Talk to locals, bait shops, learn where the usual unsafe ice is located
Four inches of ice, minimum, for people and gear…not an ATV
Simple Common Sense will usually prevent ice-fishing accidents
By Jason Houser
Ice fishing is supposed to be a good time during the winter months while we wait for the first signs of the thaw to arrive. However, every year ice fishermen fall victim to thin ice and the danger of falling through, then not knowing measures to take if that worst-case scenario happens.
There are precautions an outdoorsman can take to prevent falling through weak ice. Unfortunately, no matter how careful we are on the ice, there is always the risk of getting wet in these sub-freezing waters that can quickly take one’s life, especially if they do not know what to do in case of that unintended emergency. This article is intended to help prevent accidents and what to do should one occur.
One of the biggest reasons for people going through the ice is that they get on hard water that is not thick enough to support them and their equipment. Four inches of clear ice is the bare minimum for a person to safely walk on. An ATV or snowmobile will take at least five inches of ice, and a vehicle will require eight inches, with twelve being better. A lot of things can factor into whether ice is safe or not, and these are only guidelines. Early and late in the season is often the most dangerous times to be on ice.
Each body of water has its known danger areas. If you are going to be on winter water that you are not familiar with, check with locals who know where the problem ice might be. They can provide a lot of valuable information.
Even though I stated what the thickness of ice should be when driving on it, try not to drive a highway vehicle on it if possible. If you must take a drive, keep the windows rolled down and your seat belt off. Remember that a car or truck can be replaced, so do not hesitate to leave it in a hurry if things go awry.
Safety should be first and foremost with fishermen. Do not venture onto the ice unless it is at least 4 to 6 inches thick. This is the minimum thickness that will safely support a person and their gear. Keep in mind that snow weakens the stability of the ice. Do not test just one area of the ice and assume that it will be the same depth at all areas of the lake, reservoir or pond – it might not be.
Ice fishing accidents can quickly become deadly. Do not ice fish alone. Always have someone with you and let people back at the house know where you will be and when you expect to return. That way, if you do not return on time, they know exactly where to go and look for you.
Also, frostbite and hypothermia are concerns that ice fishermen must be aware of. You must be alert as to the amount of time you are on the ice and the weather conditions while you are fishing. Do not get overwhelmed with all the excitement and stay out too long.
Below are five more ice fishing safety recommendations:
Wear a warm hat that covers your ears. In cold weather, 75 to 80 percent of heat loss from the body occurs from an uncovered head.
Go with a partner and stay separated when going to and from fishing spots in case one of you falls through the ice.
Carry a rope to throw if someone falls through the ice, go out to that person only as a last resort.
Test the ice ahead of you with an ice spud bar or an auger.
Do not leave children unsupervised.
Ice fishing is meant to be an enjoyable time in the outdoors. Practice safety on the ice…always. The advice in this article will prevent many accidents from occurring, but the best danger prevention is simply common sense.
If something doesn’t look safe, stay away.
There will be plenty of opportunities to step out on the ice.
It sure is getting foggy. I’m not sure I could even see a deer sneaking through the woods in this stuff. Oh well, I just love being out here sitting in my stand, even if I don’t see a deer. It’s a great time to be alone with God and thank Him for the opportunity to be out here in His great outdoors.
I wonder how many sunrises I have seen coming through the trees while sitting in a tree stand? After over 50 years of deer hunting, it has to be a lot. I have watched a lot of sunsets too, while up in a tree, but sunrises are my favorite. There’s just something special about being in the dark watching the sun gradually bring light to the forest.
Hearing the first bird songs of the day is music to my ears. I even love the smell of decaying leaves on the forest floor. The first movement I see is usually a squirrel gathering nuts for the long winter ahead. It’s amazing how much a squirrel sounds like a deer walking through the woods. Then there were the times I have watched a fox, a bobcat or some other animal traveling through and they had no idea I was even there. There was also the time an owl thought the fur trapper’s hat I was wearing on a cold winter day was breakfast and, with claws raised, dived right at my head.
