Hunting safety tips help Whiteman team be safe

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Montse Ramirez
  • 509th Bomb Wing Public Affairs
With safety in mind, most hunters can prevent a pleasant hunting experience from turning into a catastrophic event.

Take safety precautions not only when handling firearms as Airmen, but also when game hunting, encompasses Air Force Global Strike Command value of safety in all things... large and small.

"To be a successful hunter, safety must remain in the back of your mind, and at the forefront of your decisions at all times," said Tech. Sgt. Charles Larkin Sr., 509th Bomb Wing Public Affairs NCO in charge of still photography and a 20-year hunter. "Whether you are traveling through the woods to your favorite hunting spot or about to take the shot of a lifetime, safety is success."

Before setting out with rifle, shotgun or bow and arrow looking for that prize game, several precautions and permits are needed to ensure your hunting is done in a safe manner.

The following safety tips are courtesy Laura Brunner, 509th Force Support Squadron recreation specialist:

· Always inform someone where you are hunting and when you plan to return.

· Know the hunting ground. Don't walk around in the woods blind.

· Wear orange when required, for instance when deer hunting.

· Always ask permission from the land owner (If not, it is considered criminal trespassing).

· Never shoot into the sky, unless bird hunting.

· Never point a weapon at another person.

· Keep weapons pointed toward the ground, until ready to shoot.

· Know what is behind your target.

· Be aware of your surroundings.

For seasoned outdoorsmen of would-be hunters, the 509th FSS outdoor recreation and the Missouri Department of Conservation are providing a hunter's safety course here March 25 and 26.

Mrs. Brunner said the course teaches students about safety with firearms, respect for others and property, compliance with laws and wildlife regulations and awareness of hunting as a resource management tool.

"If you plan to hunt alone with a firearm, or you are 16 years of age or older, you will need to pass a hunter's education course or purchase an Apprentice Hunter Authorization before you can buy a permit," said Ms. Brunner. "You must be at least 11-years-old to take the Missouri Hunter Education class, but to hunt by yourself; you must be 16-years-old or older."

Youth under 16 years of age must hunt with an adult mentor that is properly licensed and meets the requirements and follows the prescribed regulations.

According to the Missouri Department of Conservation, accepting a permit comes with the following obligations:

· Observe all the rules of the Wildlife Code.

· Allow an agent of the Missouri Department of Conservation to inspect your picture ID, permit, game taken and hunting or trapping equipment.

· Hunt or trap wildlife in a safe manner.

· Do not loan your permit or hunting method exemption to another.

· Sign and carry permit while hunting or trapping.

"The consequences of not following the laws and safety regulations could result in fines, jail time, lifetime bans on hunting or getting seriously injured," Ms. Brunner said.

If involved in a firearms-related hunting incident, the law requires that you identify yourself and render assistance, according to the Missouri Department of Conservation. Failure to do so is a Class A misdemeanor.

For a complete list of conservation areas in the region, stop by outdoor recreation and pick up printed information and maps on local areas available.

( contributed to this article)

For those who have witnessed or suspect a wildlife violation, report it to the local conservation agent or call the toll-free number at 1 (800) 392-1111; all calls are anonymous.