HAMPDEN, MA (WGGB/WSHM) -- Shotgun deer hunting season began today in the Baystate.

Many hunters prefer a snowy day like today, making deer easier to track. A day like today is also great for those who like to snowshoe.

Hampden Police are reminding both hunters and hikers to be on alert for each other.

Shotgun deer hunting season is underway. Hampden is a popular destination for many hunters.

Sgt. Michael Cooney told Western Mass News, hunters must not only have a license, but they must also have permission.)

"Hampden there are some wooded areas and fields that are ideal for hunting deer. We do have a lot of sportsmen who come out here, who live here and come out and hunt," Sgt. Cooney said.

Even during our interview, shotgun fires in the middle of the interview.

We heard the gunfire of hunters.

"In the town of Hampden there is a bylaw where people need to get permission from the landowner to hunt that property and they have to have written permission," Sgt. Cooney explained.

The rules also say no discharging of firearms within 500 feet of a dwelling and 150 feet of a roadway. Which, Sgt. Cooney said, is unfortunately not always the case.

"The challenges would be safety. 99% of sportsmen are ethical hunters but there's always that 1% who do not hunt safety and those are the people you need to be aware of," Sgt. Cooney noted.

Especially, he said, if you're out for a walk, hike, snowshoe, or anything outdoors during hunting season, make sure you can be seen.

"Some basic things that you have to do is wear blaze orange or high visibility yellow just so if a hunter sees that movement out there in the woods they'll see that blaze orange or yellow and know that that's a human," Sgt. Cooney said.

Dogs should also wear high visibility gear. While incidents are rare, injuries, even fatalities during hunting season are a reality. Police ask the public to be vigilant.

"If you're at home, or driving through town and see hunters out in the road or something just doesn't seem right, contact police its no bother, we'll investigate. 99% of the time is not an issue but sometimes it is so it's worth a call to us," Sgt. Cooney said.

If a hunter is caught on land without permission, they will be hit with a $100 fine.

Copyright 2019 Western Mass News (Meredith Corporation).  All rights reserved.

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