It’s funny how we deer hunters tend to name our tree stands too. Over the years I have sat in stands with names like Northwood’s, Papaw Bear, Dad and Me, 23, Pond, Kelly, Red Neck and even one called No Name. Just thinking of the names brings back a lot of memories.
Most of my years sitting in those tree stands have been by myself, but the absolute best times were the years I shared them with my grandson, Hunter, while my son hunted with my granddaughter Anna. Hunter got old enough to hunt in his own tree stand and I am now once again sitting alone in the deer woods. It won’t be too many more years and he will be hunting with his son or daughter and continuing to pass on the tradition. Just thinking about the good times when it was just him and me brings tears to my eyes.
When you sit there waiting for a deer to come by your secret hiding place thinking of all these things, you see them in your mind. Speaking of tears, as I sit here this day, for some strange reason I am seeing my wife crying. The fog is lifting enough that I can now also see my sons, daughters-in-law, and grandkids crying. What’s going on?
Honey, I love you. Why are you crying, I say to my wife? Can’t you hear me? Hunter, I know you have always had a tender heart, but what’s the matter Bub? Don’t cry Sis, your Papaw’s here. Ty, Sam…come here and give your Papaw our secret hand -squeeze and let me wipe away the tears. Kids, I am right over here!
Hey, I also see some of my cousins and friends from church. There’s Pastor Scotty too! What are they all doing here? I try talking to them and they act like they can’t hear me or see me. Why is this room filled with all these flowers and pictures of me with my wife, kids and grandkids plus pictures of me with fish and deer?
I hear someone ask my son how it happened. How what happened? My son Kelly chokes back a tear as my son Daron puts his arm around him to comfort him and he says, “Dad was always telling us to wear our harness and attach our lifeline when we got into a tree stand. He was hunting out of a ladder stand and for some reason, I guess he thought he didn’t need to do what he always told us to do. He even wrote articles and did radio shows telling other people how important it was to do it, but that day he didn’t. A ratchet strap broke; the stand slipped and he fell out.”
Did I fall out of my tree stand? I’m dead?! You’ve got to be kidding! I have hunted that stand for years. My harness and lifeline were in my truck. I guess like most hunters, I thought this could never happen to me. I made a bad decision.
I say I am sorry to my wife for the times I have hurt her, tell her I love her one more time and that the boys will watch over her, but she doesn’t hear me. I want to hug and kiss her but I can’t.
I stand right in front of my sons and tell them how proud I am of them for being the good husbands and fathers they are, but they don’t see or hear me. I reach out to touch each of my grandkids, tell them I love them and I am sorry I won’t be there to watch them grow up and have families of their own, but they don’t hear or see me either. I pray they won’t forget their Papaw. I hope they tell their kids about the memories we made together.
I feel a hand gently on my shoulder and a voice says, “I know this is hard Larry, but they will be alright. God will watch over all of them for you. It’s time to go to a better place. There are other people waiting for you when we get there and I bet you have a bunch of fishing, hunting, kids and grandkids stories to tell them.”
We turn to go, but I look back over my shoulder at my friends and family one last time and say goodbye.
The fire extinguishers can become clogged or require excessive force to discharge and can fail to activate during a fire emergency. In addition, the nozzle can detach with enough force to pose an impact hazard.
Remedy: Replace (Free Replacement)
Recall date: November 2, 2017
Recall number: 18-022
Kidde toll-free at 855-271-0773 from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. ET Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. ET Saturday and Sunday, or online at www.kidde.com and click on “Product Safety Recall” for more information.
Fire Extinguisher RECALL Description:
This recall involves two styles of Kidde fire extinguishers: plastic handle fire extinguishers and push-button P-indicator fire extinguishers.
