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St Paul (KROC AM News) - The Minnesota DNR has released details about two recent close calls involving duck hunters to stress the importance of wearing life jackets.

The DNR says in both situations, “ hunters found themselves in life-or-death struggles after their duck boats capsized.”

In one incident, the hunter hung on to his boat after falling into the cold water and yelled for help for more than two hours before he was rescued. The DNR says that incident happened in Crow Wing County. The other close call happened in Itasca County. That hunter was in 55-degree water for about 20 minutes before he was rescued by members of his hunting party.

The DNR says say anyone who boats during the cold-water season should wear a life jacket (foam is better than inflatable), file a float plan so other people know where they’re going and when they plan to return, carry a communications device to call for help, and understand how they can increase their odds of surviving a fall into cold water.

The DNR says 2020 has been a deadly year for Minnesota boaters as 15 people have died so far, the highest number in more than a decade.

“Since this spring, we’ve seen more people participating in outdoor activities than usual, and that has continued into the fall,” said Rodmen Smith, director of the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources Enforcement Division. “Proper precautions are absolutely critical on the water this time of year. Anyone who goes out must be prepared to prevent a mishap from turning into a tragedy.”

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