PITTSBURGH – The Allegheny County Health Department is offering hunters health and safety tips for the upcoming deer firearms season, which starts on Monday, November 26.
Health officials are recommending precautions to protect hunters from firearm injuries, physical stress, animal-borne diseases, and potential carbon monoxide hazards in cabins with fireplaces, kerosene heaters or wood-burning stoves.
The Health Department is offering the following recommendations:
- Drive carefully to avoid hitting deer on the way to and from your hunting site. Pennsylvania consistently ranks in the top five states each year in vehicle-deer crashes.
- To prevent carbon monoxide hazards, make sure your cabin’s fuel-burning heating appliances are properly vented, flues and chimneys are clear of debris, and the cabin itself is well-ventilated.
- If you have a chronic disease, especially a heart condition, avoid strenuous activity.
- Don’t use drugs and alcohol, which impair judgement and dull the senses.
- Make yourself visible to other hunters. Wear the legally-required amount of fluorescent orange.
- Carry high-energy foods and a survival kit with water.
- To prevent falls, wear skid-resistant boots and use tree stands with caution.
- Don’t hunt alone. Carry a cell phone, if possible, to call for help in an emergency.
- Always handle your firearm as if it’s loaded.
- Be sure of your target and let others in your party know your hunting area and location.
- Always wear rubber or latex gloves when handling or field dressing your kill, and afterwards wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water, including your fingernails.
- Cool the carcass and have the deer processed as soon as possible to prevent spoilage, using a processor permitted by the Health Department or the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture.
- Cook venison to an internal temperature of 165 degrees Fahrenheit to ensure food safety.
There were 12 accidental shootings in Pennsylvania, none fatal, during the 2011 deer hunting season that were self-inflicted or inflicted by another, according to statistics from the Pennsylvania Game Commission.
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