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Scott Rall: CO’s offer tips to make this a safe hunting season

WORTHINGTON -- I am looking forward to the next two days as I will be spending them in a deer blind with Amanda and Doug Tate. Amanda has hunted deer before but Doug never has. It will be fun to see if they can harvest their first deer in more th...

WORTHINGTON - I am looking forward to the next two days as I will be spending them in a deer blind with Amanda and Doug Tate. Amanda has hunted deer before but Doug never has. It will be fun to see if they can harvest their first deer in more than 15 years for Amanda and a first ever deer for Doug.

I had the opportunity to visit with newly hired Conservation Officer (CO) Annette Kyllo. She recently graduated from the Conservation Officers Academy and was training with our local conservation officer Andrew Dirks. They wanted to share with me a few of what they think are the most important items in relation to the firearms deer season, which opens in our area on Saturday.

The first of those is that no deer or game of any kind are worth risking the safety of you or others. Once a bullet is sent down range, there is no calling that bullet back. People can tend to get too excited when faced with the opportunity to shoot a big buck. They can lose focus of the safety issues that are required and will take shots that might be unsafe to take.

The second item on Annette’s’ list was that deer hunters need more blaze orange then pheasant hunters normally do. Small game hunters need only wear an item of orange about the waist. A deer hunter is required to wear outer clothing in blaze orange or blaze pink that covers 50 percent or greater above the waist; and in addition wear a blaze orange or blaze pink hat or cap. This blaze orange requirement has saved a lot of lives since its inception.

Others in the field during deer season also have to dress like a deer hunter. For example, a pheasant hunter can wear an orange hat and be in compliance, but once deer season opens, they too need to wear the blaze orange requirements of a deer hunter. A pheasant hunter, fur trapper, duck hunter or archery hunter all have to wear orange while in the field. Once in a duck blind, the waterfowler only can remove their blaze orange until they leave the blind to head back to the truck.

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Blaze pink is now allowed as an alternative to blaze orange. I have not seen any of this yet.

Trespassing has always been one the areas a CO gets complaints about. A hunter cannot trespass on any agricultural land without permission, regardless if that land is posted or not. A person can enter unposted land to retrieve a wounded animal without permission but I would never ever do it.

If you have a deer down on land you do not have formal permission on, please contact that landowner before entering to retrieve it. This goes a long way to creating and keeping good hunter/landowner relationships intact. This is the kind of hunting ethics we need demonstrated by each and every hunter in the field. One bad encounter with a hunter by a landowner might close that land to all hunting by any person for the rest of that landowner’s life.

Land only needs to be posted one time per year to be considered legally posted for the entire year. If the landowner can testify that the land was posted even if the sign is no longer visible, this would result in a hunter trespass violation. This keeps unethical hunters from just tearing down the sign and then saying, “I did not know it was a posted property.”

I will repeat, do not enter land that you don’t have formal permission to access. Permission last year does not automatically mean permission this season. Ask for permission each and every year.

Gun case rules changed about five or six years ago and now allow you to transport a firearm uncased and unloaded when moving from one hunting spot to the next. The gun cannot have any rounds in either the chamber or magazine. You may not enter any community with a population of 2,500 people or more with an uncased gun.

The safest way to transport a firearm is cased and unloaded. Remember that there will be lots of kids out hunting with family this weekend and all hunters need to be good role models for those future hunters.

Last but not least is that it is illegal to use bait to aid in the taking of deer. Bait could be piles of corn, apples, grain or manufactured deer attract products. Most deer attractant products are considered bait. You will lose your firearm if you are cited for baiting. It is one of those areas that has gotten a lot of press in the past five years. Know the rules about baiting and avoid a troubling encounter with a CO.

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Thanks to officers Kyllo and Dirks for their time in covering these most important deer hunting issues. Have a great deer hunt and remember to register your deer after the hunt.

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