Michigan –-(Ammoland.com)- With the start of firearm deer hunting season less than a week away, Michigan's hunters will soon be in the field, carrying on the state's rich hunting traditions. As hunters enter the woods and fields, conservation officers with the Michigan Department of Natural Resources are offering their top tips for a safe hunting experience.
“Hunting in Michigan is a time-honored activity, rich in tradition, when families and friends come together to enjoy our great outdoors,” said Sgt. Steve Orange, the DNR's hunter education program supervisor. “Making your hunt a safe and responsible experience is key to having an enjoyable and memorable time. Our officers want everyone to have a safe and responsible experience.”
Conservation officers offer important reminders for hunters, including:
- Until you’re ready to fire, keep your finger away from the trigger and outside the trigger guard.
- Treat every firearm as if it is loaded.
- Keep your safety on until you are ready to fire.
- Always point the muzzle in a safe direction.
- Be certain of your target, and what's beyond it, before firing. Know the identifying features of the game you hunt. Make sure you have an adequate backstop – don't shoot at a flat, hard surface or water.
- Don't run, jump or climb with a loaded firearm. Unload a firearm before you climb a fence or tree or jump a ditch. Pull a firearm toward you by the butt, not the muzzle.
- When hunting from an elevated platform, always wear a safety harness. Use a haul line to pull your unloaded firearm up and down your raised hunting platform.
- Avoid alcoholic beverages before or during hunting. Also avoid mind- or behavior-altering medicines or drugs.
- All firearm deer hunters on any land during daylight hunting hours are required to wear a hat, cap, vest or jacket of hunter orange visible from all sides. This includes archery hunters during firearm season.
- Camouflage hunter orange is legal provided 50 percent of the pattern is hunter orange.
- Always let someone know where you are hunting and when you plan on returning. This information helps conservation officers and others locate you if you get lost.
- Carry your cell phone into the woods. Remember to turn your ringer off or set your phone to vibrate rather than ring. Newer cell phones emit a signal that can help rescuers locate you if you are lost. Make sure before you leave for the woods each day that your phone is fully charged. If you have a smartphone, download a compass and flashlight app – there are many versions of these apps that are free to download in the iPhone App Store or on Google Play for Android. Also, program the DNR's Report All Poaching (RAP) Line (800-292-7800) in your phone contacts so you can alert conservation officers to any natural resources violations you witness while hunting.
“These simple, common sense tips can prevent hunting accidents and save lives,” said Orange. “We encourage all hunters to follow these recommendations and review the Michigan Hunting and Trapping Digest for other important information and regulations when enjoying the great outdoors in our state.”
For more information on deer hunting in Michigan, go to www.michigan.gov/deer.
To report a natural resource violation, please call the Report all Poaching hotline at 800-292-7800. Learn more at www.michigan.gov/rap.
Michigan conservation officers are fully commissioned state peace officers who provide natural resources protection, ensure recreational safety and protect citizens by providing general law enforcement duties and lifesaving operations in the communities they serve. To learn more about the work of conservation officers, visit www.michigan.gov/conservationofficer.