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Hunters Urged to Train Hunting Dogs, Too
A boat and blind offer close quarters, and dogs need to get accustomed to the situation before the hunting season. - Photo credit: DNR
A boat and blind offer close quarters, and dogs need to get accustomed to the situation before the hunting season.Photo credit: DNR

Contact(s): DNR Conservation Warden Jon King, Administrator of Hunter Education program, DNR Bureau of Law Enforcement,, (608) 575-2294
October 14, 2019

MADISON, Wis. -- Two non-fatal incidents early into the waterfowl hunting season highlight the importance of safety afield.

DNR Conservation Warden Jon King, the department's Bureau of Law Enforcement administrator of the hunter education program, says the two incidents that occurred since the Sept. 1 opener prompts his reminder to all waterfowl hunters to think "safety first."

King says that means remembering to use caution and patience and always thinking about safety before hitting the water for the hunt, and during the entire event until off the water.

Adding to the current situation facing waterfowl hunters are the conditions resulting from recent heavy rains. "The higher waters masking sunken debris and strong currents can add new dangers to waterfowl hunters during the ongoing season," King said.

King offers the following primer of things to do and to remember to those planning for hunting outings to make them enjoyable and safe for all.

Waders are heavy, life jackets a must

"This is one of the annual seasons many hunters look forward to. It's a different way to hunt when you are either in a boat or in waders in marshes and other waters to hunt," King said. "Because water is involved, the hunter must remember boating safety as well as firearm safety. No cutting corners."

King says a waterfowl hunter also is wearing the heavy waders. "It is imperative the waterfowl hunter - whether in a boat or the water in waders - wear a life jacket," he said. "Wet, heavy hunting clothes serve as a weight that can pull a person underwater quickly.

Waterfowl hunters are often near hunting partners -- in a boat, in a blind or laying in a cornfield. These close quarters require special attention to proper firearm handling, shooting zones and fundamental firearm safety rules.

Four Rules of Firearm Safety

Moreover, another must-do from King's safety primer is to plan your hunt and hunt your plan - and make sure someone knows that plan.

Dogs need skill training, too

King says many enjoy hunting with a dog. Furthermore, dogs love this. However, to ensure the safety of your dog and fellow hunters, please work with your canine buddy to know the rules of the boat.

King offers a few more easy-to-follow safety tips for waterfowl hunting - as well as any hunting year-round.

Just as important:

To enroll in a hunter education course, visit the DNR website, and search hunter safety.

Last Revised: Monday, October 14, 2019

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