10 Ways to Be Safe When Hiking During Hunting Season
Hunting and hiking have gained massive popularity as great outdoor activities. However, a challenge arises in that one poses a danger to the other. It is highly likely for a hiker in the woods to be mistaken for a hunter’s target. Another bone of contention is that both activities are most enjoyable at almost the same time. This article is therefore geared to bring some education to hikers. The goal in mind is to see to it that hikers and hunters can coexist.
#1- Wear bright colors
When out hiking in the woods, it is perhaps a good idea to be as noticeable as possible. Avoid wearing dull colors; earth toned green and animal colored clothing. You want to be as conspicuous as possible to avoid being mistaken for game. Therefore, it is advised that hikers dress in neon orange as it stands out. An orange vest, hat or hunting backpack cover will ensure that you catch a hunter’s glimpse from afar.
#2- Know the hunting seasons
In every hunting state, you will find the relevant details with the state agency. Be it the dates for hunting deer, bear, waterfowl or other game. Seasons are also different for bow hunting and firearms. For instance, wild turkey shooting season comes in the spring. Hikers should also be on the alert during the white-tailed deer season in autumn.
#3- Announce your presence
Hiking is not one of those activities you want to carry out quietly. Wearing a bell, whistling, singing, engaging in conversation or making noise, will let the hunters know when you are somewhere nearby. Animals like the bear will also steer far from you when they hear the sound. In mountain basins, sound travels fast and since hunters are keenly listening for any sounds, they will be warned. You should also raise your voice when you hear shooting.
#4- Protect your dog
In case you love bringing Fido for hikes, bear in mind that a hunter may easily confuse him for a coyote. Hence, it is prudent to prevent him from wandering off by keeping him on a close leash. Dressing your adorable furry baby in orange is also a good precaution.
#5- Be on the lookout for signage
Signs are valuable media when you are out hiking. Some states prohibit hunting near hiking trails. In some states where such rules may not exist, such trails are usually closed to non-hunters during the season.
#6- Stay on the trail
When on a hike, you want to stick to the defined path. This is not the time to go geo-coaching. Hunters will be looking for targets in more wooded areas.
#7- Know the times when animals are most active
It is not advisable to go hiking at dawn and dusk. First, this is the time when animals like the deer are most active making it a prime hunting time. What makes it more dangerous is the fact that the hunter’s vision is a little impaired making it difficult for him to make out figures and colors in the dark. If you are out at this time, ensure that you have with you a flashlight or a headlamp.
#8- Be informed of where hunting is allowed
A quick phone call to the state agency can give you some basic information about the places where hunting is and isn’t allowed. With this information, you can decide on where to hike accordingly. Hunting is not allowed in most parks, especially national park units. Additionally, some states prohibit hunting on Sundays. This is also another safe option for hiking.
#9- Head for higher ground
One significant advantage of high ground is that is not a favorable hunting ground. Why? At high altitudes, you will rarely find animals. You can’t also overlook the fact that the view from up there is spectacular.
#10- Do not hike alone
Although coming in at the last point, you may even consider it as the most important. Walk as a group, or make sure you take a partner with you when going out. Accidents happen at times and in such cases, someone can offer you help or go for assistance.
In some states, hunters are required to undergo some education before issuance of their licenses in a bid to reduce hunting related accidents. These 10 safety tips are meant to ensure that you as a hiker are also in the safety zone to avoid taking chances.
Author Bio: Kevin Steffey is an avid hunter and freelance writer. He loves spending time in the field with his rifle more than almost anything else, and occupies his off-time discussing deer and their habits online. He is a founder at www.deerhuntingfield.com