When it comes to safety, the old adage is true: An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Following are tips all waterfowl hunters should follow to avert problems afield.

  1. Always carry a waterproof fire-starting kit in a pocket. If you get wet, being able to start a fire is crucial to staving off hypothermia.

  2. Have your boat, motor, and trailer serviced before the season starts. Make sure everything mechanical is in good running order and that batteries are at full charge.

  3. Always wear a certified personal flotation device when running or paddling a boat.

  4. Never go hunting without telling somebody where you're going and when you expect to return.

  5. Stock your boat or ATV box with safety gear: survival rations, rope, flare gun, space blanket, hand axe, whistle, etc.

  6. Attach a small compass to your parka via pin or string. This way, it'll always be there when you need it.

  7. Never attempt to run an overloaded boat. If hunting on a large river or lake, use a boat that's big enough to handle rough water.

  8. Treat every gun as if it's loaded, even when you're sure it's not.

  9. Before each hunt, open your gun's action and check the muzzle for obstructions.

  10. Carry a cell phone in a waterproof plastic bag when hunting. Cell phone service is available in most places around the country. If an emergency arises, you can call for help.