Hunters should remember to stay safe in the field this fall.

That means using hunter orange, following firearm rules and proper preparation, said Jackson Ellis, Nebraska’s hunter education coordinator.

Ellis said that since the beginning of hunter education and hunter orange requirements in the mid-1970s, accidental shootings have decreased dramatically. A 2010 report by the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife stated that 81 percent of victims in vision-related hunting incidents were not wearing hunter orange.

“Make sure to wear blaze orange when legally required, but also when not mandated, when hunting game such as pheasants, quail, grouse, squirrel and rabbit,” Ellis said.

Nearly all firearm incidents can be prevented by following four rules:

» Control the muzzle, ensuring that a firearm never is pointed at anything you do not want to destroy.

» Keep your finger out of the trigger guard and away from the trigger until you are ready to shoot.

» Treat every firearm as if it is loaded.

» Be sure of your target, and what is beyond it.

Ellis said hunters should create a plan and stick to it. “Tell someone where you plan to hunt, when you will leave and when you plan to return,” he said.

He also said it is important to prepare for unexpected changes in weather by having proper clothing.

Center offers sensory backpacks

GERING, Neb. — A new offering at the Wildcat Hills Nature Center has special meaning to the person who implemented it. It is a new checkout program for sensory backpacks.

Amanda Filipi, the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission outdoor education specialist who is based at the center, said she learned of sensory backpacks after her nephew was diagnosed on the autism spectrum.

“I read about the sensory backpacks popping up in several different places across the nation, like museums and zoos,” she said. “I figure, why not our nature center?”

The backpacks’ contents are designed to both stimulate the senses and serve as a calming kit for youth who face anxiety during field trips and other busy events at the center. They include sunglasses, noise dampening earmuffs, books and a variety of sensory toys. The backpacks complement a number of quiet spaces that have been designated in the building.

While leading hundreds of children on field trips and programs each year, Filipi sometimes encounters children who might benefit from such an offering. She compiled the materials for the backpacks and made them available for checkout free of charge at the center’s front desk.

“I want to make sure all of our visitors feel welcome at our center or our programs, including my nephew,” she said.

Calendar

SUNDAY

» Fall turkey hunting season opens

» Final day of Take ’em Fishing promotion

» Monarchs, Milkweed and Migration, Lake McConaughy SRA, Ogallala

MONDAY

» Final day of participation in and postmark deadline for the Great Park Pursuit

TUESDAY

» Learn to Hunt workshop, introduction to hunting, Nebraska Game and Parks Outdoor Education Center, Lincoln

SATURDAY

» Ranch Life 1860s, Rock Creek Station SHP, Fairbury

» Firearm bull elk season opens

» Antlerless elk season opens

» Muzzleloader antelope season opens

» 15th Annual Missouri River Outdoor Expo, Ponca SP, Ponca

To share your trophy picture or calendar item, send it to Outdoor Sports, World-Herald Sports Dept., 1314 Douglas St., Suite 700, Omaha, NE 68102 or email the photo and details to outdoors@owh.com. A daytime or cellphone number must be included.

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