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Minnesota duck hunting season opens Saturday

October 02, 2010 at 10:38 PM

ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — As Minnesota duck hunters prepared for Saturday’s season opener, safety experts were reminding them to pack something that could save their lives.

Tim Smalley is the boating safety specialist with the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources. He says the lack of life jackets is still one of the most common law violations among waterfowl hunters. And he says it’s the most common cause of duck hunter deaths — more frequent than gun accidents.

Thirteen duck hunters have drowned in boating accidents since Minnesota made life jackets mandatory in 1988. But that compares with three to six per season before.

Last year, a 60-year-old hunter, who wasn’t wearing a life jacket, capsized in a 10-foot john boat and drowned in 5 feet of water in Rat Lake in Becker County.

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