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Hiking During Hunting Season – Worth the Risk?

By in Outdoors with 0 Comments

Not every outdoors-y person agrees with hunting; it can be a divisive issue.

Something that’s not up for debate, however, is that hikers and hunters share many of the same spaces for their chosen type of recreation.

Both hunting and hiking are hugely popular outdoor activities–for them to coexist peacefully, there are a few safety precautions you should always follow.

Understand the Hunting Laws in Your Area

There are lots of online resources to find out what your state’s laws are, and when hunting seasons start and end; currently, our favorite is WhereToHunt.

Different states have different hunting seasons and regulations. As a hiker, it’s important to be aware of these changes. In some states, for example, there are

different seasons for bow-hunting than firearms. By staying aware of state laws, regulations, and official hunting seasons, you can also find the right times to go for a hike.

Certain states don’t allow any hunting on Sundays. Others prohibit hunting within a given distance of a public hiking trail. Many states, however, take a more laissez-faire approach to hunting.

Realistically, if you live in one of these states, you should keep your wits about you at all times as a hiker.


Taking the Right Safety Precautions

It’s a smart idea to take some extra safety precautions if you’re hiking during a busy hunting season, but you should know which measures you should take.

Most of them are pretty simple, common-sense tips, but a few have been learned through some dangerous “close calls” with hunters looking for game near hiking trails.

Here are a few trail safety precautions to take if you’re going to hike during hunting season:


  1. Wear bright colored safety clothing and hats, especially if you’re hiking in an area you know is a popular hunting spot.
  2. Avoid hiking during popular hunting hours, which differ depending on what animal is in season. When in doubt, always do your research.
  3. If you like to bring your dogs with you on hikes, keep them on a leash, and always within your sight–in fact, it doesn’t hurt to find a safety vest or other garment for your furry friend.


There are also a few courtesies that hunters will appreciate, such as hikers respecting the quiet, natural area.

This may not jeopardize your safety, but it’s always best to be courteous on the trial avoid conflicts (particularly when the person on the other end has a rifle).


Important Takeaways for Hikers and Hunters

Just like bicyclists and car-drivers have to share the road, so do hunters and hikers share their recreation spaces.

This presents a few problems, but with a little bit of knowledge, smart choices, and a courteous, respectful attitude, issues between hikers and hunters should be easy to overcome.


Other Hiking Options During Hunting Season

If you’re frightened by the prospect of hiking during hunting season, there are still several options open to you.

Many State and National parks do not allow any hunting on their premises; these are an excellent alternative to some of your usual favorite hiking spots during busy parts of the hunting season.


For further research, the Forest Service also provides an extensive database of information for hunters and hikers alike.


What do you think?


If you have any questions for us, or hiking safety tips of your own (from either a hiker’s or a hunter’s perspective), we’re interested in providing as comprehensive a resource as we can–let us know how you feel in the comment section below.


Happy hiking!


Courtesy, Chris Browning