With today's beautiful weather, all of the "Johnny come lately's" that forgot that November 15 is still the opening day for firearm deer season, are probably out sighting in their shotguns and rifles. That or they're milling over the sparse selection of phony 'Doe Pee" that the local big box stores have left over from last year. Oh! Hell, let's not forget the long line looking at the DNR guide to see what license they need while the poor clerk tries to decipher what code to enter. Yup, it's firearm deer season in Michigan.

So here's a few tips to remember. Although they seem basic, some hunters new and seasoned, seem to forget the essentials from time to time.

1) "Treat every firearm as if it were loaded!" Doing this will all but eliminate serious injury.

2) "Identify your target before pulling the trigger!" Again, the same results as tip number one can be achieved by doing this.

3) "Wear hunters orange!" Since it's inception, blaze or hunter's orange has been mandatory during the firearm deer season. Even if you are hunting with a bow, the rule applies to all hunting during this season. That and common sense dictates that you wear it.

4) "If you live in the core areas affected by CWD in Michigan, YOU MUST GET YOUR DEER CHECKED!"  With the emergence of Chronic Wasting Disease in Michigan, the MI DNR is requesting that you get your deer check at one of the Deer Check Stations around the state. There are ways to do this and still keep your trophy in tact for mounting. Check with the MI DNR or your preferred taxidermist as to the correct procedure to follow. More details about the disease can be found on their website at:  http://www.michigan.gov/emergingdiseases/0,4579,7-186-76711_78204---,00.html

5) Don't go at it alone! Whenever possible, never hunt alone. At least let someone know where you are. Accidents can happen anywhere. Falling out of a treestand or overexertion from dragging out a deer can lead to injury or even a a heart attack. Be safe and have fun!