The outdoors beckon as the Minnesota firearm deer season continues and Wisconsin's begins on Saturday. The air is crisp - just as you like it - and the snowfall should make tracking deer easier. Farmers have nearly completed their harvest, clearing the fields. Sounds as though conditions are just about perfect.
With all the good vibes going on, we hope you don't become complacent, because it's been a few months since you last walked local fields and forests in pursuit of does and bucks. Even if you have safety "top of mind," what about that other guy?
You know all the basics - never climb a ladder or tree with a loaded rifle, wear blaze orange, clearly identify your target and what's behind it, because bullets can continue in flight for a long way - but here are a few other things we hope you will consider.
After dusk and before daybreak, use a flashlight when walking past what may be another hunter's area. Yes, the light may cause a deer or two to shy away, but that light may help prevent any human mishaps and let fellow hunters know that the rustling out there is a person.
Let someone know where you are going to be. While we know your nature is to keep that elusive big buck's territory a secret, somebody needs to know the general location of your hunt in case you don't return.
When you dress for the weather, wear blaze orange, but perhaps equally important, don't wear white clothing - including an undershirt that might show or turtleneck. Another hunter might interpret that flash of white for a deer.
Might we also suggest that you share your success? In addition to area food shelves looking for meat, the Minnesota Deer Hunters Association sponsors Hides-for-Habitat and the Wisconsin Lions clubs hope to raise more than $1 million again this year through sale of donated hides that benefit a camp in Rosholt.
We only remind you of all this, deer hunters, because each and everyone of you is someone's dear hunter.