Experts Offer Duck Hunting Safety Tips In Wake Of Boater’s Death

JOHNSON COUNTY (KFSM) -- A young man died in a duck hunting accident over the weekend after his boat overturned. The National Weather Service issued a wind advisory for small crafts, but Chase Standridge still took his boat out at the Cabin Creek Recreational Area in Knoxville.

Two 911 calls came in shortly after 2 p.m. Saturday reporting a boater in danger. First responders found his overturned boat and dog, but did not find Standridge. They called the search off after dark Saturday, and Arkansas Game and Fish Commission recovered his body Sunday night.

Johnson County coroner Pam Cogan said Standridge was not wearing a life jacket, something experts said was a fatal mistake.

"Obviously, a life jacket would've probably saved his life," said Jerry Knittig, owner of the Tackle Box in Fort Smith.

Knittig as been a duck hunter for most of his life.

"One of the things for sure, you have to watch the weather," he said. "Obviously, the weather was terrible Saturday."

Standridge also went hunting alone.

"You don't want to go by yourself," Knittig said. "You always want to take somebody."

If you are on a boat that starts to capsize, it's important to get your waders off as they can quickly fill up with water, causing you to sink.

Steve Dunlap, regional educator for the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission said it's critical to stay with your boat if you fall into the water.

"The other thing you should worry about is hypothermia," Dunlap said. "Even on a day like today when it's in the 60s, you can still get hypothermia if you are wet."

Anyone born after 1986 is required to take a boating education course. The courses are about six hours long and free online.