Hunting 2013: Be safe and respectful

Chief Deputy Chris Caulk
Isanti County Sheriff’s Office

As I wake up and go outside on these beautiful late summer mornings I am reminded how gorgeous the changes of the seasons are. During this time of year we have the bustle of kids going off to their first month of school, high school football games, the changing of the leaves and warm camp fires without bugs to bother us.

Chris Caulk
Chris Caulk

There is one more thing upon us that for some has already started and will be ramping up for many more. We are reminded that hunting season has started as we hear the report of a gun shot off in the distance as we step outside in the morning to start our day.

Hunting season can be a great time but along with that the Isanti County Sheriff’s Office wants to remind everyone that is out there to be safe and respectful while enjoying the hunting season.

Every year the Isanti County Sheriff’s Office, along with the DNR, will respond to many different hunting related calls. They usually include medicals, falls, trespassing or shooting complaints.

When you are out hunting, try and go in pairs so that if you have a medical emergency one of the two hunters will be able to call for help and lead us in. If you go alone, let someone know exactly where you will be hunting and what time you are to return home. If something happens, we will have a good starting point to start looking to get help to you if someone calls us to report an overdue hunter.

Remember if you are out there alone or with someone, know exactly where you are at and the trails you took to get to that spot, as rescuers may not know the trails you took to get to your spot. It is important for you to know where you are at so you may help us find you. When you go hunting, and along with your hunting equipment, you should also bring a fully charged cell phone with you and place it in a zip lock bag so it won’t get wet and not work.

They are not always 100 percent perfect, but most cell phones have GPS in them and when you call 911 most of the time (not always) we can get a fairly close location of where the call is being made from. Again know where you are so you can relay that info to our dispatcher.

During the hunting season, we have various medical emergencies out in the duck blinds, tree stands or during the hunting drive. They are usually as a result of exertion or falls and unfortunately from weapons being discharged in the direction of others. Make 100 percent sure that your weapons are on safe until you need to fire them. When it comes time to shoot, make sure the shot is taken only after you have acquired the correct target and know exactly what you are shooting at. Look beyond the target and where the bullet or arrow will end up if you miss a ricochet or travels towards an unintended target. In my 18 years in law enforcement, I have had to respond to various hunting accidents that were very tragic and were a result of merely not paying attention to the surroundings before the shot was made.

Along with being safe while hunting, be respectful while hunting and obey the hunting laws and do not trespass.

During the hunting season, the DNR and sheriff’s office get many calls of hunters trespassing. Before your hunt, go out and scout the area and determine if your hunting could land you on property other than where you expect to hunt. Certainly this scouting will not cover every situation or what is allowed by law, but it will help reduce the trespassing calls.

The times I have been out hunting I have found property owners very willing to let you go onto their land merely because I asked ahead of time. The other thing is if you walk onto property other than where you are intending to hunt, you may be walking right into someone else’s line of fire in the area they are hunting.

I hope that as you venture out to hunt you enjoy the hunting season. There are many good memories to be made while hunting. As I get older some of my childhood memories fade but yet the really good ones remain.

I remember my younger years growing up on a farm in eastern South Dakota and the hunting I did with my dad and uncles. I spent many days after school riding in the combine with my dad and uncles during fall harvest and then getting out and walking the field quick and shooting a pheasant or two. Yes pheasant hunting was that good in South Dakota that you could walk a corn row down and back and get a bird or two. I also remember the safety aspect that I was taught by those that I looked up to so my hope is that we all pass on safety aspects to those that look up to us as we enjoy this hunting season.

There are many good times to be had and there will be many stories of how the big one got away while hunting.   Make it a safe and alcohol free hunt while you are out there and remember to be respectful and safe and as always follow the laws.