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Re: [at-l] Hunting on the Trail, don't trust everything you read

On Sat, 14 Dec 1996, kahlena quoted a posting on rec.backcountry:

> about a report on deaths in outdoor recreation in Colorado between 1993
> and 1995.  A couple of things caught me eye.  First off, you are 14 
> times more likely to die while hiking and climbing than hunting. There 
> were 69 deaths over the period due to hiking and climbing and 5 due to 
> hunting. In fact, even fishing was twice as deadly as hunting at 11 
> deaths. Why do I begin to feel that the vitriol expended on hunters 
> being unsafe murdering thugs in this news group is a bit misplaced?  
> After all, they are 14 times safer than we are!"

I don't want to gum up the list, but these kings of reports really get 
under my skin, for a few reasons.
Some observations about studies that publish results like this (I have 
been studying a few similar ones).  The logic is:
More people die during hiking than hunting, therefore hiking is more 

As far as I can tell, they are just using raw numbers, not taking into 
account how many of each participated overall (for instance, if it was 5 
out of 300 total hunters that died but 65 out of 30,000 hikers, would 
hiking still be more dangerous?)

I assume that hunting is limited to a fairly small fraction of the year, 
but hiking/climbing happens year-round also, so those who are counted as 
"hikers" have more opportunity to be out there in the woods.

I tend to take these "statistics" with a grain of salt, although I am 
willing to belive it could be true that hiking is more dangerous (I think 
there are more people who go hiking who are less educated about the 
dangers).  I saw an article once that said your chances of dying in a 
climbing accident were lower than being hit by lightning.

Also, I think the point that the person above was using these numbers to 
make is misplaced.  The objection to hunters seems to be that they pose a 
"danger" to others.  Hikers die, but rarely kill others while doing it.  
Also note that I assume a hiker shot by a hunter would go under the 
"deaths while hiking" column, not "death while hunting."

I don't want to get bogged down in technicalities, but I think this a 
good example of what Jim Owen was talking about.  Don't trust the 
conclusions of other people's research, read it critically and decide if 
the facts bear out the argument being made.

I've been reading too much, I *really* need to get on the trail...

PS - I found the original article
(http://www.usa.net/gtonline/archive/96-11-11/loc030.html), right after
hiking/climbing # of deaths came biking and skiing as the most dangerous
sports (biking was #1 for children). 

Jeff Mosenkis              MAPSS Student                University of Chicago
              *Freelance Joking Avunculate For Hire*

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