This figure does not count non-game or non-target species which also fall to poor shots. The Humane Society states that this figure is grossly underestimated. I believe shotguns should be outlawed for hunting. If you are not skilled enough to hit a duck with a rifle then you have no right to hunt. (source)
Rifles are perfectly safe if you’re out in the woods away from people. If you’re shooting ducks in an area where you could be hitting people, you shouldn’t be shooting ducks.
I also do not believe wildlife refuges should allow hunting except for very special circumstances.
“The duck and goose hunting season on the west coast generally spans 100 days of the year and is open on many shared public lands including National Wildlife Refuges and state-owned wildlife areas (outside of state parks and national parks). The season begins around the time ducks and geese start migrating to their wintering grounds, and it ends just a short time before the onset of spring migration. In essence, bird hunting season covers the bulk of time during which ducks and geese are resting, feeding, refueling, and bonding with mates during the winter months.
Lifetime pairings in family-oriented species like geese are often split due to death or injury during the season. Given the intensity of hunting pressure which is seven days a week in some areas, it shouldn’t be a surprise that some of us are uncomfortable with business-as-usual when it comes to water-fowling practices. One local fish and game warden talked about areas that get “shot out” during the season — meaning the hunting pressure is so intense, the birds simply leave and do not return.” (source)