Hunting Season Safe So Far

State wildlife officials say accident rates are at a record low with one-third of Mississippi's deer season completed and half of the annual hunting season over. ``Unless something busts loose on us in the final part of the deer season, we could have one of our safest hunting seasons ever,'' said Steve Adcock, hunting education coordinator for the Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries and Parks. ``Compared to last year, for instance, we're doing great. Adcock said at this time last year, there were 14 firearm-related accidents and one fatality from dove hunting. ``This year, we've had six firearm accidents. None of those have been extremely severe and there have been no fatalities,'' he said. During the 2000-01 deer season, there were 13 tree-stand accidents reported by Dec. 13. Through Wednesday, only four tree-stand falls have been reported, Adcock said. ``The tree-stand falls are probably going to result in our most severe injuries, as far as long-term effects,'' Adcock said. ``The firearm injuries have been mostly minor, but we have had one serious injury. The last one involved a squirrel hunter who shot himself in the abdomen while crossing a fence. I understand he will fully recover.'' The 2000-01 hunting season was among the worst in recent years in Mississippi. There were 32 firearm accidents reported from Sept. 1 (opening day of dove season) through May 1 (end of turkey season) with four fatalities. There were 15 additional tree-stand accidents with one fatality. Adcock said according to accident statistics last year, January was the most dangerous month with 11 total firearm accidents. ``If we get some cold weather and see an increase in the number of deer and duck hunters, who knows, we could see a proportionate increase in accidents,'' he said.