As the big game hunting season continues Colorado Parks and Wildlife reminds hunters to be careful in all aspects of their hunting adventures. While few hunters are injured from firearm accidents, other activities in the field can cause problems.
Recently, a hunter in the Gunnison area died from carbon monoxide poisoning after going to sleep with gas lanterns burning in his tent. The man only brought blankets which were not adequate for cold nights in the high country. A report on the incident stated that he used the lanterns in an attempt to stay warm.
If a heater, stove or lantern that burns gas or oil is being used in an enclosed space such as a tent or a camper, adequate ventilation is needed to assure carbon monoxide is expelled and that clean air circulates through.
Hunters need to use high-quality sleeping bags that are rated for low temperatures and also pads that provide extra insulation and keep the bottom of the bag off the ground.
Hunters should always be prepared to spend the night outside in case bad weather moves in or they become lost. In a pack, hunters should carry matches, a compass or GPS unit, flashlight, extra batteries, a space blanket, signaling device, rain gear, and a hat and gloves.
Emergency-room doctors also report other health and injury issues during the hunting seasons.
It's best to be in good shape before hunting in Colorado. Those coming from lower altitudes should also take at least one day to acclimatize by making some short hikes around camp.
Every year a number of hunters go to hospitals because of cardiac problems. Many of those hunters come from lower altitudes and experience serious heart problems when they go into the high country. Hunters need to evaluate their health before they venture to high altitude to engage in strenuous activity.
Doctors also say that some hunters injure themselves while handling arrows, knives, axes and other tools in camp or in the field.
Wildlife officials advise hunters to cut slowly while field-dressing big game. Knives and saws must be sharp and they must be handled deliberately and carefully, especially in difficult conditions in the forest, such as on a mountainside, in low-light or if you're wearing gloves. Hunters who are not familiar with field-dressing can view videos to learn how. A video is available on the CPW web site at http://cpw.state.co.us/learn/Pages/HuntVideos.aspx; many videos also are available on YouTube.
More and more hunters in Colorado are now hunting from tree stands. It's recommended that hunters assemble the stand at home and practice climbing in and out of it before going into the field.
Finally, hunters are always urged to be extra careful while handling their rifles. CPW reminds hunters that a majority of firearm mishaps happen in and around vehicles while guns are being loaded and unloaded. It is unlawful to carry a loaded firearm in a vehicle in Colorado.
Colorado's big-game rifle seasons start Oct. 15 and continue through Nov. 20.