Plastic handle fire extinguishers: The recall involves 134 models of Kidde fire extinguishers manufactured between January 1, 1973 and August 15, 2017, including models that were previously recalled in March 2009 and February 2015. The extinguishers were sold in red, white and silver, and are either ABC- or BC-rated. The model number is printed on the fire extinguisher label. For units produced in 2007 and beyond, the date of manufacture is a 10-digit date code printed on the side of the cylinder, near the bottom. Digits five through nine represent the day and year of manufacture in DDDYY format. Date codes for recalled models manufactured from January 2, 2012 through August 15, 2017 are 00212 through 22717. For units produced before 2007, a date code is not printed on the fire extinguisher.
Consumers should immediately contact Kidde to request a free replacement fire extinguisher and for instructions on returning the recalled unit, as it may not work properly in a fire emergency.
Note: This recall includes fire extinguisher models that were previously recalled in March 2009 and February 2015. Kidde branded fire extinguishers included in these previously announced recalls should also be replaced. All affected model numbers are listed in the charts above.
Recall information for fire extinguishers used in RVs and motor vehicles can be found on NHTSA’s website.
The firm is aware of a 2014 death involving a car fire following a crash. Emergency responders could not get the recalled Kidde fire extinguishers to work. There have been approximately 391 reports of failed or limited activation or nozzle detachment, including the fatality, approximately 16 injuries, including smoke inhalation and minor burns, and approximately 91 reports of property damage.
Menards, Montgomery Ward, Sears, The Home Depot, Walmart and other department, home and hardware stores nationwide, and online at Amazon.com, ShopKidde.com and other online retailers for between $12 and $50 and for about $200 for model XL 5MR. These fire extinguishers were also sold with commercial trucks, recreational vehicles, personal watercraft and boats.
Walter Kidde Portable Equipment Company Inc., of Mebane, N.C.
Manufactured In: United States and Mexico
Units: About 37.8 million (in addition, 2.7 million in Canada)
The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission is charged with protecting the public from unreasonable risks of injury or death associated with the use of thousands of types of consumer products under the agency’s jurisdiction. Deaths, injuries, and property damage from consumer product incidents cost the nation more than $1 trillion annually. CPSC is committed to protecting consumers and families from products that pose a fire, electrical, chemical or mechanical hazard. CPSC’s work to help ensure the safety of consumer products – such as toys, cribs, power tools, cigarette lighters and household chemicals -– contributed to a decline in the rate of deaths and injuries associated with consumer products over the past 40 years.
Federal law bars any person from selling products subject to a publicly-announced voluntary recall by a manufacturer or a mandatory recall ordered by the Commission.
To report a dangerous product or a product-related injury go online to www.SaferProducts.gov or call CPSC’s Hotline at 800-638-2772 or teletypewriter at 301-595-7054 for the hearing impaired. Consumers can obtain news release and recall information at www.cpsc.gov, on Twitter @USCPSC or by subscribing to CPSC’s free e-mail newsletters.
Prusik, Gravity, Your Whitetail Deer Hunting Future
By Forrest Fisher
The phrase “Whitetails Unlimited” is catchy if you are a deer hunter, especially a whitetail deer hunter. It’s also the name of an organization that has more than 100,000 members because the hunting messages they share are effective, useful and are delivered from the experience of real hunters and field contributors. There is more than beginner value.
Whitetails Unlimited Communications Director, Jeff Davis, was his usual self. Modest and humble, unassuming, friendly and confident, as he extemporaneously addressed more than 150 outdoor communicators at the opening luncheon of the Association of Great Lakes Outdoor Writers (AGLOW) Annual Conference at the Sportsman’s Lodge, on the Lake-of-the-Woods in Baudette, Minnesota.
His voice was passionate, descriptive and implicit with experience from encounters with an army of ardent whitetail deer hunters. Davis has met hundreds of hunters and shared in many their most exciting tales and hunter secrets. Hunter’s trust this hunter-gentleman because not many questions are ever left unanswered, at least not until the next issue of their extensive quarterly conservation and hunting magazine. Magazine issue content is an art and delivery science.
