Fall is a wonderful time to be outdoors with its dazzling colors, crisp air and wildlife activity galore. Whether your passion is hiking, hunting, fishing, birding or just taking in the scenery, a few common sense safety reminders will add to your enjoyment during a day in the field.
- Know your limits. Don't take off on a long hike, hunt or bike ride if you're not physically ready. Tell someone where you're going and when you expect to return.
- Watch the weather. New England weather is notorious for quick changes. Be ready with an extra layer of clothing, warm hat and gloves.
- Expect the unexpected. No one expects problems while spending a day outdoors, but having a fanny pack with a few first aid items, matches, water, pocket knife, cell phone, map, compass, whistle, extra food and flashlight can help prevent small problems from becoming big ones.
- Wear blaze orange for visibility. Whether you're a hunter, hiker or walking the dog in rural areas, it's a good idea to wear a cap or vest of highly visible blaze orange clothing while you're enjoying the great outdoors. Blaze Orange Effectiveness video (5 minutes)
- Respect the water. Canoeists and kayakers are required to wear life jackets from September 15 to May 15, but all water enthusiasts, especially anglers who wade our larger rivers, would be wise to wear floatation devices now that water and air temperatures are cool.
- Respect other outdoor users. Mountain biking, horseback riding, wildlife watching, hunting and hiking are not mutually exclusive activities. Know the hunting seasons and who is likely to be sharing the woods and waters with you. Keep dogs under control and respect outdoor users' rights to enjoy our open spaces.
- Finally, licensed sportsmen and women are reminded to take the basics of hunter safety to heart. Treat every firearm as it were loaded, keeping the muzzle pointed in a safe direction at all times. Positively identify your target and what lies beyond it.
Outdoor activities are among the safest recreational pursuits available. By using a little common sense, they'll stay that way.
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