HECTOR, N.Y. (WENY) – With rifle season starting in the next two weeks, Forest Service officials of the Finger Lakes National Forest (FLNF) are reminding hunters of important safety tips to follow.

Saturday, November 17, marks the opening day of white tail deer rifle hunting in New York State.

Officials want to remind hunters and other forest users that the entire 16,000 acre National Forest is open for hunting – with the only exceptions being developed trails and recreation sites.

Below are some safety tips for hunters planning to hunt in either the National Forest or any other hunting site:

  • Check weather reports before visiting the forest – dress properly and be prepared for the worst possible conditions.
  • Tell someone where you will be hunting and when you will return – be familiar with the area that you are hunting.
  • Wear blaze orange and try to be visible from all directions.
  • Check hunting equipment before and after each outing, and maintain it properly. Familiarize yourself with the operation of your firearm before using it in the field.
  • Carry a spare set of dry clothes. Use layering techniques to prevent moisture retention, while maintaining body warmth.
  • Always bring waterproof gear.
  • Have a first aid kit, flashlight, cell phone, food and water in case of an emergency.
  • Clearly identify your target before shooting to prevent accidents or fatalities. Fire only at clearly identified wildlife and know what is beyond your target.
  • Be alert when hunting near developed areas and trails. Other recreationists are in the forest as well.

For additional information on New York hunting regulations, please visit: http://www.dec.ny.gov/outdoor/hunting.html