Tag Archives: safety

early season ice safety

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Winter anglers and late-season hunters are reminded to consider ice conditions before traveling onto and across North Dakota lakes, as most small and mid-sized waters currently give the appearance of safe foot travel.

State Game and Fish Department boat and water safety coordinator Nancy Boldt said ice thickness is never consistent, especially this time of the year, and can vary significantly within a few inches. “The edges become firm before the center,” Boldt said. “So, with your first step the ice might seem like it is strong enough, but it may not be anywhere near solid enough once you progress away from the shoreline.”

This was apparent last weekend as one hunter experienced this while trying to retrieve a duck that had landed on ice. “He went through up to his neck and his waders filled with water, and the freezing temperature instantly took his breath away,” Boldt said. “He was extremely fortunate to be able to pull himself out, as most people would not have been able to with the extra water weight.”

Boldt said some tips include:

  • Avoid cracks, pressure ridges, slushy or darker areas that signal thinner ice. The same goes for ice that forms around partially submerged trees, brush, embankments or other structures.
  • Ice thickness is not consistent and can vary significantly even in a small area. Ice shouldn’t be judged by appearance alone. Anglers should drill test holes as they make their way out on the lake, and an ice chisel should be used to check ice thickness while moving around.
  • Daily temperature changes cause ice to expand and contract, affecting its strength.
  • The following minimums are recommended for travel on clear-blue lake ice formed under ideal conditions. However, early in the winter it’s a good idea to double these figures to be safe: 4 inches for a group walking single file; 6 inches for a snowmobile or all-terrain vehicle; 8-12 inches for an automobile; and 12-15 inches for a pickup/truck.

These tips could help save a life:

  • Wear a personal flotation device and carry a cell phone.
  • Carry ice picks or a set of screwdrivers to pull yourself back on the ice if you fall through.
  • If someone breaks through the ice, call 911 immediately. Rescue attempts should employ a long pole, board, rope, blanket or snowmobile suit. If that’s not possible, throw the victim a life jacket, empty water jug or other buoyant object. Go to the victim as a last resort, but do this by forming a human chain where rescuers lie on the ice with each person holding the feet of the person in front.
  • To treat hypothermia, replace wet clothing with dry clothing and immediately transport victim to a hospital.

boating basics course available

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An annual tradition for many outdoor enthusiasts is to enjoy Fourth of July with family and friends at a favorite area lake. With the popular holiday less than two weeks away, boat owners are reminded that children ages 12-15 who want to operate a boat or personal watercraft must take the state’s boating basics course.
State law requires youngsters ages 12-15 to pass the course before they operate a boat or personal watercraft with at least a 10 horsepower motor. In addition, major insurance companies give adult boat owners who pass the course a premium discount on boat insurance.
The course is available for home-study from the North Dakota Game and Fish Department’s Bismarck office. Two commercial providers also offer the course online, and links to those sites are found on the department’s website at gf.nd.gov.
While the home-study course is free, students will be charged a fee to take it online. The online provider charges for the course, not the Game and Fish Department. The fee stays with the online provider.
Upon completion of the online test, and providing a credit card number, students will be able to print out a temporary certification card, and within 10 days a permanent card will be mailed.
The course covers legal requirements, navigation rules, getting underway, accidents and special topics such as weather, rules of the road, laws, life saving and first aid.
For more information contact Nancy Boldt, North Dakota Game and Fish Department, by email at ndgf@nd.gov; or call 701-328-6300.

stay safe this weekend

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State Game and Fish Department officials are cautioning hunters to be wary of where they hunt, as late-season weather is freezing North Dakota’s small and mid-sized waters, giving the appearance of safe foot travel.

Nancy Boldt, department boat and water safety coordinator, said hunters should be cautious of walking on frozen stock ponds, sloughs, creeks and rivers.

Ice thickness is not consistent, Boldt said, as it can vary significantly within a few inches. Hunters walking the edge of a cattail slough will not find the same ice thickness in the middle. “The edges firm up faster than the center,” she added. “So, with your first step the ice might seem like it is strong enough, but it may not be anywhere near solid enough once you progress away from the shoreline.”

And in the case of snowfall, Boldt cautions hunters to be aware of snow-covered ice. Snow insulates ice, inhibiting solid ice formation, and makes it difficult to check thickness. Snow also hides cracked, weak and open water areas.

