North Carolina Waterfowl Hunters Urged to Use Caution on the Water
Capt. Chris Huebner, the state’s hunting and boating safety coordinator, recommends the following guidelines:
- Wear a proper personal flotation device and insist that passengers wear one also.
- Be aware that small, flat-bottom vessels are prone to capsizing and swamping.
- Store equipment properly and keep it evenly distributed in the boat.
- Don’t overload the boat, especially with passengers.
- Keep hunting dogs prone in the center of the boat.
- Never move about the boat with a loaded shotgun.
A particular danger is posed by hypothermia – the loss of body heat. Exposure to extreme cold, such as being in cold water or wearing wet clothes in cold conditions, can increase the chance of hypothermia. Capt. Huebner advises wearing proper cold weather clothing, avoiding cotton, relying on wool and synthetic materials instead.
“Dress in layers, cover head and hands, and avoid over-exertion or fatigue,” Huebner says. “In case of capsizing or swamping, stay with the boat. It will still provide some flotation and will be the initial focus of a rescue attempt.”
As with any type of hunting, it is a good idea to let someone know where you plan to hunt and an approximate time of return. Keep a cell phone in a waterproof bag that can be used without removal from the bag.
Successful completion of a Hunter Education course, offered free by the N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission throughout the state, is required for all first-time hunting license buyers. For course schedules, game regulations and additional hunting safety information, click here or call (919) 707-0031.