With a slight grin that emerged to also offer a note of truth and sadness, “Not every tale has a happy ending,” Davis said. He postured his oncoming message from experience and history, with an element of approach intended to share and impart his high concern for hunter success and safety. His audible expression was unmistakable and optimistic. He was delivering advice for hunting and addressing an eager and robust audience that was all ears. We all felt comfortable to learn more.
As Davis continued, my mind drifted off. Was his smooth delivery hypnosis? Not sure. Was I bored? No, but my tummy was full from lunch. Like listening to a short sermon in church, my brain had transcended into an imaginary place and I was on a hunt. All the elements of what Davis had been talking about were in my dream. I think I drifted into dreamland for just a minute or two, but I clearly remember the details of my dream.
There was a succulent white oak tree forest with mounds of sweet acorns next to a row of apple trees where my trail cams had chronicled bucks rumbling antlers with each other in the previous weeks. There was a highly traveled rub line and it was near sunset in my aspiration. A full moon had just started rising in the eastern sky, it had a tinge of orange color. Scrapes every 25 yards were visible. There were the sounds of apples and acorns crunching in the distance from my tree stand about 95 yards downwind. Yes, I had audio, and many deer. Imagine such unlimited whitetails. I was in my place of reverie as a deer hunter.
My tree stand was situated where it was because I wanted to be safe about human scent dispersal. There I was, sitting in a hanging tree stand elevated 20-feet, vertical access from a stick-ladder and feeling very happy and safe. I knew this was a good spot. It was so quiet, except for those inconsiderate munching deer chewing in the distance.
Sitting on my butt in my stand, full-body harness in place – I wear it every time, my bow was resting on my lap. The deer on this night had dispersed and had no interest for my grunt and bleat combinations. Probably a wind direction issue. The sun had disappeared and it was time to head back. Disappointed, I started to think about what to do next time. I dropped my bow down on the lift-line, my backpack too. Then I started down the ladder. Oops! My foot slips on the top step and I was suddenly airborne. In a split second, I crashed hard into the ground and could not move. I could not feel my arms or legs. What happened I thought to myself? I had been in my dream spot. I started to grunt a bit from my perceived pain when my better half woke me up and said, “Hey Forrest, the speaker just called your name from the raffle.”
There were people clapping warmly. “Oh, I said, sorry honey, I must have dozed off.”
I got up and approached the speaker’s stand when Jeff Davis said, “You win a THE Safe-Line from MUDDY! Congratulations! Enjoy.” Wow. Thank goodness I was dreaming! I was literally trembling as I walked back to my seat, the dream had been so real for a brief moment, then at the end, a nightmare. I smiled, trying to hide my brief moment of fear from far away in dreamland.
As I sat there in a semi-stupor, I realized that in the dream I had been so focused on the next hunt, that safely getting down from the tree came second. My safety came second. My life came second. My safety and how important I was to my family was not even part of my thinking in the dream. It was now. So I took a step back to really think about it. I knew that another force from far away must have been talking to me to even have this dream, or maybe that Jeff Davis was one of those magic-maker speakers where everyone can get up and talk like a chicken upon request. You’ve seen the act. I laughed to myself and grinned over to my wife who said, “You’re so lucky!” No kidding, especially this time, I thought.
So I continued in my post-dream thought, how could this accident have been prevented? We know how my safety was compromised because every solid hunter has thought about the next hunt at the end of a fruitless day. We can lose our focus for safety during “thinking moments” like that.
A MUDDY Safe-Line for secure descent would have saved me from this dream accident. Under $40 worth of gear (www.gomuddy.com), the same gear I had just won. I felt connected to another source of energy for a second or two. Sort of unreal. For a moment, no kidding, I felt an angel must have been telling me that I need to be more aware of safety. Thank you Lord.