Winter anglers are also encouraged to consider early ice conditions before traveling onto and across North Dakota lakes.

Keep in mind:

  • Avoid cracks, pressure ridges, slushy or darker areas that signal thinner ice. The same goes for ice that forms around partially submerged trees, brush, embankments or other structures.
  • Ice thickness is not consistent and can vary significantly even in a small area. Ice shouldn’t be judged by appearance alone. Anglers should drill test holes as they make their way out on the lake, and an ice chisel should be used to check ice thickness while moving around.
  • Daily temperature changes cause ice to expand and contract, affecting its strength.
  • The following minimums are recommended for travel on clear-blue lake ice formed under ideal conditions. However, early in the winter it’s a good idea to double these figures to be safe: 4 inches for a group walking single file; 6 inches for a snowmobile or all-terrain vehicle; 8-12 inches for an automobile; and 12-15 inches for a pickup/truck.

These tips could help save a life:

  • Wear a personal flotation device and carry a cell phone.
  • Carry ice picks or a set of screwdrivers to pull yourself back on the ice if you fall through.
  • If someone breaks through the ice, call 911 immediately. Rescue attempts should employ a long pole, board, rope, blanket or snowmobile suit. If that’s not possible, throw the victim a life jacket, empty water jug or other buoyant object. Go to the victim as a last resort, but do this by forming a human chain where rescuers lie on the ice with each person holding the feet of the person in front.
  • To treat hypothermia, replace wet clothing with dry clothing and immediately transport victim to a hospital.

planning hunter ed classes for 2014

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Individuals interested in taking a hunter education class in 2014 should know that most courses are offered early in the calendar year.

To register for a hunter education course, students need to sign up online at the Game and Fish Department’s website, gf.nd.gov. Many classes will be added over the next several weeks, and the rest will be added throughout the year as they are finalized.

To register, click on the online services tab, and “online course enrollment” under the hunter education heading. Classes are listed by city, and can also be sorted by start date. To register for a class, click on “enroll” next to the specific class, and follow the simple instructions. Personal information is required.

Those who do not have access to the Internet and want to sign up for a class can call the hunter education program in Bismarck at (701) 328-6615.

Individuals interested in receiving a notice by email when each hunter education class is added can click on the “subscribe to news, email and text alerts” link found below the news section on the department’s home page. Check the box labeled “hunter education class notification” under the education program updates.

State law requires anyone born after December 31, 1961 to pass a certified hunter education course to hunt in the state. Hunter education is mandatory for youth who are turning 12 years old, and children can take the class at age 11.

stay safe on the water

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Failure to wear a personal floatation device is the main reason people lose their lives in boating accidents.

The National Safe Boating Council warns boaters that most drowning victims had a life jacket available, but were not wearing it when they entered the water. “It is difficult to put a life jacket on once you are already in the water,” said Nancy Boldt, boat and water safety coordinator for the North Dakota Game and Fish Department. “The single most important part of safety on the water is wearing a personal flotation device.”

North Dakota law requires all children ages 10 and younger to wear a personal flotation device while in boats of less than 27 feet in length. The law also requires all personal watercraft users to wear a life jacket, Boldt said, as well as anyone towed on skis, tubes, boards or other similar devices.

Water users should make sure to wear life jackets that are the appropriate size, and in good condition. It is also important that children wear a PFD while swimming.

When purchasing a PFD, Boldt suggests considering the most prevalent water activity. Water skiers and tubers should wear a life jacket with four nylon straps rather than one with a zipper, because straps are stronger than zippers upon impact with water. Anglers or persons paddling a canoe should opt for a PFD that is comfortable enough to wear for an entire outing.

Water skiers and tubers are reminded it takes three to ski and tube. When a person is towed on water skis or a similar device, an observer other than the operator is required on the vessel.

It is important for swimmers to know water depth, as serious injuries can occur from diving into water. Large objects hidden below the water’s surface can lead to significant injury.

North Dakota boaters also are reminded that marine VHF radios are an important part of boat safety that should not be improperly used by operators. Boldt said they are intended for boat operators who are in distress and facing an emergency situation.

