From a law enforcement perspective, a hunting incident occurs when a hunter directly or indirectly causes personal injury or death while using a firearm or archery equipment. In this case, injury is defined as having occurred if the victim(s) seeks professional care. Bleeding is not required. Common causes of hunting incidents are:
- Hunter Judgment Mistakes: Shooting another person by mistaking color, movement, or shapes for game; not ensuring that what is seen is a proper and legal animal; not checking the foreground or background before firing; or mistaking stationary decoys for live game
- Safety Rule Violations: Including pointing the muzzle in an unsafe direction; ignoring proper procedures for crossing a fence, obstacle, or difficult terrain; shooting at targets without a proper backstop
- Lack of Control and Practice: Leading to accidental discharges, shooting out of your zone-of-fire, shooting a rifle at running game, dropping a firearm, failing to secure a firearm in a vehicle or tree stand, taking stray shots, etc.
- Mechanical Failure: Including a safety not preventing discharge; a barrel obstruction; improper ammunition; improper modifications to triggers, sears, etc. of firearms; or a worn quiver