Hunting, fishing and boating have become major outlets for fun and relaxation in these tough days of COVID-19. The fresh air, the woods and the camaraderie make those sports so popular.
But, as much as they are special, they come with some stay-safe rules for participants to follow because the pandemic has been unrelenting and on the rise again across most of the nation.
The Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Commission is offering safety tips to consider as we get into the holiday season and the expectation of increased hunting, fishing and boating.
- For fishing, hunting and boating, avoid touching any high-use hard surface, such as boat ramp handrails or gas pump handles, without protection. Wear gloves if you can. Work gloves or paper towels are better than nothing. Anything that provides a barrier between your skin and a contaminated surface can help.
- Before you start out, know the symptoms for COVID-19: Cough, shortness of breath or difficulty breathing, fatigue, muscle and body aches, headache, new loss of taste or smell, sore throat, congestion or running nose, nausea or vomiting, diarrhea.
- If you feel sick, stay home.
- Wear masks when indoors with non-household members. Wear masks outdoors when you can’t stay 6 feet apart.
- Try to maintain social distancing – keep 6 feet between yourself and any hunter or angler not in your close family.
- Fish in areas where you can spread out from other anglers.
- When fishing or wading, if you can turn your rod perpendicular on all sides without hitting anyone, you are maintaining a safe distance.
- If fishing with a child or children, make sure they don’t wander off into the personal space of other anglers.
- Clean your gear after using it, and wash your hands for 20 seconds with soap and water after fishing and cleaning your fish.
- Keep your fishing and hunting groups small. The fewer the better.
- Large deer camp groups are discouraged. Extended physical or close contact with others increases the risk of transmission of the virus.
- If you are in a hunting club, limit the time you spend in the clubhouse while checking in.
- Use hand sanitizer before and after handling your diaphragm calls and store your diaphragm calls in an alcohol-based mouthwash when not in use.
- Wash your hands frequently or use hand sanitizer that has at least 60% alcohol.
- 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.
- Lastly, all hunters and anglers please leave the land and water you travel clean.
From the Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Commission.