Regulations to help ensure safe boating this summer are found in the 2012-14 North Dakota Fishing Guide. A more comprehensive listing is available in the North Dakota Boat and Water Safety Guide or the Boat North Dakota education book. These guides are available online at the Game and Fish website, gf.nd.gov, by email at ndgf@nd.gov, or at a local Game and Fish Department office.

staying safe on the water

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May Highlights Safe Boating

A public awareness campaign held annually in May emphasizes the need for boaters to wears life jackets.

Nancy Boldt, boat and water safety coordinator for the North Dakota Game and Fish Department, said the message reinforces the importance of personal flotation devices.

“Facts prove there is no safety substitute for wearing a life jacket while recreating on public waters,” Boldt said.

Failure to wear a PFD is the main reason people lose their lives in boating accidents. Boldt said each year, about 700 people nationwide die in boating-related accidents. Nearly 70 percent are caused by drowning, and eight of 10 victims were not wearing a life jacket.

North Dakota law requires Coast Guard approved PFDs in the following circumstances:

  • ·         On watercraft less than 16 feet in length, one wearable PFD must be on board for each person.
  • ·         Anyone being towed on water-skis, surfboard, or a similar device must wear a PFD.
  • ·         No person may operate or permit the operation of a personal watercraft without each person on board wearing a PFD.
  • ·         Watercraft of 16 feet or longer must have one wearable PFD for each person on board, and one throwable flotation device.
  • ·         On any vessel less than 27 feet in length, all persons 10 years of age or younger must wear a properly fastened, Coast Guard approved PFD.

Boaters are reminded to test life jackets for serviceability and fit. All straps and buckles must be intact and there should be no rips or tears in the fabric.

planning for the 2012 hunter education classes

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Hunter Education Classes in 2012

Individuals interested in taking a hunter education class in 2012 should know that most courses are offered early in the calendar year.

To register for a hunter education course, students need to sign up online at the Game and Fish Department’s website, gf.nd.gov. Many classes will be added over the next several weeks, and the rest will be added throughout the year as they are finalized.

To register, click on the online services tab, and “online course enrollment” under the hunter education heading. Classes are listed by city, and can also be sorted by start date. To register for a class, click on “enroll” next to the specific class, and follow the simple instructions. Personal information is required.

If circumstances dictate the registrant cannot attend the course, it is important to access the website to delete the enrollment. This will allow others to enroll because space is limited. In addition, an individual cannot register for another course until the initial registration is deleted.

In addition to enrolling for classes, the website also provides a free hunter education study guide and a tree stand safety course. Students are encouraged to use these resources to study course material.

Those who do not have access to the Internet and want to sign up for a class can call the hunter education program in Bismarck at (701) 328-6615.

State law requires anyone born after December 31, 1961 to pass a certified hunter education course to hunt in the state. Hunter education is mandatory for youth who are turning 12 years old, and children can take the class at age 11.

stay safe out there

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Game and Fish Stresses Hunting Safety

More than 100,000 hunters will cross North Dakota’s prairie in search of game this fall. With that in mind, the state Game and Fish Department urges hunters to take proper safety measures in the field.

Jon Hanson, hunter education coordinator, said the opening weekends of pheasant and deer are the most anticipated hunting days of the year, and thus can be the most chaotic.

“People just need to relax, slow down a little bit and use common sense,” Hanson said. “It’s a long hunting season, especially for bird hunters, and there is plenty of game to go around.”

Since 2006, shooter swinging on game, careless handling, victim out of sight of shooter, and discharge in/around a vehicle contribute to 86 percent of all incidents in North Dakota.

Accidental discharge of a firearm in or near vehicles or along fences is also a leading statistic that shouldn’t be, Hanson said, because a shotgun or rifle should always be unloaded in these situations.

“Unfortunately, there have been a few hunting-related incidents in North Dakota each year, but the seven hunting incidents involving North Dakota hunters in 2009 is half of what has occurred annually over the past decade, and three of the seven were not even hunting-related shooting incidents,” Hanson said.

The number of annual incidents is consistently higher for shotgun than those with a rifle, with shooter swinging on game the number one factor. “Everything points to the shooter getting startled when a pheasant flushes, and the shooter swings and doesn’t realize where the hunting partner is,” Hanson said.

The majority of shotgun-related hunting incidents reported in North Dakota each year involve victims not dressed in orange. While wearing orange clothing is not required for upland hunters, Hanson strongly recommends it. “This is common sense,” he added. “If you are visible most accidents can be avoided.”

