Injuries from firearms in hunting activities

Randall T. Loder, Neil Farren

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Background Recreational hunting is a very popular sport, and frequently involves firearms. Few studies address the pattern of firearm injuries occurring with hunting and how they differ from firearm injuries not associated with hunting. Purpose A nation wide database will provide an overall perspective of the scope of the problem and types of injuries. Methods Our data were obtained from the Inter-University Consortium for Political and Social Research Firearm Injury Surveillance Study 1993-2008 (ICPSR 30543). It was statistically analyzed for demographic and injury patterns using SUDAAN 10™ software. A p < 0.05 was considered to be statistically significant. Results There were 1,841,269 ED visits for firearm related injuries 1993-2008; 35,970 were involved in hunting (1.95%). Hunters were older than non-hunters (34.5 vs. 26.7 years, p < 0.0001). Handguns were involved in 48% of the non-hunters and 5.3% of the hunters (p < 0.0001). The injury was unintentional in 99.4% of hunters; for non-hunters 32.1% were unintentional and 60.7% assaults. The majority of the hunting injuries presented to small hospitals (65.9%) while the majority of non-hunting injuries presented to the large (27.0%) and very large (35.0%) hospitals. Hunters were nearly all Caucasian (92%). In hunters, 57% were shot compared to 77% in non-hunters. The most common diagnosis in hunters was a laceration (42%) compared to a puncture in non-hunters (41%). The head and neck accounted for nearly one-half of the injuries in hunters (47%); for non-hunters it was the head and neck (29%) and the leg/foot (24%). Mortality was 0.6% for hunters and 5.3% for non-hunters. The use of alcohol and being involved in antisocial behaviours was much higher in the non-hunters. The estimated incidence of a firearm injury associated with hunting activities was 9 per 1 million hunting days. Conclusion Hunters injured by firearms were nearly all Caucasian, older than non-hunters, did not involve handguns, presented to small hospitals, often sustained unintentional injuries and were not shot; most commonly injured in the head and neck, and had an overall mortality of 0.6%. These data can be a reference for future studies regarding hunting injuries associated with firearms.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1207-1214
Number of pages8
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 2014


  • Demographics
  • Firearm
  • Hunting
  • Injury
  • Not hunting

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Emergency Medicine
  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine
  • Medicine(all)

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