SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — Waterfowl and youth pheasant hunting seasons have begun, with more seasons continuing to open as we get into the month of October. It’s important to remember safe practices, whether you are hunting or find yourself in a hunting area.
With hunting seasons beginning, it’s important to follow the hunting safety protocol while you are out in the wild.
“It’s always important to remember just the basic firearm safety principles. Just always treat the gun as if it’s loaded, always point the mussel in a safe direction,” said Brandon Maahs, HuntSAFE coordinator. “Always be sure of your target and what’s beyond and then always keep your finger outside of that trigger guard until you’re ready to fire.”
“A lot of guys get shot at or shot towards during seasons and stuff like that, I’m sure it happens more than what we know, so it’s just, just best to be smart and know your target and know your background, things like that,” said Craig Fishel, Wildlife Conservation Officer.
Even if you aren’t the one hunting, there are still safety protocols that you should follow if you find yourself in a hunting area.
“Just know when the season is open, I know a lot of people are walking dogs and things like that,” said Fishel. “So make sure that maybe you look into getting something for your dog or your animal that you’re taking on a walk, like an orange vest or something like that. Just know what’s going on and when it’s going on so maybe you can try to avoid those certain areas during those certain times of the year.”
“It’s always important to read our hunting and trapping handbook just to get a quick rundown on what hunting seasons are going on,” Maahs said.
It’s also important to make sure you have the proper licenses before setting out on the hunt.
“Call your local wildlife conservation officer say ‘hey I’m going out waterfowl, what do I need?’ ‘Hey I want a deer tag, what do I need for that?’ things like that,” Fishel said. “Our people at the office know that as well and it’s always written in our handbook as well.”
You can also take hunter safety courses through South Dakota Game, Fish and Parks.