Planning to take a hike? With hunting season upon us, hiker safety becomes more important than ever. For starters, I take the following four precautions.
1. Wear blaze orange – Accidents can happen when enthusiastic hunters hear or see movement through the trees or brush. Wear blaze orange to alert hunters of your presence. Blaze orange doesn't have to be expensive. Last week at the local Walmart I saw blaze orange knit hats and hunting caps for $2.00. Blaze orange vests were $12.97.
2. Don’t sneak up on armed hunters – You see hunters near the perimeter of a field as you step from the woods into an open area. They don’t see you. Do you keep quiet? Absolutely not. Make some noise. Call out hello to let them know you’re there.
3. Research hunting regulations for your area – Plan your hike for dates hunting isn’t permitted, or try to find a hiking spot where hunting is prohibited. As a rule, I do not take my child hiking in areas that permit hunting during hunting season. Even if she does wear orange, kids are shorter and not easily seen through the brush. If kids cause thrashing movements in the foliage, it could lead to a bad outcome. The same applies to pets.
4. Avoid hiking at dusk and dawn – These dimly lit hours may not be wise times for hiking even in blaze orange. Visibility is often poor during these hours. Your movement could be mistaken for that of wildlife.