Tips to Come Home Safe From a Waterfowl Hunt

It’s cold. It’s wet. It’s remote. The basic elements that create ideal waterfowl hunting conditions also have a downside. Last duck season in Texas, six hunters drowned; hypothermia was a contributing factor. These fatalities are tragic, disturbing reminders of the risks involved, according to TPWD Hunter Education Coordinator Steve Hall, and a call to action for all duck hunters to be prepared.

These Safety Tips and Techniques Can Help Ensure You Return Home Alive

  • Hunt, boat and fish with others and file a “float plan” with another responsible adult
  • Wear a U.S. Coast Guard-approved life jacket (Type 1 may be best for waterfowl hunters)
  • Carry emergency signaling devices in the boat (e.g., aerial) and on your life jacket (e.g., sound or whistle)
  • Wear a wading or wader belt to help trap air if chest waders go below water level
  • Bend the legs to trap air immediately after falling into deep water (over the level of the waders)
  • Stay calm despite a possible “gasping reflex” that typically occurs in cold water
  • Stay with the boat and allow waders filled with air and/or water to serve as insulator to cold water; use your sound device to signal other boats