The surprising statistic, according to Hanson, is the age of the involved parties. “Most think it is always the younger hunter, but statistics indicate the average age of the shooter is 34 and the victim 42,” he added. “It is not the young kids who are making the majority of the mistakes.”

Hanson suggests mapping out the hunt so all members of the hunting party know each other’s route, and to let others left behind know your destination.

“And always carry a cell phone,” Hanson added. “There are not many places where you will be without reception.”

Hunter education courses have wrapped up for this year, but Hanson suggests individuals or parents with children who will need to take a course in 2011, should monitor the Game and Fish website, gf.nd.gov, as classes that begin in January will be added to theonline services link as soon as times and locations are finalized.

summer?

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We’re officially a week from summer…and the day’s begin to shorten…until then we’ll dream of all the fun in the sun and on the water. Unfortunately to often we fall into the dangerous (fatal) mindset that "it can’t happen to me" but it can and does. Please….put safety at the top of your summer list.

Outdoor recreationists are reminded to be alert and safe near water. Nancy Boldt, boat and water safety coordinator for the North Dakota Game and Fish Department, said the single most important part of safety on the water is wearing a personal flotation device.

North Dakota law requires all children ages 10 and younger to wear a personal flotation device while in boats of less than 27 feet in length. The law also requires all personal watercraft users to wear a life jacket, Boldt said, as well as anyone towed on skis, tubes, boards or other similar devices.

Failure to wear a PFD is the main reason people lose their lives in boating accidents. The National Safe Boating Council warns boaters that most drowning victims had a life jacket available, but were not wearing it when they entered the water. “It is difficult to put a life jacket on once you are already in the water,” Boldt said.

Water users should make sure to wear life jackets that are the appropriate size, and in good condition. It is also important that children wear a PFD while swimming.

When purchasing a PFD, Boldt suggests considering the most prevalent water activity. Water skiers and tubers should wear a life jacket with four nylon straps rather than one with a zipper, because straps are stronger than zippers upon impact with water. Anglers or persons paddling a canoe should opt for a PFD that is comfortable enough to wear for an entire outing.

Water skiers and tubers are reminded it takes three to ski and tube. When a person is towed on water skis or a similar device, an observer other than the operator is required on the vessel.

It is important for swimmers to know the depth, as serious injuries can occur from diving into water. “Know what is below the water’s surface, especially near shore,” Boldt said. “Larger objects can be hidden, potentially leading to a significant injury.”

North Dakota boaters also are reminded that marine VHF radios are an important part of boat safety that should not be improperly used by operators. Boldt said they are intended for boat operators who are in distress and facing an emergency situation.

Regulations to help ensure safe boating this summer are found in the 2010-12 North Dakota Fishing Guide. A more comprehensive listing is available in the North Dakota Boat and Water Safety Guide or the Boat North Dakota education book. These guides are available online at the Game and Fish website, gf.nd.gov, by e-mail at ndgf@nd.gov, or at a local Game and Fish Department office.

stay safe on the water

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Why do I talk about safety on the water? Fundamentally have you ever figured out where the brakes are on a jetski or boat? Exactly. Be careful out there!

National Safe Boating Week is May 22-28. Nancy Boldt, boat and water safety coordinator for the North Dakota Game and Fish Department, said this annual campaign emphasizes the need for water recreationists to wear a life jacket.
“There’s no safety substitute for wearing a personal flotation device while recreating on public waters,” Boldt said.
Failure to wear a PFD is the main reason people lose their lives in boating accidents. Boldt said each year, about 700 people nationwide die in boating-related accidents. Nearly 70 percent are caused by drowning, and eight of 10 victims were not wearing a life jacket.
North Dakota law requires Coast Guard approved PFDs in the following circumstances:
· On watercraft less than 16 feet in length, one wearable PFD must be on board for each person.

· Anyone being towed on water-skis, surfboard, or a similar device must wear a PFD.

· No person may operate or permit the operation of a personal watercraft without each person on board wearing a PFD.

· Watercraft of 16 feet or longer must have one wearable PFD for each person on board, and one throwable flotation device.

· On any vessel less than 27 feet in length, all persons 10 years of age or younger must wear a properly fastened, Coast Guard approved PFD.

Boaters are reminded to test life jackets for serviceability and fit. All straps and buckles must be intact and there should be no rips or tears in the fabric.