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Our opinion: Practice safety when in the field

It’s that time of year. Not necessarily for the turning of leaves, though that is fun to watch, but for the return to hunting.

Statewide, pheasant season will be open on Oct. 9 and hunters will be back walking the fields. As in most years, safety and hunting walk hand-in-hand.

According to the International Hunter Education Association, less than 1,000 people in the United States and Canada are accidentally shot by hunters. That’s in an average year.  Fewer than 75 are fatalities, but one fatality is one more than we ever want.

We want people to get out and enjoy that which marks Minnesota as one of the great places in our union for outdoor activities, but we also want people to do it safely.

The plus side to this is that our hunters practice that safety we so urgently want. A MinnPost article from last year pointed out that hunting accidents are rarer than they once were and that’s a credit to those outdoorsmen and women who take the extra steps to maintain a safe environment. To many of these people, that aspect of hunting is as important as the conservation side and being good wardens of the land they walk on.

Still there are accidents and that’s what we want to see avoided.

The United States Forest Service has a list of several safety tips (www.fs.usda.gov/Internet/FSE_DOCUMENTS/stelprdb5330495.pdf) to remember when hunting.

Always be alert when hunting of yourself, those hunting with you and your surroundings. Enjoy the hunt, be safe and best of luck to all hunters this year, both experienced and new.