(MADISON, WI.)–Hunting has become much safer in Wisconsin, in the 50 years since modern hunter education efforts begin the state. Jon King is Hunter Education Administrator and Conservation Warden with the Wisconsin DNR. “It started back in 1967, when we had just a record number of hunting accidents,” King says. “It was decided that we needed to do something about that.” In 1966 in Wisconsin, the hunting incident rate was 44 injuries for every 100,000 hunters. Hunting injuries and deaths have decreased by more than 90 percent in the period. The state has also had five gun-deer seasons free of fatalities — 1972, 2010, 2011, 2013 and 2016. About 24,000 hunters receive safety training every year – and more than a million since the program began. The state’s nine-day gun deer season opens on Saturday. King wants you to remember “Safety First” when handling firearms. Treat every firearm as if it is loaded. Always point the muzzle in a safe direction. Be certain of your target and what is beyond it. Keep your finger outside the trigger guard until ready to shoot.