Swedish hunters’ safety behaviour and experience of firearm incidents

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Swedish hunters’ safety behaviour and experience of firearm incidents

Category: Behavior, International, Unintentional|Journal: Accident Analysis and Prevention|Author: A Eriksson, M Junozvic, P Midiov, S Lonn|Year: 2013

Since any firearm injury is potentially lethal, it is of great interest to prevent firearm incidents. This study investigated such incidents during hunting and Swedish hunters’ safety behaviour. A 48-item questionnaire was posted to a random sample of 1000 members of the Swedish Association for Hunting and Wildlife Management. The questions considered demographics, hunting experience/hunting habits/safety behaviour/attitudes and experience of careless weapon handling, hunters’ weapons and safety behaviour relating to weapons, health status, firearm incidents and their preventability, and personal comments on the questionnaire. The response rate was almost 50%. The mean age of the responders was 54 years; 5% were females. Almost none (1%) reported hunting under the influence of alcohol. Young age and male sex were positively associated with risk behaviour, although the presence of multiple risk behaviours in the same responder was not common. A very high degree of compliance with Swedish laws regarding weapon storage was reported. One-quarter of the responders had witnessed a firearm incident caused by another hunter, which in most situations did not result in human injury or death. An unsafetied weapon was the most common reported “cause” of these incidents. Experience of a firearm incident was not uncommon and the majority of the responders considered the incident in question to be preventable. This study provides a picture of the possible risk behaviour among hunters and the results suggest that future prevention work should target safer weapon handling.

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