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Minnesota hunter shot during deer season opener

The first weekend of the deer season, and already someone's been hurt.

In a rough start to the state's deer hunting firearm season, a northern Minnesota man is in the hospital with a gunshot wound to the leg.

The man, who's been identified as 45-year-old David Shaw, was apparently hit by another hunter.

According to WDAY, Shaw was in one of two hunting groups on the same piece of public land in Becker County when the incident happened on Saturday, taking a bullet to the leg when one of the groups attempted to shoot a deer and missed.

He was airlifted to Sanford Hospital in Fargo, where his current condition is unknown, Valley News Live reports.

This is the inaugural weekend of Minnesota's deer season, which half a million people were expected to take part in, the Associated Press reported.

How often does this happen to Minnesota hunters?

Often enough, statistically speaking; in fact, since 1947 (which is as far back as the records go) Minnesota has only had four years free of "hunting incidents."

With that said, the number of those incidents – which include fatalities – has been on the decline. Last year, there were 15 incidents and zero fatalities, according to the DNR. Compare that to 10 years earlier, when there were 24 incidents, of which three were fatal.

The most fatalities came in 1961, when 29 people died.

While those records don't make clear the circumstances of those deaths (making it hard to tell if they involved firearms or not), the hunting incidents from last year, all of 11 of them, were gun-related, according to this report.

So, rethink my outdoor activities?

No, go ahead and keep hunting, just do so safely.

In fact, national statistics suggest it’s a relatively safe activity, especially where shooting is concerned.

According to the National Shooting Sports Foundation, the numbers say that of the more than 16 million people who engaged in firearm hunting in 2011, fewer than 7,000 were injured.

More people, the group says, were injured playing basketball that year (despite fewer people actually engaging in the sport than in hunting).

Furthermore, their report states, “unintentional firearms fatalities” are at an all-time low.

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