Late fall and early winter is a great time for hiking. The cool, crisp air is invigorating and keeps you from overheating. Also: No bugs!
But it’s also hunting season, which understandably makes many hikers wary about venturing into the woods.
While hiking and hunting might seem like conflicting interests, there’s no reason hikers and hunters can’t share the wilderness this time of year. It’s okay to hike during hunting season, just be smart about it and follow these tips.
Wear Bright Colors – Make sure you stand out from the natural colors of the wilderness and can be easily seen. Always wear bright colors – blaze orange is best – so hunters can easily distinguish you.
Hike Midday – Most animal activity takes place around dawn and dusk, so that’s also when most hunting happens. With the sun low, it’s harder for hunters to see at that time of day. It’s a good idea to avoid hiking at dawn or dusk and instead do midday hikes.
Stay on Trails – Hunting season is not the time to go bushwhacking. Hunters are more aware of the presence of hikers near trails and roads. They’re not expecting somebody in the middle of trailless woods. Stay on trails during hunting season.
Check Your Info – Find out what hunting is currently in season before you hit the trail. Hunting dates can change from year to year and depending on the species being hunted and weapon being used. Also, think about what areas are most heavily hunted. Sometimes it is just best to avoid an area for a little while.
Make Noise – If you hear hunters nearby or shots in the distance while you’re hiking, it’s okay to yell out and let them know you’re around. It’s also a good idea to make noise while you’re hiking by talking or whistling. Playing music on an iPod or smartphone is generally frowned upon in the wilderness, but, during hunting season, feel free to crank up the tunes.