Every now and then you hear a statistic that is surprising. I was pretty floored by one I heard yesterday.

While listening to the Meateater podcast yesterday I heard the host, Steven Rinella, mention that hunting is safer than almost every other activity one can be engaged in, except for shooting pool.

Dumbfounded by that, I went looking for what they were talking about and found it. I wanted to know if riding a bicycle was really more dangerous. It was.

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The annual study by the National Shooting Sports Foundation, called the Industry Intelligence Report, released in May of last year, states that hunting with firearms was the second safest activity when ranked by the percentage of injuries per 100 participants. 0.03 percent, way less than once per 100 participants, sustained injuries while hunting. Billiards/pool was first at 0.02 percent. Bowling was third at 0.05 percent.

The rest of the top five were target archery, water skiing, exercising with equipment, tennis, off-road mountain biking, fishing, and golfing. All of these activities sustained less than one percent of injuries.

By contrast, tackle football was the most dangerous activity, followed by basketball. One out of every 25 football players gets injured every year. One out of every 57 basketball players are injured. Meanwhile, one out of every 3,723 hunters are injured while hunting.

Of course, when injures occur, they can be gravely more serious when hunting. There is inherent danger involved that is only mitigated by the safe behavior of hunters.

Three years ago I was on the receiving end of fairly close rifle fire while deer hunting. I was not hit. It was not the fault of the other hunter, if anyone was to blame it was me. I was stalking in on a deer I had spotted right after getting out of my truck. The other hunter had parked a half-mile farther west from the designated road I drove into the field on. They had no idea I was there, and I didn't know I was there, despite both of us wearing blaze orange. After I heard a bullet crack followed by a boom of muzzle blast a half-second later, I knew I was in the wrong spot. I left, besides, he shot the deer I was stalking.

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