(UNDATED) - Tomorrow is one of the most anticipated days in Indiana for hunters the opening of firearms season for White-tailed deer.
Indiana Conservation Officers stress the importance of following good safety habits whenever handling and using firearms. Officer Ron Miller reminds hunters to follow some basic tips that will make the event safe and enjoyable:
1. Practice firearms safety:
Always treat firearms as if they are were loaded at all times. Even if you personally unload the firearm, always point the muzzle in a safe direction. Treat it with the respect and care of a loaded firearm.
This applies ANYTIME you are handling a firearm, whether in the field, in your vehicle, at home, at the range, anytime. Know and be mindful of where your hunting companions are before you take that shot.
2. Know your target:
Be sure you completely identify what you are about to shoot and that it is legal to take. Always know your target and what is beyond it. Never take a shot unless you are certain it is safe.
3. Wear solid blaze hunter orange:
One of the most important rules for hunters during firearms season is that they must wear a garment of solid fluorescent orange. Deer do not see in colors, and this will help make sure that other hunters are able to know where you are.
Make sure you wear your blaze orange while you are in the tree stand or in a ground blind. Conservation Officers encourage hunters to wear more hunter orange garments than just a blaze orange hat so that others in the field can identify you.
4. Use common sense when hunting from a tree stand:
Any hunter who has been in the woods knows a tree stand is a useful hunting tool. It allows an elevated view of the surroundings and keeps the hunter from being detected by the deer's keen sense of smell. However, used incorrectly a tree stand could be very dangerous and even deadly.
Tree-stand incidents are the leading category of hunting accidents investigated by Indiana Conservation Officers If you're going to be hunting from a tree stand, make sure to use a Tree-stand Manufacturer's Association(TMA)-approved tree stand.
You also want to make sure you use an approved full body harness that is rated for your weight and the weight of all your worn gear. A full body, fall -arrest harness should be worn from the time you begin your climb until you are back on the ground.
Hunters should use a haul line to raise and lower gear, firearms or bows to and from the tree stand. Firearms on a haul line should be unloaded with the action open and the muzzle pointed downward.
5. Practice hunter ethics:
Obtain permission prior to hunting on private land and do not trespass. Know the property lines and respect them. Retrieve the wounded deer and never leave it because it is "just a doe" or "too small."
Such instances are not only unethical, but illegal. Miller reminds that deer hunters should never throw deer remains alongside the road, over a bridge, into the water or onto someone else's property without permission. Disposing it on the side of the road is not a good idea, it is littering, this practice makes hunters look bad.
Nobody wants to see or smell a deer carcass. Be considerate of others and check in advance to see if you can dispose of the carcass at a local deer processors dumpster. Some businesses provide that service for hunters.
Have a safe, fun hunting experience and take along youths to share in the tradition of hunting skills. Report all hunting violations at 1- 800- TIP- IDNR.
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