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Idaho Gun-Related Hunting Accidents Down Figures Show Hunting Is Actually Safer Than Playing Football

FOR THE RECORD (November 13, 1997, Idaho edition): Location error: Cody Taylor of Coeur d’Alene was killed in Boundary County in 1994. The location of the accident was reported incorrectly in an article Tuesday about gun-related hunting accidents.

The shooting death of an Orofino hunting guide is Idaho’s first hunter fatality involving a firearm since 1994, the Idaho Department of Fish and Game said.

But exposure and drowning continue to claim hunters every year, as demonstrated by Sunday’s tragedy involving two North Idaho residents duck hunting near Medimont.

The latest shooting death occurred Oct. 28 when John D. Ivey, 32, of Orofino, was guiding a party of elk hunters for an Elk River outfitter. Ivey apparently was 25 feet in front of a Massachusetts hunter when the client’s slung rifle became entangled in brush, investigators said.

As the hunter tugged on the gun, it fired once. Ivey was killed instantly by a rifle shot to the head.

Two of the last three shooting fatalities occurred in North Idaho.

In 1994, Cody Taylor was killed in Bonner County and Shawn Jenkins was killed in Kootenai County. Timothy D. Little was shot and killed in a hunting accident in Gem County.

The next two years, 1995 and 1996, were marked by nothing more serious than a hunter shooting a horse out from under a man rounding up cows. The man was not hurt, the Idaho Fish and Game said.

Despite this year’s shooting, Idaho’s hunting safety record has improved dramatically in recent years. Records indicate an accident rate of fatal and nonfatal incidents of four per 100,000 participants each year. The national average is twice that.

Although hunting involves guns, it rates as one of the nation’s safest outdoor activities. The 1994 national injury rate for football players was 1,909 per 100,000 and included 17 deaths.

Idaho statistics show about 46 percent of hunting accidents involve self-inflicted wounds. In two-party accidents, the most common cause is one person mistaking another for game.

Careful handling of guns can reduce the number of self-inflicted wounds, Fish and Game hunter education chief Dan Papp said. Although it is not required in Idaho, wearing hunter orange would help reduce mistaken-for-game incidents, he said.

Identifying game properly is a must.

“Hunting season should be enjoyable,” Papp said. “Making a serious or fatal error can spoil not only one season, but you have to live with it for a lifetime.”

Accidental shootings are not the only deadly threat faced by hunters.

Sunday, John J. Hario of Coeur d’Alene and Earl R. Fulton of Pinehurst drowned in Cave Lake, near Medimont. Their 12-foot aluminum boat may have been overloaded and sank after pulling away from shore.

George Saunders, of Pinehurst, died of hypothermia in 1996 in Shoshone County.

He and his stepson’s truck rolled down an embankment. Saunders set out for help and did not return. His body was discovered in June.

Another hunter died in the area that same winter when his all-terrain vehicle rolled on top of him.

, DataTimes The following fields overflowed: CREDIT = Staff and wire reports Staff writer Ken Olsen contributed to this report.