Weekly Feature

2017-11-22 / Editorials

Stay safe, connected during hunting season

It’s that time of year; the leaves are crisp, the air is cool and hunters in Western New York are bundling up and heading out to the woods in the hopes of catching the “big one.”

As always, the state Department of Environmental Conservation is reminding hunters who take a deer, bear or turkey to report their game harvest. In addition, hunters or trappers who take a bobcat, and trappers who take a fisher, marten or otter must have the animal pelt sealed by DEC staff.

Hunters who fail to report their harvest can be subject to fines of up to $250.

This year, the DEC is combing the outdoors with smartphone technology.

Along with reporting your deer, bear or turkey harvest via phone, at 1-866-426-3778, or online, the DEC is also reminding hunters about the official mobile app “NY Fishing, Hunting and Wildlife.” The app, which was introduced earlier this year, is available free of charge, and according to the DEC, lets hunters report on a smartphone immediately when they shoot a deer, bear or turkey. This is the case even when the hunter is out of cellular range.

The app also lets users view current and past harvest reports and share harvest reports with friends and followers on Facebook and then send the feedback to the DEC.

The DEC urges hunters to use common sense and remember the following safety tips when hunting:

Assume every gun is loaded.

Control the muzzle. Point your gun in a safe direction.

Keep your finger off the trigger until you are ready to shoot. Be sure of your target and beyond. DEC officials encourage hunters to wear blaze orange or pink as a way to prevent 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, according to DEC officials

When hunting in tree stands use a safety harness and a climbing belt, as most tree stand accidents occur when hunters are climbing in and out of the stand. Also, never climb in or out of a tree stand with a loaded rifle.

Always be prepared for winter conditions when venturing in the woods; inform a friend or relative of your whereabouts and pack emergency supplies.

For more information on these and other important hunting safety tips, visit the DEC’s website at www.dec.ny.gov.

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