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Game and Fish stresses safety during pheasant season

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North Dakota's pheasant hunting season opens Oct. 10, and approximately 100,000 hunters will participate in the upcoming season. With that many hunters, it's important to take proper safety measures in the field.

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Jon Hanson, hunter education coordinator for the state Game and Fish Department, said 10 hunting incidents were reported in 2008, and six were shotgun related.

"The majority of shotgun-related hunting incidents reported in North Dakota each year are caused by hunters swinging on pheasants and not seeing other members of their hunting party," Hanson said. "And typically, they are not dressed in orange."

While wearing orange clothing is not required for upland hunters, it is strongly recommended. "Each year, most incidents could have been avoided if the victims were wearing orange," Hanson said. "The importance of being visible cannot be underscored, especially with so many hunters in the field."

Hanson suggests mapping out the hunt so all members of the hunting party know each other's route.

Accidental discharge of a firearm in or near vehicles or along fences also happens in most years. "This is a matter of common sense," Hanson said. "A shotgun should always be unloaded in these situations."

Another important recommendation Hanson stresses is to let others left behind know your destination. "Let someone know where you are going and how long you will be gone," Hanson said.

Pheasant limits are three roosters daily and 12 in possession. Shooting hours are 30 minutes before sunrise to sunset.

Hunters, regardless of age, must have a fishing, hunting and furbearer certificate and general game and habitat license. In addition, hunters age 16 and older need a small game license.

For further season information and regulations, hunters should consult the "North Dakota 2009-10 Small Game Hunting Guide."

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