Brushing up on hunter's safety

With many hunters in the woods over the holidays it's never a bad idea to brush up on safety and hunting laws.

Caleb miller with Mississippi Wildlife Fisheries and Parks says with gun seasons open for deer and waterfowl, hunters need to take the proper steps for licensing and safety.

Miller said, "Let somebody know where you're going to be and what time you plan on returning. Then they need to make sure they have adequate hunter's orange that's 500 square inches that's unbroken. "

Get to the stand safely Miller said, "Make sure that weapon is unloaded and that you have you're ammunition separate from where the gun is stored and do not load that weapon until you get in the stand." Use a hunter's harness to secure yourself to the stand as you climb up or down. And remember, once you pull the trigger there's no getting that bullet back.

Miller said, "They need to be aware of the laws and what is legal at the time that is a legal animal to take. They don't want to shoot at movement or what they think is a legal animal to take. They don't want to shoot somebody that may walking through the woods because not everybody is going to be doing as they're supposed to and have their hunters orange on."

And for waterfowl use steel shot shells only, no lead. Also, make sure you have your federal and state duck stamps. "Well when you're duck hunting if they're going in by boat they need to make sure they have all their pfd's for everyone on board. Have their gun stored in a gun case with their ammunition stored separately, Miller said.

Some choose to take the sport out of the hunt with dire consequences. Miller said, "Head-lighting deer is a problem and people need to be aware not only is it not fair chase for the animal, but it is very dangerous because you may not know what's behind the animal you're shooting at, at night. You may hit a house, shoot into a dwelling and that is considered a Class 1 Violation, which is a minimum of $2,000 to $5,000 in fines. Head-lighting will also get your hunting privileges taken away for up to 3 years and your guns can be confiscated.

Miller said, "We love seeing people out there in the woods enjoying what Mississippi has to offer. We want to make sure we have it for future generations and that's one reason we're here to make sure everybody is abiding by the laws and regulations of the state."

For all the hunters out there, bag a trophy buck or shoot up a limit of ducks, but keep safety and conservation at heart as a true sportsman.