Parkland Ambulance is reminding residents to keep safety top of mind as hunting season ramps up this year.
The agency sent out a pair of safety sheets to media partners Monday about hunting and ATV safety.
The hunting safety tips included reminders to store firearms and ammunition safely, to hunt with a buddy, tell people where you are going and be prepared. It also reminded hunters they should know how to navigate and how to use a compass, that they should stay sober, take a first aid course and never hunt from a moving vehicle. It also said before taking the shot, take a second look.
“This time of year we do have a large number of hunters, whether they be local or visitors to our province,” said director of public affairs Lyle Karasiuk.
“We want people to be aware that before you take that shot, whether it be with your rifle or with a bow, make sure you look twice and ensure the target is the prey you want.”
While it doesn’t happen often, Karasiuk said Parkland Ambulance usually gets involved when mistaken identity tragically leads to a death or serious injury.
He added that along with hunting comes increased ATV use.
“This time of year, more people are out using the ATV for their means of transportation, especially while they’re hunting,” he said.
“We want them to be aware that there are some safety precautions to take.”
The list of safety tips for ATV riders included advice such as wearing proper protective equipment, riding with others, carrying no passengers, riding sober and within your skill level and keeping a close eye on younger ATV riders.
“We’ve seen some ATV injuries this summer,” Karasiuk said.
‘Those types of injuries are often people who don’t use their ATV properly.”
That can mean many things, Karasiuk said, including younger people driving an ATV designed for an adult that’s bigger than they can control and having multiple people riding on an ATV not built for more than one person.
“There are some (incidents) involved with not wearing the proper gear or being unprepared — not knowing where they’re going or driving too fast in conditions they’re not familiar with.”
The other message Parkland Ambulance is hoping to share this time of year applies not just to hunters and ATV riders, but to anyone enjoying time outside more generally.
“I want to remind people that if you’re a hunter, or just out for a hike, it’s a great idea to, a) let others know where you’re going, or if you’re not able to, leave a note somewhere. It’s always advisable. That way if you become lost or injured, you have the ability for us to have rescue (teams) start looking for you in a more confined area than saying ‘they went thataway,’” Karasiuk said.
He also stressed the importance of being prepared, even if you’re only going on a day trip.
“Something can go wrong,” he said.
“You can step in a hole for example and sprain and example. Now you’re stuck worrying how to get out, how you’re going to be cared for.”
Being prepared, he said, includes bringing along a first aid kit, matches and something to protect you from cold, rain and wind.
“If I don’t (bring those things along), I’m going to be at a significant disadvantage, especially as temperatures dip below freezing most nights now.”
Karasiuk also shared one key piece of advice for anyone heading outside in the event something does go wrong.
“If something happens, if you do become injured or lost or disoriented, stay where you are,” he said.“It’s much easier to come looking for you in one spot than over acres and acres of land when we might not have a clear picture of wher