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DEC to hunters: Be safe, be seen

November 8, 2018 05:06 pm

Hunting and trapping seasons are open, and the state Department of Environmental Conservation and the state Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation are encouraging outdoor enthusiasts to follow safety precautions this fall and winter.

Most public lands in the state are open to hunting and other forms of outdoor recreation and outdoor enthusiasts will be sharing the land with hunters who have an outstanding safety record due to mandatory education training given by dedicated volunteers, according to the DEC.

DEC Commissioner Basil Seggos encourages residents to follow safety measures including wearing brightly colored clothing like blaze-orange, pink or other clearly visible colors during the fall and winter to be seen more easily from far distances, according to the DEC.

“Data from hunting-related shooting incidents show us hunters that wear hunter orange are seven times safer,” Seggos said in a statement. “If it makes sense for hunters, it makes sense for other outdoor enthusiasts as well.”

Forest rangers, Environmental Conservation police and other rescue personnel can find outdoor enthusiasts more easily when they are dressed in bright colors when visitors become lost, sick or injured while in the field, according to the DEC. Pet owners should dress their dogs in blaze-orange and be on a leash at all times, which can give them peace of mind, according to the DEC.

Trapping seasons are open throughout the fall and early winter and are used for many species including foxes or coyotes, according to the DEC. Trapping is highly regulated and the regulations are strongly enforced.

Trappers have to take an educational course before getting a license. The DEC works closely with members of the trapping community to encourage techniques, which minimize risk to nontarget wildlife and other animals such as dogs, according to the DEC.

Hunting is among the most popular forms of wildlife recreation in the state and it draws about 700,000 residents and more than 50,000 out-of-state residents, according to the DEC. Hunting is safe and an important economic outdoor pursuit, which helps to balance wildlife populations, promote family traditions and foster an understanding and respect for the environment.

Hikers need to be aware of potentially meeting hunters carrying firearms or archery equipment while hiking on trails and they are encourage to recognize hunters are fellow outdoor enthusiasts with a legal right to participate in these activities on Forest Preserve and Conservation Easement lands, according to the DEC. Hunting accidents involving nonhunters are extremely rare.