safety guidelines, especially the proper use of tree stands.

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Stacker analyzed data from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to determine which states have the most registered hunters. Read on to see how your state ranks on Stacker’s list.

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