These scary little suckers can whiz past -- or directly into -- your head during a hunting trip, a neighborhood shoot-out, or while celebrating New Year's Eve, firing these deadly rockets straight up into the sky, only to land ... wherever.
They're not something most people usually think about. In fact, no one really keeps tabs on them.
Until now ....
As reported by California Watch, folks at the UC Davis Violence Prevention Research Program set about tracking stray bullets from March 2008 through February 2009.
The results are alarming - especially if you're a kid who is 14-years-old or younger.
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The research collected shows that 317 people suffered stray bullet wounds. Of those, 31 percent - by far the largest percentage - were people under the age of 14.
Not surprisingly, nearly 60 percent of all stray bullet injuries happened during shoot-outs or violent outbursts. Hunting accidents made up for 7 percent of the stray shooting incidents, and celebratory gunfire made up for more than 4 percent.
As for who gets shot more, men or women, the answer is men, but not by much. Stray bullets found a female victim 44 percent of the time.
After surveying their data, the researchers conclude that, "Most stray bullet shootings arise from violence, but they frequently affect females [and] children. Those who are shot have little or no warning."