A busy hunting season is anticipated after record sales of big game licenses and high participation in virtual education.

With many hunting seasons already underway or about to start, the New York State DEC is reminding hunters to put safety first when venturing out this season.

The Commissioner of the DEC, Basil Seggos is advising hunters to be aware of safety while out hunting this season. The commissioner stated the following:

Thousands of New Yorkers are getting outside for a nature break this year during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and we're seeing record-setting enthusiasm from both experienced hunters and anglers and those new to the sport. We want 2020 to be the safest hunting season on record and to make sure all hunters, whether they have decades of experience or are just starting out, follow the principles of hunter safety. Nearly all hunting-related accidents are preventable. DEC urges New York's 500,000 hunters to use common sense, follow the tenets taught in DEC's Hunter Education Course, and put safety first in every hunting trip this season

The DEC requires every hunter to take a hunter education course before receiving a license to hunt. There are four rules of firearm safety that hunters should follow. These rules include treating every firearm as if it's loaded, and always keep the muzzle pointed in a safe direction.

Hunters should always keep their fingers off the trigger and outside the trigger guard until ready to shoot and to always be sure of the target and what is beyond it.

Hunters should wear blaze orange or pink so that they are highly visible while in the field. Doing so will prevent other hunters from mistaking a person for an animal.

Hunters must also be aware that there are legal hours for big game hunting which are from sunrise to sunset. It is the hunter's responsibility to be aware of these times.

More information regarding the regulations hunters must follow while out in the field can be found on the DEC website.