With hunting season well underway, the OPP in Central Region is reminding those venturing outdoors to be prepared and have a plan to ensure a safe return.
The OPP Central Region Emergency Response Team (ERT) has responded to more than 50 search and rescue calls in 2021. When venturing outdoors, regardless of activity, please have a plan and be prepared.
Outdoor enthusiasts are reminded to:
· Bring a fully charged mobile phone, extra battery and a GPS-enabled device to use when an area has poor phone reception.
· Consider using a geolocation app, such as What3Words, to help rescuers locate you.
· Hunting parties are encouraged to bring handheld radios for everyone in the event that phone service is unavailable.
· Do not solely rely on technology for navigation – bring a map of the area and a compass.
· Tell someone where you are going and when you expect to return. Create a detailed plan of your route and leave it with a friend or family member and/or in your vehicle as a guide for search parties.
· Dress for the weather and wear proper footwear as the weather can change quickly.
· Be visible. Hunter orange is a must. All hunters must wear a hunter orange garment and a hunter orange head covering of some sort. The more visible you are, the safer you will be. Check the regulations regarding these requirements.
· Always have a means to start a fire.
· Be prepared and bring items such as water, snacks, matches, a first-aid kit, flashlight and extra gloves, socks and other warm clothing.
· When using an off-road vehicle (ORV) or all-terrain vehicle (ATV), it is your responsibility to abide by the relevant legislation pertaining to its operation. Ensure to wear an approved helmet with chinstrap securely fastened. Pack a shovel, collapsible pail or fire extinguisher in case of fire.
For more information about hunting regulations in Ontario, visit www.ontario.ca/document/ontario-hunting-regulations-summary or contact your local Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry (MNRF) office at 1-877-847-7667.
If you have information about unlawful activity, please contact OPP at 1-888-310-1122 or Crime Stoppers anonymously at 1-800-222-TIPS (8477) or https://ontariocrimestoppers.ca/.