HARRISBURG, Pa.-- Pennsylvania's spring turkey season begins on Saturday, May 2, and the state’s hunters have a record to match.
In 2019, Pennsylvania’s spring turkey season hit an all-time high for hunter safety. That season was the first time in history without any hunting-related shooting incident was recorded.
“Hunter safety has been at the forefront of the Pennsylvania Game Commission’s thinking for decades upon decades, and through effective requirements and programs to educate our hunters, incredible improvements have been made over the years,” said Game Commission Executive Director Bryan Burhans. “Hunting in Pennsylvania is as safe as it’s ever been. But at the same time, we continue to work toward an even better safety record. Perfection is always the goal, and I couldn’t be more proud of the perfect performance our spring turkey hunters turned in last year.”
Hunter-safety results from the 2019 spring turkey season are part of a larger report on hunter safety the Pennsylvania Game Commission announced today. Overall in 2019, there were 26 hunting-related shooting incidents (HRSIs) – injuries caused by sporting arms while hunting or trapping. It was the seventh consecutive year with fewer than 30 HRSIs and one of the safest years on record. However, four of the incidents in 2019 were fatal.
In 2018, there were 27 HRSIs, one of them fatal.
Pennsylvania has compiled data on HRSIs since 1915. In its annual reports on HRSIs, the Game Commission establishes an incident rate by computing the number of accidents per 100,000 participants. The 3.06 incident rate in 2019 was a decrease from the 2018 incident rate of 3.16.
Fifty-eight percent, of incidents reported in 2019 were inflicted by others, and the primary cause of HRSIs, 42 percent, was a victim being in the line of fire. The second most common cause was the unintended discharge of a firearm.
Spring turkey season
Pennsylvania’s statewide spring turkey season and runs through May 30.
Only bearded birds may be harvested. Each hunter is provided a spring turkey harvest tag with his or her general license, and each license buyer, prior to the start of the season, also may purchase a special spring turkey license that permits the harvest of a second bearded turkey.
The Pennsylvania Game Commission asks spring turkey hunters in the coming season to practice social distancing and follow other COVID-19 guidelines issued by the state Department of Health.
“The spring turkey season always packs excitement, and with the cooperation of attentive hunters, the upcoming season will be a safe one, too,” Game Commission Executive Director Bryan Burhans said.