The Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP) issued a safety reminder for outdoor enthusiasts as a variety of hunting seasons are currently underway – most notably the opening of the fall firearms deer season which began on Nov. 14. Specific deer hunting season information is available on the DEEP website at www.ct.gov/deep/hunting.
“This is a popular time for many to enjoy the late fall outdoor opportunities that our state has to offer, such as hiking and biking,” said DEEP Deputy Commissioner Susan Whalen. “Therefore, it is especially important for all outdoor users to respect the rights of others and be aware of all activities that may be occurring outdoors. Connecticut hunters have an excellent safety record and awareness on the part of all outdoor users can keep hunting safe for everyone.”
Whether you like to hike, camp, horseback ride, mountain bike, hunt, or fish, it is a good idea to observe a few safety precautions while outdoors.
Basic safety tips that all outdoor users should follow:
- When you use the outdoors, let someone know where you plan to be and when you will return;
- Familiarize yourself with the area you will be using and know the activities that occur there;
- Wear brightly-colored clothing. A fluorescent vest and/or hat is recommended;
- If you see another person while in the woods, whether a hiker, hunter, biker or horseback rider, call out to make them aware of your location;
- Respect property rights. Remember, all users are required to obtain permission from the owner before entering private property. For many hunters, written permission must be carried while on private property.
- Report violations of state laws and regulations to the DEEP Environmental Conservation (EnCon) Police at 860-424-3333.
Hunting Activities: Hunting is allowed on private lands and on most state forests and wildlife management areas, and some state parks. Detailed information about hunting seasons, public hunting areas, laws, and regulations is in the 2012 Connecticut Hunting and Trapping Guide, which is available at all town halls, license agents, and on the DEEP Web site ( www.ct.gov/deep/hunting).
In general, peak hunting occurs during early morning and late afternoon, primarily from mid-October through mid-December.
Hunters should also follow four basic, but important, rules:
1. Assume every firearm is loaded.
2. Control the muzzle – point the firearm in a safe direction at all times.
3. Keep your trigger finger outside the trigger guard until ready to shoot.
4. Be sure of your target, and what is in front of it and what lies beyond.
Other important rules for safe hunting include:
- Do not trust safety devices on a firearm.
- Be certain that the barrel and action are clear of obstructions. Check the chamber and magazine every time you pick up the firearm.
- Use a full body harness and tag line whenever hunting with a treestand.
- Sportsmen must observe the fluorescent orange clothing requirements, which specify that a minimum of 400 square inches be worn above the waist and be visible from all sides from September 1 through the last day in February. Some exceptions do apply; they are listed in the 2012 Connecticut Hunting and Trapping Guide.
- When hunting, be patient and stay alert to your surroundings at all times.
Hunters must continue to register harvests on-line or by telephone. Check stations will remain open for obtaining replacement tags for zones 11 and 12, and during the first four days of the shotgun-rifle season to accommodate those hunters who may not have been informed of the new changes.