Research & Development

Welcome to - The home of research into Failure-to-identify (FTI) Hunting Incidents

(Last update 16/06/2021: Added reference). 


The background.

hfex® produced a white paper titled "Mistaken-for-Game Hunting Accidents – A Human Factors Review" that is downloadable courtesy of our customer, Hunter Safety Lab. Due to the personal/widespread interest and significance for safety across all industries including hunting, our Managing Director personally committed to conducting a PhD. The PhD and the research was completed in November 2021. 

FTI incidents relate to Rule 4 of the 2013 Arms Code, which states that the hunter must positively identify their target beyond all doubt. In some cases, due to incorrectly identifying the target, this has led to fatal shootings of another human being. The practical application of this research is intended to provide improvements to hunter safety related activities, self-awareness, potential reduction in incident rates and a better understanding of why people behave the way they do in many industries other than hunting. 


Key findings and insights from the PhD.

Your biggest risk is thinking it will never happen to you.

  1. Hunting is a complex and dynamic activity and many don’t realise just how complex it is  [SOURCE: Hunting FRAM, Year 01]
  2. Decision making can be easily upset at early stages of hunting and risks snowballing to an FTI [SOURCE: Hunting FRAM, interviews and near miss reporting, Year 01]
  3. If you pick up false sign your experience and know-how become your first, and maybe your last, line of defence – always ask yourself how can I improve? [SOURCE: Hunting FRAM, interviews and near miss reporting, Year 01]
  4. Make sure that the process of committing to shooting is a deliberate and thoughtful process even if it means you losing your deer [SOURCE: Hunting FRAM and interviews, Year 01]
  5. Hunters get excited at the sight of their first stag – period! [SOURCE: Sika Show 2017, Year 02]
  6. Your levels of physiological arousal increases in the last few seconds prior to shooting. [SOURCE: Sika Show 2017, Year 02]
  7. Your pupils dilate, which could mean you visual acuity is reduced causing your fallible brain to fill in the gaps unconsciously [SOURCE: Sika Show 2017, Year 02]
  8. Your perception of time slows down – your 2 minutes is actually less than 1 min 30 secs [SOURCE: Sika Show 2017, Year 02]
  9. Hunters are goal orientated which could work against you [SOURCE: Sika Show 2018, Year 03]
  10. Hunters pull the trigger way too fast [SOURCE: Sika Show 2018, Year 03]
  11. Be mindful of indirect and direct pressure [SOURCE: Sika Show 2019, Year 04]
  12. No matter how good you are, how experienced you are, how old you are, what personality you have, you are at risk of an FTI [SOURCE: Sika 2017, 2018, 2019]
  13. Favour letting your quarry go. Head home with no meat, and/or no trophy if you cannot identify all parts of the deer [SOURCE: Overall].

Should you decide to download this information to support your training, publicity, safety messages we would appreciate you referencing this research either by referencing this webpage, my company or "Dr Karl E. Bridges".


The downloadable stuff.

The table below presents details of the research as they become publically available.

Year Details File
2020 / 2021 Full text thesis  Download
2020 PhD Thesis overview - two page high level summary of the findings Download
2019 Computer based testing into contextual causes of hunting decision making Manuscript under development
2017 Field and Simulation based research into behaviour and psycho-physiology of FTI

Full text manuscript (available until 15 Mar 2021). Download

Plain English Version Download

2016 Foundational mapping of the process of hunting

Plain English Version Download

Full text published research paper Download


Introduce layers of protection into the way you hunt.

A method for trainers to enforce the message that the steps a hunter takes from deciding to go out to shooting should be well thought out and methodical. Some background notes can be accessed herePlease customise this to your actions and the order of tasks that work for you. This model is not in any way condoning what you should do - refer to the previously mentioned notes.




Initial publicity.

Apr 2018 - TVNZ Seven Sharp Interview

Feb 2018 - Radio NZ National interview (Karl Bridges talking about latest findings)

Aug 2016 - Josh James' YouTube announcement

Aug 2016 - NZ Herald article

Oct 2015 - 3 News interview

Oct 2015 - Radio NZ National interview (Kyle Wilson talking about white paper we co-authored)


Many thanks to my academic supporters.

Name Organisation
Associate Professor Paul Corballis University of Auckland, PhD Supervisor
Professor Tony Lambert University of Auckland, PhD Co-supervisor
Professor Erik Hollnagel Co-author and Subject Matter Expert
Dr. Kyle Wilson Co-author on Mistaken-for-game white paper


Many thanks to my organisational supporters.

Supporting organisations
Balnagown Hunting
BowSim 4d (formerly Shooting Cinema)
Council of Licensed Firearms Owners
Federated Mountain Clubs
Firearms Safety Council
Firearms Safety Specialists
Fish and Game
Game Animal Council
Gibson Hunts
Hunter Safety Lab
Hunting and Fishing
Makapua Station
Mountain Safety Council
New Zealand Deerstalkers Association
New Zealand Police
Precision Shooting
Radix Nutrition
Safer Shooting
Steve's Wholesale
Stoney Creek
The Kiwi Bushman


The publications

Bridges, K.E. (2017). Human Factors in hunting: An ongoing investigation. Proceedings of the Human Factors and Ergonomics Society of New Zealand’s 19th Conference “Wellbeing Design Practice” – 5-7 September 2017, Wellington, New Zealand.

Bridges, K.E., & Corballis, P.M. (2017). Psychophysiological measures to understand failure-to-identify hunting accidents in deerstalking. Poster session presented at the 7th Annual Cognitive Neuroscience Society - 23-26 November 2017, Adelaide, Australia.

Bridges, K.E., & Corballis, P.M. (2018). Psychophysiological measures to understand failure-to-identify hunting accidents in deerstalking. Poster session at the 58th Annual Meeting of the Society for Psychophysiological Research (SPR) - 3-7 October 2018, Quebec City, Canada.

Bridges, K.E., & Corballis, P.M. (2019). Cognitive, behavioural and psycho-physiological predictors of failure-to-identify hunting incidents. Proceedings of the Human Factors and Ergonomics Society of New Zealand's 21st Conference - Auckland, New Zealand. 19-20 September 2019.

Bridges, K.E., Corballis, P.M., & Hollnagel, E. (2018). “Failure-to-identify” hunting incidents: a resilience engineering approach. Human Factors, 60 (2), 141-159.

Bridges, K.E., Corballis, P.M., Spray, M & Bagrie, J. (2021). Testing failure-to-identify hunting incidents using an immersive simulation: is it viable? Applied Ergonomics, 93, 103358.

Bridges, K.E. & Corballis, P.M. (2021). Cognitive, behavioural and psycho-physiological predictors of failure-to-identify hunting incidents. Proceedings of the International Ergonomics Association Triennial Congress, Vancouver, Canada. 16 June 2021.


Should you wish to discuss current or future research, comment or contribute to this page, or would like to be kept up to date on some of the other exciting pieces of work being conducted by hfex® please contact us using the contact details available on the homepage.