To use the Safe-Line, you attach the line to the tree just above your tree stand with the loop knot provided. You leave this rope in place now during hunting season. The body harness Carabiner Clip latches right onto the Prusik knot loop of the Safe-Line – it comes with two Prusik slip knots (for a two-man stand), the Prusik loop slides down the Safe-Line as you proceed one step at a time and down you go. Safely. The bottom of the Safe-Line is then tied around the tree at ground level. Going up or down on slippery steps wet from rain, snow or ice is no longer a safety concern. The Prusik knot will go with you as you gently push it up or slide it down with you in either direction. If you should drop quickly, it immediately locks into place, saving you from rapid descent, a fall and possible death.
Davis’s message from Whitetails Unlimited Magazine for the attending outdoor journalists visiting from across the country was TREE STAND SAFETY.
I think I got the message. In my case, Davis had help even he did not know about. No, I’m not superstitious, but I am listening to thoughts of safety much more now. The dream honestly scared me.
My grandkids are just coming of age to hunt deer and the kids will be just like many of us in the outdoors, hunting from that one place that deer rarely see, an elevated tree stand. Safety will be the first concern for each of us when we consider the future safety of our grandkids.
Write it down as a MUST-HAVE:
One (1) Safe-Line (MUDDY, www.gomuddy.com) for every tree stand and one (1) full-body harness (HUNTER SAFETY SYSTEM, www.hssvest.com) for every hunter in your party.
Then and only then, can you go up and down from your elevated tree stand in total safety while thinking about the strategy for the exciting day ahead, or for the strategy on that next deer hunt. I had a lucky dream, then a lucky raffle. Don’t you be unlucky by choice. Conquer safety. Make it habit. Start now.
Pass it on. Please.
About Whitetails Unlimited: Founded in 1982, Whitetails Unlimited is a national nonprofit conservation organization that has remained true to its mission, making great strides in the field of conservation. We have gained the reputation of being the nation’s premier organization dedicating our resources to the betterment of the white-tailed deer and its environment. On behalf of our 105,000 plus members, we welcome you to browse our site and learn more about WTU, our past accomplishments, and the organization’s commitment to caring for our priceless renewable natural resources. We appreciate your interest in Whitetails Unlimited and hope that after reviewing our site, you will consider joining the whitetail team “Working for an American Tradition.” The Whitetails Unlimited quarterly magazine (60-80 pages, 4 times per year) is not available on newsstands, only through membership.
From Newtown, CT., the National Shooting Sports Foundation® (NSSF®), the trade association for the firearms industry, is pleased to announce that it has chosen the winners of its 2017 Voting Member Scholarship Essay Contest. Open to the employees and qualifying family members of NSSF’s Voting Member companies, the annual contest awards $60,000 divided between 25 winners, including one grand prize winner who receives $8,000 to apply toward their college costs. NSSF received a total of 66 qualified entries this year.
In refreshing this annual contest, NSSF offered two submission options for the scholarship program. The first option required a written essay, with specific formatting guidelines, on one of the following two topics:
·How important is the U.S. Supreme Court to protecting the rights of American citizens to keep and bear arms?
·Passing the Torch: A personal story of an experienced shooter or hunter passing traditions on to family and friends.
The second submission option required a written script designed to provide voiceover narration for a video (though no actual video submission was required). The three script topic choices were:
·What hunting means to me and to wildlife conservation.
·How learning to target shoot has benefitted me as a person.
·What non-hunters would be surprised to learn about hunting.
Matthew Willey, whose mother is employed by Olin Corp., was chosen as the grand prize winner. Matthew will be a senior at St. Louis University this fall, was selected as the grand prize winner. For his scholarship submission, he chose to tackle the Supreme Court topic in traditional essay format. His essay in part read:
For the majority of the last 70 or so years, the most important Supreme Court ruling pertaining to the right to gun ownership was 1939’s United States v. Miller. In that case, an Arizona district court ruled that two men who had been indicted for transporting a sawed-off shotgun across state lines, should not have been indicted, as the regulations preventing them from legally transporting that firearm were unconstitutional. This decision was appealed to the Supreme Court, which chose to interpret the 2nd amendment as pertaining only to the regulation of a militia … . This ruling was the preeminent ruling concerning the 2nd amendment for the rest of the 20th century, and it set a damaging precedent to gun rights in this country.
