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Sheriff's Message: Be mindful of outdoor safety during deer season

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As we approach the 2013 firearms deer season, outdoor safety comes to mind. There are few tips we to need to remember each year to remain safe in the woods, and while we are out and about in areas that potentially contain hunters.

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Blaze orange is not only important for hunters, but also for those who enjoy the outdoors or work outdoors during deer season. If you walk, bike or engage in other outdoor activities during the firearms deer season, it is wise to wear blaze orange.

If you spend time with pets outdoors, it’s not a bad idea to outfit them with blaze orange as well. Keeping blaze orange clothing in your vehicle in case of roadside trouble is also a wise choice.

Hunters also need to take steps to remain safe in the woods during this time. Letting family members know where you’ll be hunting, what stand you’ll be sitting in and what time you expect to be home could become critical information if you become injured.

Carrying a cell phone that is fully charged and easily accessible in your clothing is a must; in case of a fall or other issues.

Adequate clothing for the forecasted weather, food, fluids and a flame-producing device should be available. A flashlight, backup flashlight, GPS and compass for when the GPS goes down are a must.

Other essentials such as a first aid kit, rope, knives, topographical maps and other pertinent equipment should be seriously considered and packed accordingly.

If you wound a deer, take the time to keep your bearing and mark your trail. Always return to retrieve your trail markings if they are not biodegradable.

If a deer you are tracking leaves your property, take the necessary steps to notify the land owner and obtain permission to continue the track. Be respectful of property lines and cordial with those you encounter on your hunting trip.

Be cautious of swamps and creeks that are not adequately frozen to support your weight. A plunge into freezing water, or getting stuck in swamp muck, could facilitate the onset of hypothermia. Your location and the lack of ability to summons help could cost you your life.

Please take the necessary steps to enjoy a safe and successful hunting trip, or other outdoor activity here in Crow Wing County. Good luck and good hunting.

(Sheriff Todd Dahl can be contacted at 304 Laurel St., Brainerd, MN 56401; 218-829-4749; or todd.dahl@crowwing.us.)

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