As firearm deer hunting season approaches, Michigan’s hunters are headed to the field to carry on the state’s rich hunting traditions. Conservation officers with the Michigan Department of Natural Resources are offering their top tips for a safe hunting experience.
“Hunting in Michigan is a time-honored activity rich in tradition, when families and friends come together to enjoy our great outdoors,” said Lt. Andrew Turner, who leads the DNR’s Recreation, Safety and Enforcement Section for the Law Enforcement Division. “Making your hunt a safe and responsible experience is key to having an enjoyable and memorable time. Our officers want everyone to have a safe and responsible experience.”
Turner said the top 10 safety tips for hunters to remember are:
- Treat every firearm as if it is loaded.
- Always point the muzzle in a safe direction.
- Be certain of your target, and what’s beyond it, before firing. Know the identifying features of the game you hunt. Make sure you have an adequate backstop – don’t shoot at a flat, hard surface or water.
- Keep your finger outside the trigger guard and off the trigger until ready to shoot.
- Don’t run, jump or climb with a loaded firearm. Unload a firearm before you climb a fence or tree or jump a ditch. Pull a firearm toward you by the butt, not the muzzle.
- Avoid alcoholic beverages before or during hunting. Also avoid mind- or behavior-altering medicines or drugs.
- All firearm deer hunters on any land during daylight hunting hours must wear a hat, cap, vest or jacket of hunter orange visible from all sides. All hunters, including archers, must comply during gun season.
- Camouflage hunter orange is legal provided 50 percent of the surface area is solid hunter orange. (Exceptions: waterfowl, crow, and wild turkey hunters, and bow hunters for deer during bow season).
- Always let someone know where you are hunting and when you plan on returning. This information helps conservation officers and others locate you if you get lost.
- Carry your cell phone into the woods. Remember to turn your ringer off or set your phone to vibrate rather than ring. Your cellp hone emits a signal that can help rescuers locate you when you are lost. Make sure before you leave for the woods each day that your phone is fully charged. If you have a smart phone, download a compass and flashlight app – there are many versions of these apps that are free to download in the iPhone App Store or on Google Play for Android. Also, program the DNR’s Report All Poaching (RAP) Line in your phone contacts – 1-800-292-7800 – so you can alert conservation officers to any natural resources violations you witness while hunting.
“These simple, common sense tips can prevent hunting accidents and save lives,” said Turner. “We encourage all sportsmen and women to follow these guidelines when enjoying the great outdoors in our state.”
For more information about hunting in Michigan, visit www.michigan.gov/hunting.
Your smartphone costs a fortune in monthly fees. But there are new ways to get unlimited voice calling and significantly decrease the number of cell voice minutes you need. So pull out your smartphone, and we’ll fire up a few tools to potentially save you hundreds of dollars on your cell phone bill this year.
Wi-Fi Calling on Cell Phones Explained
Your cell phone can communicate in four distinct ways: voice calls, texts, data over cell networks, and data over Wi-Fi. What many people don’t realize is that connecting via Wi-Fi doesn’t count at all against your cell phone bill. So how can you exploit this loophole to cut down on your overall cell phone bill?
Making voice calls on you computer over the Internet is nothing new; but you can now combine your cell phone with Wi-Fi to make calls for free on your mobile devices. This could enable you to talk over Wi-Fi and downgrade your cell service to the cheapest plan available – one with fewer voice minutes than you’re currently paying for.
Facebook recently announced that iPhone users who have the Facebook Messenger app installed can now make free phone calls to other iPhones users through the app. You’ll be alerted to an incoming call with a Facebook notification rather than with your phone’s ringtone, but if you have a Facebook friend with an iPhone whom you call a lot, this could help you conserve cell minutes.
Facebook is just the latest in a long line of upstarts taking aim at the established cell service market, like Line2 and Viber, but the biggest player is Skype. Their mobile app lets you make free Skype calls to anyone in the world with a free Skype account. But if you want to call any phone number in the US or Canada, whether or not the person you’re calling has a Skype account, you can pay $3 a month for this unlimited privilege. While $3 a month isn’t free, it could save you more than that on your cell service bill. Calling is simple: just fire up the app and dial the number.
Google offers a comprehensive service called Google Voice. With it, you get one unified phone number that rings on your cell or your landline, plus tons of cool features like transcribing your voicemail – and it makes calls over Wi-Fi. But beware: When you use Google Voice to make calls from your cell phone, it still counts against your cell phone minutes, unless you use an additional app like GrooVe IP or Sipdroid in conjunction with your Google Voice account. This combination will give you completely free Wi-Fi calling that doesn’t count against your minutes.
T-Mobile and Bobsled
T-Mobile has embraced free Wi-Fi calling whole hog. They provide an app called Bobsled to make free calls over Wi-Fi. You can call any US number. It works from any Android or Apple iOS device – not just phones, but computers and tablets as well. Surprisingly, this free service from T-Mobile does not even require you to be a T-Mobile customer; it works with any carrier. As of right now there are over 2 million Bobsled users, and T-Mobile says 95% of them aren’t T-Mobile subscribers For this reason, Bobsled is my number one pick for best way to make free WiFi calls on your smartphone.
But How’s the Quality?
I’ve tested Wi-Fi calling in a number of circumstances, and generally, the quality is pretty good – sometimes I’m aware of a slight delay, and some tinny audio quality, but overall comparable to what I get using my cell phone to make calls in the traditional way. And remember, making calls over Wi-Fi isn’t just about saving a few bucks by downgrading to a cheaper plan. Many people have poor cell reception in the places they use it most – in their own homes or at work – places where they might have an excellent Wi-Fi signal. If this is true for you, you might actually get better quality by making your voice calls using Wi-Fi.