Those long, quiet moments just before the sun peeks over the horizon; the echo of a deer call as it bounces back at you in the early twilight; that crowning moment when a trophy finally settles into your crosshairs — these are the memories that hunters wait all year to make during deer season.

The 2019 North Dakota deer season opens this Friday, Nov. 8, at noon (Central time) and runs through Sunday, Nov. 24. Legal shooting hours are 30 minutes before sunrise to 30 minutes after sunset.

Although every outdoorsman’s dream is to bag that big trophy they spotted last year, safety must always be prioritized above all else, especially when it comes to firearms and visibility in the field.

Major Ray Kaylor of the Stark County Sheriff’s Department adamantly cautions those who partake in this season’s harvest to be prudent both with their weapons and their surroundings.

“My advice is to make sure your weapon is unloaded when it needs to be and practice safe handling at all times,” Kaylor told the Press.

“Also, watch where you’re shooting and don’t do so close to buildings,” the major added.

Speaking of visibility on the range, Kaylor said: “Make sure you’re wearing orange (specifically, one must wear both a hat and outer garment above the waistline totaling at least 400 square inches of solid daylight blaze orange) and if you’re going to hunt on land, make sure you get permission from the landowner prior to doing so.”

Hunters may not harvest without a deer license in their possession. If you have lost yours or have not yet gotten one, call 701-328-6300 or visit the North Dakota Game and Fish Department website at gf.nd.gov.

According to a 2014 report that analyzed U.S. hospital records, on average approximately 2,400 firearm-related injuries involved in hunting were documented per year over a 15-year period of study. The majority of these injuries take place during the hunting months of October, November and December.

The report notes that in the larger context of hunting-related injuries, tree stand falls harm hunters at least 90 percent more often than firearms do.