ST. LOUIS – The Missouri Department of Conservation is urging non-hunters to prioritize safety when in nature during deer season.
MDC Hunter Education Coordinator Justin McGuire advises non-hunters in areas where hunting is prevalent to follow these safety guidelines:
- Wear High-Visibility Clothing: Make yourself more visible by wearing bright clothing, like a vivid orange hat, jacket, or backpack.
- Keep Pets Safe: If you bring dogs with you, ensure they are leashed and dress them with a bright orange vest or bandana.
- Avoid camouflage-like attire: Steer clear of earth-toned or animal-colored clothing such as tan and brown.
- Be Mindful of Active Hunting Times: Hunters are typically most active during the early morning and late afternoon, when game animals are also active. During these dimly lit hours, be especially cautious about your visibility.
- Stick to Designated Trails: Stay on marked trails, which are created to enhance public safety and protect delicate ecosystems. Using designated trails minimizes the chance of venturing into hunting areas.
- Inform Someone of Your Plans: Before heading into the outdoors, inform someone of your destination and expected return time.
- Signal Your Presence: If you hear gunshots, raise your voice to alert nearby hunters to your presence.
- Be Considerate: Once hunters are aware of your presence, avoid making unnecessary noise to prevent disturbing wildlife and minimize conflicts.
- Know Hunting Seasons and Locations: Familiarize yourself with hunting seasons and areas open to hunting. Plan your outdoor activities accordingly. You can find information on Missouri hunting seasons at mo.gov/hunting-trapping.
- Locate Hunting-Permitted Areas: Use the MDC Places to Go web feature at mo.gov/discover-nature/places to identify conservation areas where hunting is allowed and those where it is prohibited.