States Remind Hunters and Anglers of Outdoor Safety Precautions Amid Popularity Boom

by Jennifer Shea

States across the country have seen a surge in outdoor activity during the pandemic, including a rise in the ranks of hunters and anglers. And North Carolina is one such state.

Christmas Is Busy Time for Hunters

Christmas Eve and Christmas Day are among North Carolina’s most popular hunting days, The Stanly News and Press reports. And the North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission believes this year will bring even higher traffic than usual.

The commission has seen a 23% jump in inland fishing and hunting license sales since May. That’s when the state’s stay-at-home orders ended. And wildlife officials anticipate that will translate to more crowded Christmas Eve and Christmas Day hunting conditions.

“It’s always important to ensure you have everything you need for an enjoyable and successful outing,” Capt. Branden Jones of the Commission’s Law Enforcement Division told the News and Press. “There is a tendency to become complacent about safety when hunting and fishing with friends and family.” 

He added, “As you spend time bonding over these activities, don’t forget to keep safety as your number one priority. We want you to continue to make memories and enjoy the outdoors for years to come.”

Officials Release Safety Tips

Wildlife officials have released some safety precautions every hunter and angler should heed this Christmas.

First and foremost, set a rough return time and share where you’ll be going with someone you trust. Stay aware of your surroundings when you’re out hunting or fishing. If you’re shooting something, make sure your target isn’t in front of houses, vehicles or people. 

Always point the muzzle away from yourself and other people. And practice firearm safety at all times.

If you’re fishing, wear a floatation device. If you’re hunting, wear something in blaze orange.

Never consume drugs or alcohol before hunting or fishing. And never hunt or fish with someone who has.

With those safety tips in mind, wildlife officials hope outdoorsmen and women will have a pleasant holiday free of an avoidable tragedy.