ONEIDA, N.Y. (WUTR/WFXV/WPNY) – Hunting season has already started in many parts of NYS, and Saturday November 20th marks opening day of Deer Rifle season in the Southern Zone of Oneida County. Sheriff Robert Maciol has a few friendly tips and reminders to help keep everyone safe this year while in the woods.
First, always let a family member or friend know the time(s) and location(s) that you will be hunting. Accidents can occur suddenly and without warning. Letting someone know your plan could mean the different between serious injury or death.
Avoid hunting alone and if you do, it’s better to do so in an area that you are familiar with. Becoming disoriented can happen easily if you are unfamiliar and by yourself. Many hunters have gotten turned around and lost, eventually finding themselves spending the night in the woods as a result.
Next, check the local weather forecast before you go into the woods and dress accordingly. Being a hunter in CNY, you should always be prepared to defend against extreme cold temperatures, including hypothermia. Dressing in layers, keeping your feet dry, and avoiding wearing materials that retain moisture are good ways to stay warm.
ALWAYS identify your target before shooting! This one is 100% avoidable. It is never a good idea to shoot at something if you cannot visually confirm that it is a deer or other legal animal to hunt. Mistakes have been made before and hunters have been killed accidentally by people not following this rule. If you cannot see it, DON’T SHOOT!
Knowing the proper use and operation of your firearms and other hunting equipment, such as tree stands, is very important. Make sure to always clean and maintain your gun before and after use to make sure that it will be safe for your next hunt.
Finally, remember it is always safe and required by NYS law to wear blaze orange or pink to make yourself highly visible to other hunters while you are in the woods.