Hunting is a popular outdoor activity, and so is hiking. It’s unlikely that the two activities will ever coincide, but they are united by the calling of the forest.
Some people may not be comfortable sharing the same spaces with hunters. Although it is risky to hike during hunting season, it just requires extra caution and meticulous planning.
There are plenty of tips to keep in mind when it comes to hiking during this season.
1. Wear Brightly Colored Clothing
It may not be most people’s favorite, but orange is the best color to wear when hiking. Neon orange vests really stand out from nature, but red and neon pink can work too. The key is to not wear anything with earth tones, like black, brown, or green.
Wearing bright hats and backpack covers are also advised to be visible even from the back. The point of wearing brightly colored clothing is to be very noticeable to hunters in the area. It is a way to keep safe from being mistaken for something else.
For those planning to take their dog on the hike, dress them in the same manner. Make sure they are clearly visible from very far away. Most of all, keep them on a leash to avoid any unfortunate accidents.
2. Stay Alert, and Protect Yourself
Read the signs around the trail to remain safe. The signage relays important information and announcements to the public. Sometimes, hiking trails are closed for nonhunters during the peak of hunting season.
Pay attention to the area, and observe anything off. Some hikers happen to be shooting enthusiasts too, and it makes them feel safer to have their gun with them. They buy complete parts and accessories so they aren’t caught unprepared while hiking.
One can never be sure of the danger they may run into while hiking. As much as possible, stay away from any hunters who may be in the same area. Always stay close to your group in case of an emergency that needs to be addressed.
3. Be Loud but Still Respectful
Others may be a fan of quiet hiking, but during hunting season, it’s much better to be loud. Talking, laughing, and singing while hiking will alert hunters to the presence of hikers. Wildlife will also be deterred, so making noise is protection from twice the danger.
There’s still such a thing as being too noisy, so remember to be respectful of other hikers too. If you hear gunshots nearby, ensure that the hunter knows there are other people in the area.
Some people wear items that can make noise, like whistles or bells. These are also effective, and they can add another layer of noise to alert hunters.
4. Plan the Hike Wisely
Prime hunting times are usually at dawn and dusk. Avoid hiking during these times when the hunters are most likely very active. Wildlife is very active and visibility is low, so it’s not the best time for you.
Since it’s not so bright outside yet, making out colors and shapes is more difficult to do. Even brightly colored clothing may not help out so much.
Hiking during hunting season is a risk in itself. Choosing to hike during hunters’ prime hunting time is an even bigger risk. Plan the hike at a reasonable time to be on the safer side.
5. Stay on the Trail
Go hiking on well-established trails for additional safety. Hunters know to stay away from popular trails that most individuals go to. They stick to the woods with very little chances of people randomly appearing, because they need to be quiet.
Hikers should also remember to stay on the trail. It can be exciting to start an adventure and take the path less taken, but it’s dangerous. Going off the trail may be fun to try, but not during the hunting season.
For those who want to steer clear of hunters, there are various places where they can hike. National parks, conservation areas, and town and city parks often forbid hunting. These places are the safest options available.
Hiking during hunting season may be a bit risky, but that doesn’t mean it can’t still be enjoyable. Just remember to plan early on so nothing will be left forgotten, especially safety tips. Never be complacent and be well-informed at all times.
Written By Paul Jacobs