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.