WV Wildlife: ATV & UTV Hunting Safety

Excessive speed is probably the most common cause of ATV and UTV accidents. (WCHS/WVAH)

It's a common sound across our Appalachian Mountains.

But it's more than just that--it's a way of life.

Using an ATV or UTV simply makes it easier to travel our rugged terrain, especially if you're hunting--but it doesn't come without risk.

"It's not designed for people to be road hunting with them. They're designed to get you to a point to where you can hunt", said Ronnie Runyon, a Natural Resources Police Officer with the West Virginia Division of Natural Resources.

Natural Resources Police Officers patrol the woods statewide to make sure that people are riding safely--and if they aren't, violations are handed down.

"Most of the firearms season that we get (violations) is loaded guns in vehicles--that's one of the big ones. Sometimes, you'll get some license violations, failure to field tag, failure to check their game", said Runyon.

The most obvious danger with operating one of these machines? Driving too fast, or trying too steep of a hillside.

"Wear a helmet, because that's going to protect your head; you have no protection if you roll that thing. If you get thrown out of the UTV, the UTV could crush you".

Runyon also says that you should make sure you have plenty of fuel before you hit the trails, bring any medication that you may need with you--and let someone know where you're going.

And don't forget the right clothing.

"During any deer rifle firearm season, you have to have 400 square inches of orange. Basically, it would be a vest and a hat. I always try to tell people to have like an orange toboggan, or an orange hat--just so your head might be the first thing that crests the point of a ridge", said Runyon.

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