EAST TEXAS (KTRE) - As many head outdoors for the fall hunting season, officials are urging folks to use caution with the increased risk of wildfires and other safety issues.
Angelina County resident Brent Bostic says he’s hunted just about his entire life.
“You still get butterflies,” he said. “You still get the shakes. As I’ve gotten older and had kids, the fun thing is taking the kids.”
And Bostic says safety is at the forefront of his mind.
“Safety, people don’t think about it because it becomes a routine,” he said. “The problem is you get so into that routine that you forget the little things.”
Officials are cautioning hunters, campers, and outdoor enthusiasts to be mindful while outdoors.
“In Texas, people and their activities cause more than 90% of our wildfires,” Texas A&M Forest Service Wildland Urban Interface Specialist Weldon Dent said. “Once you’re out in the field hunting, campfires can become an issue.”
“You can go sit around a campfire and the next thing you know there’s 10,000 acres on fire because you forgot to put it out or someone throws a bottle in it,” Bostic said.
Dent says hunters should also make sure they use the appropriate ammunition.
“Try to avoid using stuff with steel jacket end bullets or steel cores,” Dent said. Certain high-velocity ammunition, in certain conditions, can also lead to a spark."
“Gun safety is the utmost important thing when it comes to rifle hunting,” Bostic said. “Different tools of weapons you use, you have to be considerate of what that tool is.”
For those hunting or camping at the U.S. National Forests or grasslands in the State, Gregory Deimel says they want folks to have a good and safe hunt.
“Wear the proper fluorescent clothing, follow all Texas Parks and Wildlife regulations,” Deimel said. “And know that you have to be safe with a fire and park where you’re supposed to park.”
“If you’re climbing a tree stand you need a harness on,” Bostic said. “Safety is the utmost importance. Use common sense and be aware of your surroundings.”
Officials say always check with local officials for burn bans and avoid driving over and parking on dry grass because the heat from your vehicle can easily ignite it.
The U.S. Forest Service’s National Forests and grassland areas in Texas are following Governor Greg Abbott’s COVID-19 guideline.
US Forest Service hunting safety tips: https://www.fs.usda.gov/detail/texas/news-events/?cid=FSEPRD835559
Texas A&M Forest Service preventing wildfire tips: https://agrilifetoday.tamu.edu/2020/10/28/prevent-wildfires-during-hunting-season
Texas Hunting Dates 2020-2021 season: https://tpwd.texas.gov/regulations/outdoor-annual/hunting/general-regulations/2020_2021_hunting_seasons