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Hunting Season During COVID-19

Published on Nov. 12, 2020

Hunting season is expected to be more packed this year than in prior seasons. While hunters are used to facing potential hazards, this year’s list includes other considerations beyond firearm safety. COVID-19 cases are on the rise in northern Michigan, and the 2020 hunting season could be riskier than ever without the right precautions. Familiarizing yourself with the new safety policies and suggestions can arm you and fellow hunters for an enjoyable and safe hunting experience that doesn’t lead to illness.

Planning Ahead

If you’re hunting with people outside your immediate household, think about the steps you can take to reduce the risk of spreading and getting COVID. Steps to consider: 

munson healthcare deer hunting during covid-19 pandemic
  • Avoid sharing overnight lodging accommodations if you’re hunting with others outside your household.
  • Use your debit or credit card to avoid contact with paper money, which is notorious for germs.  
  • Assemble an on-the-go sanitizing kit that includes hand sanitizer (with at least 60% alcohol), disinfectant for wiping down surfaces that may not be routinely sanitized such as picnic tables, and disposable gloves that can minimize your risk touching surfaces that may contain the virus.
  • If you’re not hunting solo, plan evening activities that allow your group to enjoy each other’s company while keeping a safe distance from one another.
  • If you are using a guide service, check ahead of time to make sure you bring the right items – especially your own eye and ear protection, as those items will not be provided and should not be shared.

Before You Head Out

Do a health check. Pay close attention to how you are feeling leading up your hunt. If you have any respiratory symptoms, such as a runny nose, congestion, shortness of breath, or sore throat, don’t ignore the possibility that these could be COVID-19 symptoms. Contact your doctor to see if you should be tested for COVID-19. If you do not have any primary care providers, please call one of the following resources below.

Munson Healthcare COVID-19 Hotline with Ask-a-Nurse Option: 231-935-0951 (available Monday – Sunday, 8 am - 5 pm).

Michigan’s COVID-19 Hotline: 888-535-6136 (available Monday – Friday, 8 am - 5 pm, except for state holidays).

Don’t forget your sanitizing supplies. At a minimum, aim to keep a clean pair of disposable gloves, pocket-size sanitizer wipes, and a bottle of hand sanitizer on you at all times. hunting season during covid-19 pandemic munson healthcare

Don’t forget your mask...and a few extras. Wearing a mask makes a difference. Even if you plan to hunt alone, the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services’ recent Gatherings and Face Mask Order (in effect as of Nov 2, 2020) requires mask-wearing if two or more people are in an indoor public space. This includes restrooms, shower facilities, visitor centers, and contact station. Please don’t risk the health of yourself and others—or the fine of up to $1,000.

Hunting with family or friends outside of your household? Don’t gamble, even outdoors. With COVID-19 cases on the rise and the arrival of flu season, it’s better to play it safe than get sick and/or expose others, especially those who are more vulnerable to severe symptoms and complications.

Bring plenty of water. Remember that drinking fountains are closed, so if you’ve relied on them as a water source in past seasons, you’ll need your own source of water this year.

Review the above precautions with junior hunters. If you’re taking a child along with you, make sure he/she is also equipped with sanitizing essentials and continue to reiterate the importance of hand cleansing, mask-wearing, and other precautions as part of your safety lessons.

While You're Hunting

Set the example. As a hunter, safety has likely always been a paramount part of your sport. This year, it’s more important than ever to bring you’re A-game in the safety department. Don’t be afraid to voice your concerns to others in your party – it’s not worth putting your health at risk.  Set some ground rules with fellow hunters that help everyone in your group honor physical distancing of six or more feet and wear masks during times when distancing is not possible. mask up hunting pandemic covid-19 munson healthcare

Bring your patience. Due to building and room capacities this year, delays may be common. Stay calm and avoid the urge to sidestep rules at this risk of exposing yourself and other sportsmen. 

Follow the capacity and safety guidelines. Keep on the lookout for additional signage displaying newly added guidelines and encourage others around you to do the same.

Don’t forget to sanitize, sanitize, sanitize. Remember to use your hand sanitizer (with 60% or more alcohol) after contact with commonly touched surfaces like handrails, doors, and bathroom facilities.