Corps urges waterfowl hunters to be safe on area lakes – Osage County Online | Osage County News

Corps urges waterfowl hunters to be safe on area lakes

KANSAS CITY, Mo. – The Kansas City District U.S. Army Corps of Engineers urges hunters to be safe and take precautions this winter when hunting at any of the district’s 18 lakes throughout Missouri, Kansas, Iowa and Nebraska.

Most waterfowl hunters do not think of themselves as “boaters.” The boat is just a mode of transportation to reach their favorite hunting spot; as a consequence, they do not consider the safety precautions that are important for a safe and enjoyable hunting trip. Packing boats beyond capacity with decoys, guns, dogs, gear, and their buddies creates a very dangerous safety hazard. 

This time of year cold water is an additional risk to those on or near the water. Cold water (less than 70 degrees F) can lower body temperature, causing hypothermia. The human body cools 25 times faster in cold water than it does in air. If a person’s body temperature drops too low, they may pass out and then drown. More hunters die from drowning and the effects of hypothermia than from gunshot wounds. Wearing warm clothing and headgear, rain gear to stay dry, and a life jacket can help retain body heat to prevent hypothermia.

USACE urges hunters to expect the unexpected and consider these additional four safety tips this hunting season.

Never overload the boat
Check the boat’s capacity plate. Any attempt to overload makes the boat more likely to capsize. Hunting boats are typically small (less than 14 feet) and may have flat bottoms, which are particularly unsuitable for rough water. Avoid crossing large, open bodies of water and stay as close to shore as possible when traveling to and from hunting locations. Many of the hunting accidents in the Kansas City District have occurred when a boater briefly exited a cove into the main body of the lake where windier conditions and rougher water existed.

Check the weather
Windy or stormy weather increases the risk of capsizing.

Pack a survival kit in case of an emergency
Pack the kit with gear such as waterproof matches/lighter, wire saw, plastic bag, change of clothes, map of the area and compass, signal mirror , whistle, rope or string, emergency food and water, fire starters, flashlight and extra batteries, first aid kit, pocket knife or multi-use tool, and an emergency blanket.

Wear your life jacket
A life jacket will keep your head above the surface of the water if you fall in. Also, the lifejacket will help you float, so you expend as little energy as possible to minimize the loss of heat from your body. The following video explains the dangers of cold water and how not wearing a life jacket can impact lives forever.

For more information, contact the Kansas City District Public Affairs Office at 816-389-3486.

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