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DEC Reminds Hunters to Put Safety First This Hunting Season
10/09/18 04:30pm
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    From the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation:

    DEC Reminds Hunters to Put Safety First This Hunting Season

    With several hunting seasons underway and the start of big game season just
    weeks away, New York State Department of Environmental Conservation
    (DEC) Commissioner Basil Seggos is reminding hunters to put safety at the
    forefront of their actions this fall when going afield.

    "Statistics show that hunting in New York State is safer than ever,"
    Commissioner Seggos said. "But we know through our investigations that every
    hunting-related accident is preventable. So DEC is urging New York's 500,000
    hunters to use common sense, follow the tenets taught in the DEC Hunter
    Education Course, and put safety first in every action you take this season."

    The 4 Rules of Firearm Safety

  • Treat every firearm as if it is loaded.

  • Always keep the muzzle pointed in a safe direction.

  • Keep your finger off the trigger and outside the trigger guard until you are
    ready to shoot.

  • Always be sure of your target and what is beyond. Once you pull the
    trigger, you can't take the bullet back.

    Wearing Hunter Orange Saves Lives

    DEC encourages every hunter to wear blaze orange or pink. Wearing orange
    or pink prevents other hunters from mistaking a person for an animal or
    shooting in your direction. Hunters who wear hunter orange are seven times
    less likely to be shot. New York State law requires hunters age 14 and 15 and
    their mentors who are hunting deer or bear with a gun to wear fluorescent
    hunter orange or pink visible from all directions: a shirt, jacket, or vest with at
    least 250 square inches of solid or patterned fluorescent orange or pink (the
    pattern must be at least 50 percent orange or pink) OR a hat with at least 50
    percent fluorescent orange or pink.

    During the past 10 years, not one person wearing hunter orange was mistaken
    for game and killed in New York. On the contrary, the majority of big game
    hunters involved in firearm-related incidents were not wearing hunter orange.

    Tree Stand Safety Tips

    Every year, hunters are seriously injured, paralyzed, or killed falling out of tree
    stands. Falls from tree stands have become a major cause of hunting related
    injuries and fatalities in New York. In 2017, DEC Commissioner Seggos
    requested the agency's Environmental Conservation Police Officers (ECOs) to
    track and investigate tree stand injuries for the first time. DEC investigated 12
    tree stand accidents last year, and 50 percent (six) proved to be fatal. All 12
    accidents involved a hunter who was not wearing a harness or the harness
    was not attached to the stand or tree at the time of their fall. The proper use of
    tree stands and full-body harnesses will help to prevent these injuries and

  • When hunting in tree stands use a full body safety harness and a climbing
    belt and stay connected from the time you leave the ground to the time
    you get back down, as most tree stand accidents occur when hunters are
    climbing in and out of the stand.

  • Never climb in or out of a tree stand with a loaded firearm.

  • Read the manufacturer's instructions and warnings before you use your
    tree stand and check your stands (including straps and chains) every
    season. Replace any worn or missing parts.

  • Let a reliable person know where you will be hunting and when you will
    return. A map showing your tree stand location makes it easier for others
    to find you if you do not return on time.

    Legal Hunting Hours

    The DEC would like to remind hunters that the legal hours for big game hunting
    across the state run from official sunrise to sunset. It is the responsibility of
    hunters to know when those times are in their locations. Consult the DEC
    hunting guide, use the DEC wildlife app or search weather data on the internet
    to find the official sunrise and sunset times for your area. Not only is it unsafe
    but it is illegal to hunt deer and bear in the dark (link leaves DEC's website).

    Fitness for Hunters

    Hunting is a physical sport. Every hunting season is marred by hunters who
    suffer heart attacks and strokes. Walking while carrying gear, spotting, and
    shooting at a deer and dragging a carcass can cause more stress than the
    heart can handle. That's especially true if you are not physically active, smoke,
    have high blood pressure, elevated cholesterol, or other health problems. It is a
    good idea to start building up your endurance before hunting season. Any
    activity that gets you moving around, even if it's just 30 minutes each day, can
    start strengthening your heart and lungs so you can have a safe hunting
    season. In addition, hunters should always be prepared for winter conditions
    when venturing in the woods, inform a friend or relative of their whereabouts,
    and pack emergency supplies.

    Hunter Education Program

    DEC requires every hunter to take a Hunter Education Course free of charge
    before they can receive a license to hunt. Since New York's Hunter Education
    Program was first introduced in 1949, the number of hunting-related accidents
    have declined by 80 percent. Thanks to the efforts of 2,600 DEC staff and
    volunteer hunter education program instructors that teach nearly 50,000
    students each year, New York's hunting safety statistics continue to improve.

    Trained volunteer instructors certified by DEC teach safe, responsible, and
    ethical hunting and trapping practices and the important role of hunters and
    trappers in wildlife conservation.

    In 2017, 19 hunting-related shooting incidents (HRSI) were reported in New
    York. In 1966, there were 166 incidents, 13 of which were fatal.

    For more information on these and other important hunting safety tips, please
    visit DEC's website and watch a video about hunter safety and tree stand
    safety (links leave DEC's website) for more tips on how to prevent accidents.
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