Sunday, December 09, 2007

Hiking during hunting season

Most of my fall hiking is done during open hunting season of some kind, bear opens 1 September in many places and bow season opens about the same time. I usually don't take much notice of hunting season, often I don't know whether it is open season where I'm hiking or not. Still, I do make some changes when the most popular seasons are open. The most obvious change is to wear brightly colored clothing especially in preference to white or brown. I substitute the bright red cap for the white cap. Unfortunately my outer shell and pack are both black, so I wear a bright cap and sometimes attach a bright handkerchief or other item to my pack. I don't usually wear hunter's orange which may be a mistake but then I'm not hunting.

Most hunters who I've met on trails, as opposed to on roads, have been careful and friendly even though my presence probably reduces their chances of finding game. I don't deliberately scare off game but I'm not quiet or stealthy either. It has been years since I've seen hunters on trails practice poor gun safety (according to the hunting safety course I took many years ago). In general, I am happy to share the trails.

I notice hunters more in camp areas and along roads. I've blogged disparagingly before about hunters very slowly driving along roads looking for game and obviously engaging in road hunting. Some popular areas are so crowded that I no longer camp there during rifle deer season, not only are the camp areas full but some hunters have actually hunted within 100 feet of my campsite. Maybe they are careful and I don't need to worry; however they don't inspire confidence being that close. I also don't appreciate hunters sighting in their rifles close by, and I doubt other hunters like those who do so much either. Nothing like warning all the game in the areas that hunting season has started.


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