For outdoorsmen in the Tulsa District fall prompts thoughts of colder weather and the start of any number of hunting seasons as well as some great winter fishing.
Colder weather across the district brings new challenges in the realm of safety, especially for the outdoor enthusiasts.
"Some may think that water safety is only for the summer months but this is false. Many folks still recreate at our lakes during the winter months enjoying the outdoors with fishing and duck hunting on the water," stated Abby Jones, Tulsa District Natural Resource Specialist. "We ask everyone to please remember your life jacket when you leave the house, if you don't want to wear it for yourself, wear it for your loved ones."
Every winter we see duck hunters and anglers not return home because winter conditions out on the water can be unpredictable, the importance of wearing a life jacket during the winter months is just as important as the summer months, added Jones.
Exposure to cold water can cause a loss of body heat and bring about hypothermia. Hypothermia can kill.
According to the National Safe Boating Council, should you unexpectedly find yourself in cold water you should remember the 1-10-1 rule.
You generally have one minute to get control of your breathing and do not panic.
You generally have 10 minutes of meaningful movement to self-rescue or prepare to wait to be rescued.
You generally have one hour before you will become unconscious due to hypothermia.
When not on the water during the colder months there are also safety factors that need to be considered when heading out to your favorite outdoor activity.
"Ensure your windshields are clear of frost before getting on the road, and pay particular attention to bridges during those frosty mornings," stated Mike Kerr, Tulsa District Chief of Safety. "Keep your windshield clean and use caution when driving east/west during sunrise and sunset as the glare can make it more difficult to see."
Also, the National Weather Service recommends the following tips for dressing in cold weather.
Wear layers of loose-fitting, lightweight, warm clothing and wear a hat. Try to stay dry and out of the wind and cover your mouth to protect your lungs from extreme cold. Lastly, try to wear mittens that are snug at the wrist because they are better than gloves.
And if hunting is on your agenda, always keep your gun pointed in a safe direction, keep your finger off the trigger until you're ready to fire, and keep the gun unloaded until its ready to use.
Following these simple tips can help you have a safe and enjoyable time outdoors as the temperatures drop.