by Dave Hickernell
State Representative, 98th Legislative District
With the fall hunting season in full swing, I would like to remind hunters of easy ways to help ensure their safety and the safety of others while enjoying the Commonwealth’s great outdoors.
In fact, according to recent studies by the Penn State College of Medicine, turkey season has proven to have the highest number of shooting-related injuries, while white-tailed deer season is the most deadly. Each year, hundreds of injuries occur, some fatal, because of preventable accidents caused by hazardous hunting practices.
To help prevent these incidents, the Pennsylvania Game Commission has provided basic safety tips that all hunters should follow:
Always identify the target—never point or shoot at sounds or movement; these may in fact be other hunters.
Pre-elect a zone of fire—only fire on a target in that predetermined zone and only when you are certain it is safe to do so.
Be seen—wear the mandated amount of fluorescent orange clothing and avoid wearing blue, white and/or red as these can be easily confused with colors on a wild turkey.
Plan your hunt, then hunt your plan – let someone know where you are hunting and when you will return.
Buckle up—wear a fall-resistant restraint device when hunting from an elevated stand.
Dress for success—dress in layers of clothing that repel moisture, insulate and block wind or rain.
Keep fit – hunting is hard work and requires rigorous physical activity; get a check-up and follow doctor’s advice.
Do your homework—scout hunting areas and learn the habits of the game you hunt.
Stay found—learn how to use a map and compass or a GPS unit.
Be prepared—carry a basic survival kit and know how to use it.
Following these steps is a good way to help ensure safety for all hunters. Also be sure to follow all firearm-handling and hunting rules for a safe and enjoyable hunting season.
For more information on hunting safety including firearm, tree stand and turkey hunting, visit the Pennsylvania Game Commission Web site at pgc.state.pa.us.
Also, successful hunters are being encouraged to share a portion of their venison with those in need. Pennsylvania deer hunters are expected to donate tens of thousands of pounds of venison to local food banks and soup kitchens this fall and winter through the Hunters Sharing the Harvest (HSH) program.
Established in 1991, HSH is sponsored by Pennsylvanians for the Responsible Use of Animals and operates with the cooperation of the Pennsylvania Game Commission and state Department of Agriculture, along with several state sportsmen’s organizations.
The HSH program calls upon hunters to donate anything from a few pounds of venison to a whole deer to help needy Pennsylvanians.
One of the group’s largest costs is the result of processor reimbursements, which is why HSH continually accepts monetary contributions year-round for its services. Hunters donating their harvest voluntarily pay a $15 tax-deductable fee toward each processed deer. The remainder of the processing fee is covered through HSH sponsors and generous donations of individuals across the state.
With more than 1 million deer currently living in Pennsylvania, it comes as no surprise that hunters have managed to donate more than 80,000 pounds of venison a year to needy individuals and families though food banks and soup kitchens.
On average, the meat from one deer can provide 200 meals for hungry Pennsylvanians.
Anyone interested in contributing venison to the HSH program should call 1-866-474-2141. Information can also be found by visiting my Web site at RepHickernell.com and clicking on “Sharing the Harvest.”
Any other hunting questions you might have can be answered in the “2007-08 Hunting Booklet,” which is put together by the Pennsylvania Game Commission. Copies are available for you at either of my district offices.
Rep. Dave Hickernell
Pennsylvania House of Representatives
Contact: Scott B. Little
House Republican Public Relations
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
November 2, 2007