Hunters go missing in the Black Hills yearly, this is how hunters can stay safe

RAPID CITY, S.D. — Hunting season is in full swing and the Pennington County Sheriff’s Office (PCSO), is reminding hunters to go prepared.

No matter how experienced the hunter is, just about anyone can get lost in the vastness of the Black Hills.

It’s best to be over-prepared than not prepared at all. Hunters should bring several survival items when taking on the hills.

The first one being proper communication and navigation devices, such as GPS’ and phones.

“There’s apps on a cell phone, so always take your cell phone with you as well,” said Lt. Dustin Morrison of the Pennington County Sheriff’s Office. “Even if you don’t have cell service, you may find in some of those areas that you can get to the higher elevations and make a call one, and two, there’s apps on these phones that you don’t need cell service to be able to utilize; to mark your vehicle, to mark a trail, to mark where you’re at.”

Aside from making sure you have something to track your location, it’s also important to have bright clothing on hand, so if you do get lost, you are easy to spot.

“When you go out you should always dress in layers first and foremost,” Morrison said. “The weather could be nice in the morning and you could be in a foot of snow later that evening. Make sure you take plenty of food, plenty of water, before you head out for the day. If you have any medications that you’re on, I suggest taking a couple of days supply cause’ you just never know what you might run into out there.”

Bright markers are also helpful in tracking your steps, setting the markers down every few yards can be a useful tool if you get lost.

Lastly, whether going in a group or alone, it’s always important to share your location.

“Talk to a family member, a neighbor, whatnot; let them know the area that you’re going, Morrison said. “Let them know when you’re supposed to be back and if you don’t quite make it back to the time that was set, then they know to call because you may have gotten lost out there.”

If you find yourself lost, try to find cell service and call authorities. From there it’s essential to stay in the spot where you called from because authorities can track your location based on the location of the call.

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