VDGIF provides safety reminders and guidance for hunters

Published 9:42 am Friday, October 28, 2016

The Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries (VDGIF) is taking the opportunity to remind hunters that an enjoyable day in the woods begins with hunting safely. First and foremost, VDGIF wants to stress to sportsmen/women and persons accompanying a hunter that during the muzzleloader deer hunting season, blaze orange must be worn at all times when moving to and from a stand location.

During the general firearms season, every hunter or person accompanying a hunter must wear blaze orange at all times. Blaze orange must be visible from 360 degrees and display at least 100 square inches of solid blaze orange material.
In addition, all hunters are encouraged to strictly follow three basic rules for hunting safety:

1. Treat every firearm as if it were loaded.

2. Control the direction of your muzzle at all times, only pointing at what you intend to shoot.

3. Before shooting, identify your game and what is beyond.

Hunters using tree stands should follow this advice:

1. Always use a full-body harness to secure yourself in the stand and while climbing/descending. Maintain three points of contact while climbing.

2. Use a haul line to get your unloaded gun or bow into and out of the tree stand. Never climb with equipment.

3. Keep portable tree stands in good working condition and inspect permanent tree stands thoroughly before using. Homemade stands are not recommended.

4. Stay alert and awake. If you start to nod off, get back to the ground.
These recommendations are drawn from the Department’s Hunter Safety Education program. Each year, approximately 12,000 people attend these free classroom courses or take the course online. Online hunter education courses are now available for ages 12 and above.

Parents often attend their children’s hunter education class so they can spend time together while getting ready for the hunting season. The Hunter Safety Education program emphasizes hunting ethics, safety and individual responsibility.

Specific seasons and bag limits are outlined in the Hunting & Trapping in Virginia 2016-2017 regulation booklet available at no cost from license agents and the VDGIF. The regulations can also be viewed on the Department’s web site, www.dgif.virginia.gov.