Pioneer Editorial: Remember the tradition of safety
Traditions are strong in the northland. And one of those traditions returns this week -- the firearm deer hunting opener. The annual trip to the deer camp, sitting around the fire, rekindling old memories with family and friends, are experiences ...
Traditions are strong in the northland. And one of those traditions returns this week - the firearm deer hunting opener.
The annual trip to the deer camp, sitting around the fire, rekindling old memories with family and friends, are experiences many of us hold tight to our blaze orange vests.
There are about 500,000 firearms deer hunters in Minnesota, according to the state Department of Natural Resources, and deer hunting has an annual economic impact of $725 million.
The average hunter spends five days afield, the DNR says, and the vast majority of those trips are
However, hunting trips can and sometimes turn deadly, whether from a shooting accident, a fall from a deer stand or, and this is today’s topic, hunters becoming lost in the woods.
Just today, we here at the Pioneer heard about a bowhunter who became lost in woods near Guthrie over the weekend. Disoriented and cold, possibly suffering from hypothermia, the man saw some lights in the distance and followed them to find a house under construction. However, the people building the home were staying in a nearby RV. After warming up, the man told the couple he was an experienced hunter, in fact, had hunted the very same woods for a long time, but became lost in the dark and rain as the overnight temperatures dipped into the 30s.
So, as Saturday nears, we wanted to remind hunters of some basic tips from the DNR that will help ensure a safe, and hopefully successful, deer opener:
● Get a detailed map of the area you are hunting, review it before you leave, and carry it with you in the field.
● Carry a compass and know how to use it. Decide ahead of time the direction to head for if you get lost or disoriented.
● Weather can change quickly in Minnesota, so hunters should carry a simple survival kit and be prepared for an unexpected overnight stay in the field. The survival kit should contain a rope, a knife, water, waterproof matches, an emergency shelter and first aid supplies.
● If you are on the water, make sure to wear a life vest.
● Know your hunting partners’ physical and emotional limitations, as well as your own, and don’t push your partners or yourself beyond those limits.
● If hunting from an elevated stand use a fall restraint device.
● Always let someone know where you are going and when you plan to return.
As the temperatures drop, and there’s a good chance, outdoor conditions will include at least some moisture, hunters need to be aware of hypothermia symptoms and how to react. If you find yourself shivering, have numb extremities or have trouble walking, you may be suffering from hypothermia, which can lead to poor decisions, which can lead to becoming lost or disoriented.
The DNR recommends that all hunters consider taking an advanced hunter education class. They also offer a free, online course that is a good reference for all hunters, young and old - www.hunterexam.com/usa/minnesota/ .
So, as your return to the outdoors this weekend, remember there are more important things than bagging that big buck. Coming home is one.
Have a safe opener.