Saturday marks the first day of gun deer hunting season in the state of Wisconsin and state and local officials are reminding you to be safe. The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources reminds ATV and UTV drivers to practice safe driving habits when traveling in search of their trophy buck. Kewaunee County Sheriff Matt Joski reminds hunters to make sure they have permission to hunt on the land they are allowed to do so on, practice good gun safety habits, and wear their blaze orange. You can read more safety tips below.
FROM THE DNR
The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR) reminds hunters to ride safely when using all-terrain vehicles (ATVs) and utility-terrain vehicles (UTVs) during their hunt this year.
Since January 2021, 41 people have died in ATV and UTV-related crashes. Most of the incidents involved people not wearing a helmet or seat belt. There were 38 fatal crashes in 2020.
Hunters using ATVs or UTVs to retrieve harvests or travel off-road to hunting locations should take life-saving precautions such as wearing a helmet and buckling up. Most hunting incidents involving ATVs or UTVs often occur on private lands and are linked by common factors.
“ATVs and UTVs are powerful and potentially dangerous vehicles. Oftentimes, accidents happen by simply going too fast for conditions, not judging the curve correctly or not knowing the terrain,” said Lt. Martin Stone, DNR Conservation Warden and Off-Highway Vehicle Administrator. “Safety is part of the fun. Please ride responsibly.”
ATV riders at least 12 years old and born after Jan. 1, 1988 must complete a course before operating an ATV on public trails and areas in Wisconsin. UTV operators must be at least age 16.
ATV/UTV Tips For A Safe Ride:
Don’t drink and ride.
Some terrain in Wisconsin is too steep for ATV/UTVs. Traverse hills with caution.
Display registration ID number on a rear plate for all ATVs and UTVs registered for public use.
Always wear a Department of Transportation (DOT)-approved helmet. Hunters are more likely to come across low hanging branches or uneven terrain. Serious injuries and death can occur even at low speeds.
Just as with other vehicles, long guns and bows/crossbows must be fully unloaded before transporting them in or on an ATV or UTV.
Do not operate in or around waterways or wetlands. ATVs and UTVs are only allowed to cross waterways at bridges, roads or legal fords. Machine use in these areas is illegal and causes serious habitat damage that is very costly to repair.
Hunters using ATV and UTVs can also help protect natural areas by removing mud, dirt and any vegetation from vehicles prior to traveling as they can easily transport invasive plant species or seeds that are harmful to local habitats.
FROM SHERIFF JOSKI
This Saturday marks the beginning of the week long deer hunting season. While this event has many traditions, and memories which make it special to so many in our community, it also brings with it some re-occurring issues which deserve to be mentioned. The first of these issues is safety. By this I mean the safety of those participating in the hunting season, and those who choose to enjoy the beautiful outdoors as they would any other time of year. It goes without saying that for those who are hunting that there are two basic rules; know your target, and know what is beyond your target. Especially in the era of rifle hunting, the second of the two rules is very important. Although not intended, there always seem to be those few calls involving stray rounds.
If you are one of those individuals who just want to enjoy being outside over the next two weeks, be aware of the increased activity in the adjacent properties, and public lands. Although you are not required to wear it, and it isn’t the most stylish color, blaze orange is always a good choice. Also, whether you are hunting, or just going for a walk, always let someone know where you are going, and what route you are taking to get there.
The other issue which seems to become more frequent is that of trespassing. This is pretty self explanatory; if you don’t have permission to be there, don’t be there. Many property owners allow for others to be on their land for the purpose of hunting. This is not mandatory on their part, if they choose to say no, respect them for that decision and move on. Another issue that has come up over the years involves the tracking of a deer. If you do in fact shoot a deer on your property or property that you have permission to be on and the wounded deer then travels off of that property, you still must get permission from the owner of any and all property that you are pursuing that wounded deer onto. This may cause delay in your locating of the animal, but failure to do so is trespassing regardless of the excitement of the moment. As my Father would say; Just do the right thing.
Also don’t assume that just because you’ve hunted on a piece of property for many years you don’t have to ask permission. Circumstances change and it is a good idea to re-establish these relationships each year. Probably wouldn’t hurt to bring some venison from last year as a sweetener. I wish everyone a safe and productive hunt. In regards to our Car/ Deer accident numbers, as of Monday morning, we were at