Union Pacific Railroad said Monday hunters should avoid railroad property this season, because there is the danger of being hit by a train.
The Omaha-based operator of the nation's largest railroad network said wildlife migrate and feed along the edges of freshly harvested fields - frequently found near train tracks - making them prime hunting spots.
“With many fields adjacent to Union Pacific tracks, hunters find it very tempting to hunt on or near the tracks,” Union Pacific said in a statement. “Too many people have been injured or killed trespassing on railroad property over the years. As part of our UP CARES public safety initiative, we want to remind hunters that walking on or near railroad tracks is extremely dangerous because you never know when a train will come along.”
The company said it can take a mile or more to stop a train, and, by the time a locomotive engineer sees someone on the track, it can be too late. Also, Union Pacific said, locomotives and rail cars overhang the tracks by at least three feet on either side of the rail, meaning people need to be farther than that from the edge of the rails to ensure a margin of safety.
Last year, Union Pacific said, 433 people died and 411 were injured while trespassing on railroad property throughout the United States, according to the Federal Railroad Administration.
The company also said people who enter railroad property can be arrested for trespassing and could serve jail time and be ordered to pay fines.