Hiking and Playing in the Outdoors During Hunting Season: How to Keep Yourself and Your Pets Safe

hiker hunterHunters and hikers can coexist peacefully during hunting season. All it takes is a bit of understanding and respect on both sides.

If you’re a hiker, chances are hunting isn’t exactly on your radar. If you’re a hunter, however, hikers and other people who are recreating while you’re trying to fill your tags are ever-present in your mind for safety purposes.

Here’s how both parties can stay safe and friendly.

Know the Area Well

With the internet at your disposal, there’s not much you can’t discover by researching. For hikers and hunters during hunting season, it can be an invaluable resource to determine where to go and what precautions to take.

For Hikers:

If you’re planning to hit the trails, check to see if and when hunting is allowed in the area. Try to avoid areas where hunting is heavy during sunrise and sunset when visibility to low. Be courteous when you encounter hunters.

For Hunters:

Check to see if any popular hiking trails run through your unit. Keep an eye out for hikers and others recreating in the outdoors. Be courteous if you encounter any non-hunters.

Stay Visible

Different states have regulations for hunters and the types of colors and clothing they’re required to wear during specific seasons. However, for hikers who stray into hunting units, there are no specific regulations.

That said, if you plan to hike, snowshoe, or backcountry ski during hunting season, make sure you are visible. Where bright colors and bright hats. Orange and hot pink will catch hunters’ attention because these are regulation hunting colors in most states.

Leash Your Pets

Playing with your pet in the great outdoors is a joy but it can be dangerous during hunting season. Though very unlikely, your dog could be mistaken for an animal by a hunter. Not to mention, if your dog is prey-driven, they might chase away elk, moose, or other animals that hunters are trying to track.

Best practice when hiking with your animal during hunting season is to keep them leashed or to hike off-leash where hunting is not taking place.

Be Respectful

For Hikers:

Regardless of your views on legal hunting, understand that hunters are out pursuing their passion in the wilderness just like you. If you see one, say hello and look out for one another. Also, keep in mind that hunters have paid a lot of money and invested considerable time to pursue their game. Try to interfere as little as possible.

For Hunters:

Understand that hikers have just as much right to be in the wilderness as you do, in fact they may even be an asset since avid hikers often know their areas extremely well and can tell you where the animals might be. Talk to them, let them know if there are any other hunters in the area, and be courteous always.