Cold water safety and hunter safety go hand-in-hand – Osage County Online | Osage County News

Cold water safety and hunter safety go hand-in-hand

KANSAS CITY, Mo. – With cooler weather upon us, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Kansas City District emphasizes safety while enjoying seasonal recreation opportunities.

“Fall and winter months provide additional opportunities for outdoor enthusiasts to enjoy our lakes,” said Zach Wallace, park ranger at Pomme de Terre Lake, near Hermitage, Mo. “It’s important to remember the dangers associated with colder seasons like hypothermia and hunting related activities. Accidents can happen and it’s vital all visitors take the appropriate steps to ensure a safe experience.”

Low water temperatures pose risks such as hypothermia. The human body cools 25 times faster in cold water than it does in air.

“You should expect the unexpected, dress for the weather and always wear a life jacket in or around water,” Wallace said.

With thousands of acres of public hunting land at 18 lakes throughout Kansas, Iowa, Missouri and Nebraska, the Corps also encourages hunters to take precautions this winter.

“Public hunting can present a challenge,” said Wallace. “There is a chance others are hunting in the same location and could be camouflaged in a tree stand, blind or behind brush. Be aware of your surroundings at all times and follow state and federal rules.”

The Corps urges outdoor enthusiasts to consider these additional tips.

  • Dress for the weather. As the weather turns colder, it’s always good to throw in an extra set of clothes, a blanket and a heavy coat.
  • File a float plan. This can be as informal as telling a friend or family member when you’re leaving, where you’re going and when you plan to return. It is also important to let them know who to contact if you do not return on time.
  • Wear your life jacket. If you find yourself in the water, a life jacket will keep your head above the surface. A life jacket will not only keep you afloat, it also serves as an extra layer of clothing to keep you warm.
  • Do not overload the boat. Check the boat’s capacity plate. Any attempt to overload makes the boat more likely to capsize. Avoid crossing large, open bodies of water and stay as close to shore as possible when traveling to and from hunting locations.
  • Know your surroundings. While hunting on public lands, remember others could be in the area. Always be cognizant of your surroundings.
  • Pack a survival kit in case of emergency. Pack the kit with gear such as waterproof matches or lighter, wire saw, plastic bag, change of clothes, map of the area and compass, whistle, rope or string, food and water, flashlight and batteries, first aid kit, multi-use tool and emergency blanket.

Information thanks to U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Public Affairs Office.

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