Fortunately, things changed relatively recently. In 2008’s landmark case, District of Columbia v. Heller, the Supreme Court once again addressed the interpretation of the 2nd amendment. … In a 5-4 decision, the Supreme Court interpreted the second amendment as providing a right to self-protection. It is important to remember here that in a common law system, a law must be enforced as it is interpreted by the courts. Therefore, whatever questions existed about the legal meaning of the 2nd amendment prior to District of Columbia v. Heller, the meaning is now clear and binding.
This is not to say that the battle for gun rights has emphatically been won. It is perfectly conceivable that in some future case the Supreme Court may revisit the 2nd amendment, and thus open the door to a new interpretation. Moreover, the ruling in District of Columbia v. Heller was not without its ambiguity, meaning that more challenges to gun rights may loom in the future. The one thing that is for certain is that if these challenges reach the Supreme Court, the decisions made by those nine justices will shape the law for the entire nation. Therefore, despite recent victories, it is vital that the Supreme Court be populated by men and women who respect the rights of gun owners. When it comes to the law, a strong Supreme Court is more powerful than any legislator, or any president.
Other winners included the $5,000 first place entrant, Nathan Huelsmann, who will be a senior at Missouri University of Science and Technology in the Fall and whose father also works for Olin, and the $3,000 second place winner Ian Murphy, will be a Junior at the Oregon Institute of Technology in the fall and whose father is employed by Sturm, Ruger & Co. Twenty-two other winners received $2,000 each for their successful entries. See the full list of scholarship recipients and the entire winning essay.
About NSSF The National Shooting Sports Foundation is the trade association for the firearms industry. Its mission is to promote, protect and preserve hunting and the shooting sports. Formed in 1961, NSSF has a membership of more than 12,000 manufacturers, distributors, firearms retailers, shooting ranges, sportsmen’s organizations and publishers. For more information, visit www.nssf.org.
You know what they say about the early bird? Turns out, the old ditty applies equally to bass anglers. So when the big bass start biting, Joe Balog turns to a sweet little trick that gets him on the water just a bit earlier than everyone else.
“Been using this cool new hitch camera,” says the veteran angler. “Thing connects to any metal surface, including my tail gate or my rear bumper. Every morning when it’s time to hook the boat, I get ‘er done in record time. Means I reach to the boat ramp sooner. Which also puts me on the best bass spots before the crowds arrive. Every minute matters.”
At the end of the fishing day, Balog uses the same wireless iBall Hitch Camera to back his bass boat into the tight confines of a gear-stuffed garage. The small LCD monitor stays put, plugged securely into his truck’s 12-volt auxiliary plug. “Just pull the magnetic iBall camera off the bumper and reconnect it to any metal surface in the garage—or even the boat trailer itself (watch the video). Guides my boat into the tightest spaces, where every inch counts.”
“The iBall camera magnet is so powerful,” says Balog, “that even if I forget to remove it, the device still holds tight across miles of gnarly roads.” It’s submersible, too, should he back a little too far down the ramp. Rechargeable and wireless to 100 feet, the iBall camera is an undeniable timesaver—including a 3.5-inch color LCD with adjustable gooseneck plug and rugged 5.8-GHz wireless camera.
Price? Around $169. Awesome new tool.
About Outdoors Insight, Inc.
Creator of Aqua-Vu, the original Underwater Viewing System, Outdoors Insight, Inc. has led the underwater camera category in design, innovation and quality since 1997. The Central Minnesota based company builds many popular outdoors products, such as the iBall Trailer Hitch Camera (iballhitchcam.com) and Odor Check Moisture and Odor Control System (odorcheck.com) featuring Scent-Lok Technology. For more information on Aqua-Vu, visit www.aquavu.com.