COVID-19 Safety Tips for Boating, Fishing and Hunting

Author: NCWRC blogger/Tuesday, March 31, 2020/Categories: Blog, Boating, Fishing, Hunting

COVID-19 Safety Tips for Boating, Fishing and Hunting

Springtime is in full swing - The fish are biting, the temperature is heating up and the turkeys will soon be gobbling. Getting out into the woods or on the water can be a welcomed escape for adults and children, and can be done safely if you follow social distancing guidelines: staying six feet away from other people, washing hands or using hand sanitizer and coughing into your elbow. To help you stay safe, we urge anglers, boaters and hunters to also follow these best management practices:

Fishing:

  • First and foremost, if you feel sick, stay home.
  • Purchase your fishing license online instead of purchasing in-person.
  • Fish in areas where you can spread out from other anglers. For example, fish from the bank instead of the pier.
  • When fishing or wading, a good rule of thumb is that if you can turn your rod perpendicular on all sides of you without hitting anyone, you are maintaining a safe distance.
  • If fishing alone is not an option, fish with members of your own household whom you know have been following the same safe practices as you, and always remember to let someone know where you are going and what time you plan to return.
  • If fishing with a child or children, ensure they do not wander off into the personal space of other anglers.
  • Avoid touching any high-use hard surface, such as a pier, without protection. Wear gloves if you can. If you don’t have latex, vinyl or nitrile gloves, work gloves are better than nothing. Anything that provides a barrier between your skin and a potentially contaminated surface can help.
  • It’s also a best practice to avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth. Clean your gear after using it and wash your hands for 20 seconds with soap and water after fishing and cleaning your fish.
  • Show off your catch on social media, not in person.
  • Refrain from carpooling. Sharing a vehicle with others could put you at higher risk.
  • Do not lend out or borrow equipment. If your friend, neighbor or colleague asks if they can borrow a fishing rod, don’t be scared to say “no”.

    Boating:
  • First and foremost, if you feel sick, stay home.
  • Only boat with those in your immediate household.
  • Do not crowd the boat ramp.
  • Avoid using the courtesy docks at boat ramps while other people are on them.
  • Do not beach your boat next to someone else.
  • Do not raft up with other boats - keep your distance on the water.
  • Maintain your distance at the fuel dock.
  • Avoid touching any high-use hard surface, such as boat ramp handrails or gas pump handles, without protection. Wear gloves if you can. If you don’t have latex, vinyl or nitrile gloves, work gloves or the use of a paper towel are better than nothing. Anything that provides a barrier between your skin and a contaminated surface can help.

    Hunting:
  • First and foremost, if you feel sick, stay home.
  • Purchase your hunting license online instead of purchasing in-person.
  • Hunt by yourself. If this is not an option, hunt with members of your own household whom you know have been following the same safe practices as you, and always remember to let someone know where you are going and what time you plan to return.
  • If in a hunting club, limit the time you spend in the club house while checking in.
  • Avoid touching any high-use hard surface, such as a gas pump handle, lock on a gate or door at your hunt club, without protection. Wear gloves if you can. If you don’t have latex, vinyl or nitrile gloves, work gloves or the use of a paper towel are better than nothing. Anything that provides a barrier between your skin and a contaminated surface can help.
  • Use hand sanitizer before and after handling your diaphragm calls and store your diaphragm calls in an alcohol-based mouthwash when not in use.
  • It is also a best practice to avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth. Clean your gear after using it and wash your hands for 20 seconds with soap and water after hunting and processing your game.
  • Show off your take on social media, not in person.
  • Do not lend out or borrow equipment. If your friend, neighbor or colleague ask if they can borrow a shotgun, turkey call, clothes or pop-up blind, don’t be scared to say “no”.

    There are still a lot of unknowns associated with COVID-19, but what is known is that wise anglers, boaters and hunters will become informed, plan ahead as much as possible, and follow the recommendations of their health care officials and providers. Sharing the experience with a buddy makes fishing and hunting so much more enjoyable, but in these times, two might be a crowd. So do your part and set the example for social distancing.
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