Thursday, November 15, 2012

TOP STORY>>Stay safe this hunting season

By Staff Sgt. Jessica Condit
19th Airlift Wing Public Affairs

Hunting is a major sport in the state of Arkansas. Throughout the year, different hunting seasons are open and animals are game to hunters who may wait countless hours for the perfect opportunity to strike. While hunting, there are many things a hunter must constantly be aware of when spending long hours in the woods, waiting for an animal to come along and fall prey to the hunter’s gun; scent, sound and camouflage are just a few of these concerns. Of all the things to keep in mind, safety is the key to happy and successful hunting.

Safety while hunting is no light concern. Before planning a hunting trip, make sure that the rules and regulations of hunting safety are clearly understood and be readily prepared for the excursion.

With several different types of equipment to choose from and the different specifications to hunting on base versus off base, it is important to know what is and is not permitted.

“You are allowed to use shotguns with slugs, muzzleloaders, and archery equipment” said James Popham, 19th Civil Engineer Squadron natural resources manager. “We don’t allow rifle hunting and handgun hunting because security forces don’t think the hunting areas are big enough to support these types of hunting.”

There is a hunting season for every animal. The deer season is from October to February and is very important for Little Rock Air Force Base. It helps control the deer population, keeping the airfield clear and preventing the deer from starving.

Hunting stands are mandatory for hunters who are using any type of gun to hunt. The use of hunting stands requires just as much safety practice as careful shooting and being aware of your surroundings.

“Don’t fall asleep in your stand,” says Popham. “Some people will get hurt falling out of their stands because they aren’t seeing any deer, and they fall asleep.”

Hunting stands are constructed with the hunters’ safety in mind. Stands must be set up at least 200 yards away from the next stand. Additionally, hunters are not allowed to be in stands next to each other at the same time. The stands are elevated to prevent shooting incidents between the hunters occupying the structures.

Although there is no formal training for hunting on base, people participating in the sport must read through the hunting rules available through the Outdoor Recreation Hunting and Fishing webpage, as well as the Little Rock Air Force Base website. If you are on the base hunting list, an e-mail is sent to you with the hunting rules, map of base hunting areas and hunting safety slides. For more information about base hunting rules, call 987-3681.

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