Considering hiking during hunting seasons? If so, here are 5 Safety Tips For Hiking During Hunting Season – a guest post by Kevin Steffey.
Hiking is an outdoor activity that really tests the character of an individual like no other activity that I know of. It requires a high level of physical strength and mental alertness at all times. With all your hiking gear fitted into your hunting backpack, your strength and endurance levels are expected to be top notch in order for you to successfully carry your luggage along a hiking trail all through your hiking expedition.
It is easy to forget that you are out in the wild and at the mercy of mother nature with many more dangers lurking in the shadows than in the concrete jungles of big cities that most of us are used to.
Before you to go out hiking, it is mandatory that you apply the old boy scout motto of “be prepared” as your watch word. Being prepared for a hike should be second nature to you and this is especially true if you want to hike during hunting season.
Preparation for a hike does not only entail that you have all your life saving gear stashed in your hunting backpack but also that you carefully and patiently adhere to these five safety tips.
#1-Do Some Research
The first tip revolves around your understanding of your preferred hiking area. If you are hiking in one of the recognized hunting states, then you should be aware of the annual hunting season. This should be your first real safety and precaution step. You can get information on the various hunting seasons that occur all year round in the area by confirming from relevant state agencies like the Department of Fish and Wildlife.
Depending on where you intend hiking, you could have small game seasons such as peasant season or big game season such as deer season. These hunting seasons attract hunters from across the country. Your preferred hiking location is more often than not expected to be a bee-hive of activities during these hunting seasons. You should also check for firearms and bow hunting seasons as well.
#2- Wear Bright Colored Clothing
After you have done your research and you decide to go hiking during a hunting season, you should make sure you dress appropriately. Wearing bright colored clothing is the second safety step you should adopt. The preferred colors you should wear are bright red or orange. Do not put on clothing with earth-toned colors such as brown, black or white.
If you have a pet dog accompanying you on a hike, make sure it is always on a leash and kitted with a bright colored vest or sweater. This way, it is not mistaken for fair game by a hunter.
#3- Be Alert Always!
Thirdly, you should know that hunting laws vary from one hunting state to another. So you should always be alert and on the lookout for any signage that could just prevent you from being vulnerable and in harm’s way when hiking during hunting season.
#4- Make Some Noise!
As a fourth rule, you need to be clearly audible at all times when you are out hiking. Let anyone and everyone around know that you are on a hiking trail. The American Hiking Society actually recommends that when you are out hiking you should yell out – “Hikers on the Trail!” This will alert hunters to your presence and ensure that they act with more caution.
#5- Hike During The Day!
Lastly, if you must hike during hunting season make sure you do not hike at dusk or at dawn. It is important to remember that these are excellent times for hunting and in the cover of darkness, shapes and colors become difficult to distinguish and a hunter may mistake you for a game.
You should also try to avoid vying off a popular hiking trail as this will leave you exposed. Try hiking towards sites with a high altitude. Hunters don’t venture to high altitudes as it’s a no go area for wildlife. Besides, the view from high altitude areas is also a magnificent sight to behold and will add extra value to your hike.
Hiking is great fun and you should enjoy always hiking. However, while it’s fun, it can also be dangerous and you should never take the risks for granted. Always seek out current information about a hiking trail from hiking websites and blogs where you can also get useful tips from experienced hikers about a hiking trail and read through comments and testimonials from hikers about their personal experiences.
At the end of the day, your safety comes first and having fun, a close second!
Kevin Steffey is an avid hunter and freelance writer, the founder of Deer Hunting Field. He loves spending time in the field with his rifle more than almost anything else. He also occupies his off-time discussing deer and their habits online. But more than anything, he wants to teach and educate about hunting …