The Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP) has a message for those who plan on partaking in the wide variety of outdoor activities popular in the fall: Safety first.
According to DEEP, fall’s abundant outdoor options — hiking, camping, horseback riding, mountain biking, hunting, fishing and more — come with a bevy of dangers.
“We are approaching the peak time of year for a wide variety of outdoor activities, including hiking, biking, paddling, and hunting,” DEEP Deputy Commissioner Susan Frechette said. “With this diversity, it is especially important for all outdoor users to respect the rights of others and be aware of all activities that may be occurring in the area where they are recreating.”
Here’s DEEP’s basic safety tips for autumn:
- 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;
- Consider using a bell on your bike or horse;
- If you see another person while in the woods, whether a hiker, hunter, biker or horseback rider, call out to them 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.
Most Dangerous Game
For hunters, the safety equation is more complex. Hunting is allowed on private lands and on most state forests and wildlife management areas, as well as some state parks. Detailed information about hunting seasons, public hunting areas, laws, and regulations are available in the 2011 Connecticut Hunting and Trapping Guide, which is available at all town halls, license agents, and on the DEEP Web site at www.ct.gov/deep/hunting.
In general, peak hunting occurs during early morning and late afternoon, primarily during the period from mid-October through mid-December. The general firearms hunting season for deer begins on November 16 this year.
According to DEEP, hunters should also follow four basic rules:
- Assume every firearm is loaded;
- Control the muzzle — point the firearm in a safe direction;
- Keep your trigger finger outside the trigger guard until ready to shoot
- Be sure of your target and what lies beyond.
Sportsmen must observe the fluorescent orange clothing requirements, which specify that a total of 400 square inches be worn above the waist and be visible from all sides from Sept. 1 through the last day in February. Some exceptions do apply; they are listed in the 2011 Connecticut Hunting and Trapping Guide.
DEEP urges residents to report violations of state laws and regulations to its Environmental Conservation (EnCon) Police at 860-424-3333 or to the “Turn-in-Poachers” Hotline at 1-800-842-HELP. Callers who call the Poachers Hotline can choose to remain anonymous and receive cash rewards for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the violator.