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Outdoor Briefs


Holiday gifts should
include training

The holiday season once again has brought about the busy hustle of shoppers searching for that perfect gift that an acquaintance or family member will love. We see the eagerness in others to try new things.

Often those new things include the sports of hunting and recreational shooting, which may mean making them a gift of a new firearm. Along with that new firearm, why not give them the gift of safety as well?

“Whether they plan on hunting, participating in the recreational shooting sports or both, a good place to start is with a hunter education class. Yes, students learn about hunting safety and outdoor ethics, but most of the class focuses on firearms safety,” said Doug Nielsen, conservation education supervisor for the Nevada Department of Wildlife. “Attending a hunter education class with a friend or family member, either as a refresher or for the first time, is a great way to build a relationship with the outdoors and a better understanding of wildlife.”

In Nevada, hunter education is required for any person born after Jan. 1, 1960, who wishes to purchases a hunting license. The hunter education class is made up of two components. One is a home study component that requires students to complete a workbook before arriving at the class. Information needed to complete it is found in a field guide that comes with the workbook. The second component is the actual in-class section of the course and involves hands-on training exercises in addition to classroom discussion. Volunteer instructors teach safe firearm handling, game management and logical decision making.

“Knowing what should and should not be done with firearms when around them is an education that will last a lifetime. It’s the all important step in accident prevention,” Nielsen said.

More information about Nevada’s hunter education program can be found online at the NDOW website, www.ndow.org. The cost is $5 at the door.


Ice fishing opportunities
are on the way soon

It’s time to get those rods ready for an ice fishing adventure at reservoirs in central and northern Nevada. Though ice conditions are not quite safe in most locations, ice anglers can start readying their gear for outings to destinations like Eagle Valley Reservoir, Echo Canyon Reservoir and the reservoirs at Kirch Wildlife Management Area.

“Believe it or not, we do have a cadre of dedicated ice anglers here in the Silver State,” said Doug Nielsen, conservation educator for the Nevada Department of Wildlife. “It’s hard to explain the attraction to people who have never fished the hard water, but it can be very fun. One key to having a good time is dressing in warm layers so you can adjust to changing conditions and temperatures.”

To fish through the ice, you will first need a hole through which to drop your bait and then to reel in your catch. In Nevada, that hole can be no larger than 10 inches in diameter, and all bag limits and other regulations still apply. No special equipment is necessary. A standard rod will work fine.

Though ice fishing is a fun activity, it can turn to tragedy in an instant. Before venturing onto the ice, it’s important to know its condition and how thick it is. Something else to keep in mind is that just because ice is thick enough to fish at one end of the reservoir, doesn’t mean it is at the other. If the ice is clear blue and consistently more than 4 inches thick, it can support adults safely. If there are dark areas of ice and snow with slush, it is probably too thin. Perhaps this saying can help, “Thick and blue, tried and true. Thin and crispy, way too risky.”

In addition, it’s always a good idea to use the buddy system. Go with someone else. That way you each have someone available to help if you fall through the ice or have other problems.

Since there is always the chance of breaking through the ice, it is recommended that anglers and others carry ice claws made by using four- to six-inch wooden dowels with a nail inserted in the end. This will enable them to pull themselves from the ice should they fall in. Connect the two claws with a string, and they can be worn around the neck for easy access should an emergency occur.

If you were to fall through the ice, turn and face the direction you came from, use the ice claws to grab the ice. Pull with your arms and kick with your feet to climb out of the hole. Once out, don’t stand up but roll a few yards away from where you fell in. If you are trying to help someone who’s fallen through, don’t go to the area to grab the victim. Use a rope, jumper cables or a fishing rod from a safe distance to pull them out.

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