Boaters, waterfowl hunters and anglers are reminded that the mandatory use of life jackets is required by the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission for canoes, kayaks and other similar small craft through April 30.
This requirement is for both craft at anchor or underway less than 16 feet in length and all canoes or kayaks on all Pennsylvania waters.
"Life jackets are the most important piece of safety equipment on a boat," PFBC Bureau of Boating and Outreach director Laurel Anders said. "According to Pennsylvania's boating accident reports, almost 80 percent of all boating fatalities happen to boaters not wearing a life jacket.
"A disproportionate number of the fatalities occur during the months of November through April. During these cold weather months, boaters are especially at risk due to the water temperature and the risk of sudden cold water immersion."
When a person is unexpectedly plunged into cold water below 70 degrees, the body's first response is usually an involuntary gasp.
Without a life jacket, a victim may inhale while under water and drown without coming back to the surface.
If an individual does make it back to the surface, his ability to swim is usually restricted because of a shortness of breath or hyperventilation. Individuals who plan to fish, boat or hunt from a boat this fall or winter are encouraged to follow these cold water survival safety tips:
Always wear a life jacket, even when not required. Many models also offer insulation from cold air. Read the life jacket's approval label to be sure it's appropriate for your boating activity.
Never boat alone.
Leave a float plan with family or friends and know the waters you plan to boat.
Bring a fully charged cell phone with you in case of emergency.
Wear clothing that still insulates when wet, such as fleece, polypropylene or other synthetics.
If about to fall into cold water, cover the mouth and nose with hands to reduce the likelihood of inhaling water.
If possible, stay with the boat. Get back into or climb on top of the boat.
While in cold water, do not remove clothing.
If you can't get out of the water, get into the Heat Escape Lessening Posture (HELP). In this position, individuals bring their knees to their chest and hug them with their arms.
Once out of the water, remove wet clothes and warm up as soon as possible.
Seek medical attention when necessary. Some effects of exposure to cold temperatures can be delayed.
Pennsylvania's official all-time ranking of trophy big-game animals has been updated for 2013 and is available for sale from the Pennsylvania Game Commission. Containing nearly 200 new entries, the "Pennsylvania Big Game Records" has a new feature with entries from the 2012-13 hunting seasons appearing in bold type to show where they rank on the all-time list.
"Hunters for years have turned to the "Pennsylvania Big Game Records" book as a valuable tool to show where trophy animals are being harvested," PGC big game records Bob D'Angelo said.
"This small change of bolding entries in the 2013 book gives prominence and context to the most-recent record harvests, and gives the whole book a fresh, new feel."
Nearly doubled are the entries for record bear in the archery category with 16 entries.
In the 2012 edition of the record book, nine black bears qualified for inclusion.
Also included in the 2013 edition is a depiction of the Arthur Young buck, painted by artist Ernest Durphy. Taken in 1830, the buck ranks 11th all-time in the typical firearm category.
No animal is documented in any record book anywhere in the world with a date earlier than Young's enormous McKean County whitetail.
A story of Young's historic hunt also will be featured in the December 2013 issue of "Pennsylvania Game News" magazine.
Copies of the 2013 Pennsylvania Big Game Records book are available from the Pennsylvania Game Commission online at The Outdoor Shop, http://www.pgc.state.pa.us/, or by calling 1-888-888-3459, or mailing remittance to: PA Game Commission, Dept. MS, 2001 Elmerton Ave., Harrisburg, Pa. 17110-9797.
Copies are $5, plus shipping and handling, and Pennsylvania residents also pay 6 percent sales tax.
Pennsylvania's Big Game Records Program is based on the Boone & Crockett Club's scoring program. This program was started as a joint project by the PGC and the Pennsylvania Outdoor Writers Association in 1965 to showcase the outstanding hunting opportunities available in this state.
Sunday's edition of "Experience The Outdoors," hosted by award-winning Pennsylvania Outdoor Writers Association member Doyle Dietz, at 7 a.m. on 1410-AM WLSH, at 9:30 a.m. on Magic 105.5-FM and on the Web at http://www.wmgh.com/ by clicking the link to the program, features Pennsylvania Game Commission big game record book editor Bob D'Angelo.
First Frontier Militia, the muzzleloader branch of Bowmanstown Rod and Gun Club, is holding a muzzleloader shoot Sunday, Nov. 10, beginning at 9 a.m., at the club grounds on Gun Club Road, off Route 248.