As Northland hunters gear up to hit the water in search of ducks, geese and other waterfowl, remembering to have a life jacket could be the most important thing of all.

According to the Minnesota DNR:

More waterfowl hunters die every year from drowning than from other types of hunting incidents. Swamping, capsizing and falling overboard are all common factors leading to these deaths, but in nearly all cases the hunters would have survived had they been wearing a life jacket.

The variety of life jackets hunters have to choose from is abundant, with jackets designed specifically for hunting needs.

Other tips that could help save lives this hunting season include:

  • Don’t overload the boat; take two trips if necessary.
  • If wearing hip boots or waders, learn how to float with them on.
  • Stay near shore and avoid crossing large expanses of open water, especially in bad weather.
  • Share trip plans with someone and advise them to call for help if you do not return on schedule.
  • Use a headlamp, spotlight or navigation lights to alert other boaters to your presence in dark and/or foggy conditions.
  • Carry a cell phone or personal locator beacon in case of emergency.