Hunting safety and other outdoor news

By Jim Freeman - In the Open

Along with (finally) cooler weather, the whitetail deer rutting season is coming in, and more and more hunters are heading afield, some for the first time this year. As you go, always keep safety in mind. A few simple precautions will help ensure a safe, memorable experience.

Last year the Ohio Department of Natural Resources’ Division of Wildlife reported 12 hunter injury incidents (injuries caused by a hunting implement while in the act of hunting), none of those were fatal. Of those 12, 10 were intentional discharges, meaning that someone intended to shoot a gun or bow at something, while two were unintentional discharges (including on person who used a firearm as a club).

Seven of the 12 incidents involved deer hunting, either with a bow or firearm, and in three-quarters of the cases they involved hunters over the age of 40.

In most cases, hunter injury incidents can be attributed to failing to observe one or more of the four rules of gun handling: treat every gun like a loaded gun; keep the muzzle pointed in a safe direction; know your target and what is beyond it; keep your finger off of the trigger until you are ready to fire.

The statistics don’t include things such as falls (like from a tree stand), heart attacks, hypothermia, or motor-vehicle accidents.

In the afternoon it might be warm when you go out, but it may be much colder when you come back. Take along an extra layer or two just in case you find yourself staying out longer than you expected. You can take it off if it gets too warm, but you can’t put it on if you don’t have it, or as I like to say “It’s better to have it and not need it, than to need it and not have it.”

If you are using a tree stand, always inspect your equipment and know how it works. Always use a full-body harness (FBH). Plan your hunt and hunt your plan, and make sure somebody knows where you will be hunting. Carry a cell phone with you, on your person. Always have a flashlight in your pack and use it when going into and out of the field, not only to help you see, but mostly because deer don’t carry flashlights.

Reminder to Remington rifle owners

A federal judge ordered the parties in an economic-loss class action to remind owners of certain Remington firearms that a settlement has been reached.

The settlement involves two classes: owners of firearms that incorporate a trigger connector, and owners of firearms utilizing the X-Mark Pro trigger mechanism that is the subject of a voluntary safety recall. The settlement allows owners of Remington models 700, Seven, and related models to have their trigger replaced free of charge, among other benefits.

The settlement was entered following allegations that certain bolt-action Remington firearms can fire without a trigger pull. Remington denies those allegations with respect to the trigger connector, but is offering trigger replacements to ensure continued satisfaction for its customers.

For more information about the models involved or to make a claim, call 1-800-876-5940 or visit

Open house to discuss horsepower changes at Forked Run Lake

The ODNR Division of Parks and Watercraft will host an open house Friday, Nov. 4, from 7-8:30 p.m. at the Tuppers Plains-Chester Water District Office to provide information and gather community comments regarding a proposed lake management plan for Forked Run State Park.

ODNR is seeking input regarding a proposal that would allow watercraft powered by more than 10 horsepower to access the lake, provided the watercraft is only operated at idle speed.

The TPCWD office is located at 39561 Bar 30 Road, Reedsville OH 45772.

Milkweed seed pod collection continues

People still have until the end of the month to get milkweed seed pods turned in to their local soil and water conservation district office.

Local SWCDs are collecting the seed pods in cooperation with the Ohio Pollinator Habitat Initiative to assist Monarch butterflies and other pollinating insects. The milkweed seeds will be planted next spring.

Why milkweed? Because it is the only plant that Monarch caterpillars can feed on, and they also benefit other pollinating species that we need to pollinate many of the plants we use for food.

Jim Freeman is the wildlife specialist for the Meigs Soil and Water Conservation District. He can be contacted weekdays at 740-992-4282 or at

By Jim Freeman

In the Open