JUNEAU, Alaska –The Coast Guard, Alaska Department of Fish and Game, and the Alaska Department of Public Safety encourages hunters to increase their safety awareness and prepare accordingly for their hunts.
Coast Guard 17th District personnel have responded to four separate search and rescue cases over the last two weeks relating to hunters needing assistance in the Alaskan outdoors. These search and rescue cases have stretched from Kodiak to Hoonah to Juneau.
With the Alaska hunting season in full swing and set to continue, the Coast Guard, ADF&G and DPS encourages all hunters to follow the below safety recommendations. By preparing for changes in weather and taking steps to minimize the inherent risks, hunters can improve their chances of a safe hunt.
- Have a hunting plan in place so friends or family know where you plan to be, when you plan to return, what gear you plan to utilize and what to do if you are overdue.
- Take a personal emergency position indicating radio beacon or similar device when hunting. This device will alert rescue personnel to your specific location in the event of an emergency.
- Take a GPS to aid in your return trip to your cabin, airplane, vehicle or boat, or to help rescue personnel locate you.
- Have a satellite phone, In-Reach device or VHF-FM radio to make contact with family or rescue personnel. Cell coverage is increasingly widespread and a charged cell phone may also assist as a GPS device. VHF-FM radio channel 16 is the international distress channel.
- Check the forecasted weather for the entire hunt.
- Dress in layers to protect against hypothermia, and avoid wearing cotton clothing. Pack extra clothes for the ever-changing and harsh Alaskan weather. Bring a small emergency kit containing (at least) fire-starting tools and a whistle to signal.
- Take extra food and water in case you are out longer than planned.
- Hunt with a companion or group.
- Follow proper gun safety guidelines and state laws for the game to be hunted.
- If transiting on the water to a hunting location, always wear a properly fitting life jacket, and have an exposure suit. Follow all boating regulations regarding equipment and boat capacities.
- Avoid the use of alcohol.
If you have questions regarding hunting safety, please contact ADF&G ator DPS at 907-269-5413.
If you have questions regarding boating safety, please contact the 17th Coast Guard District at 907-463-2297.