Unfortunately, the threat of rain isn’t a hiker’s biggest concern during the autumn months — a period known to many simply as ‘hunting season’. Every year, a hiker loses his or her life to a hunter’s bullet, and these tragedies can usually be chalked up to confusion on both sides. To avoid getting shot at (or worse) this fall, here are some hunting season safety tips:
Wear Bright Clothing
According to Washington Trails Association, a little ‘reverse camouflage’ is all it takes to set yourself apart from the forest fauna. Hikers should opt for colors that clearly identify their species, such as orange, red or neon colors. On the other hand, earth tones should always be avoided; the same goes for deer costumes and bear suits. Brightly colored vests and backpacks are available for purchase; dogs should also be outfitted with distinct adornments and kept on leashes at all times.
Nothing clears up hunter confusion like a human voice making a loud announcement. If you hear shots, let out a good yodel to let nearby parties know your location. In addition, a recent article by USA Today urges hikers to travel in groups, and to carry on a steady conversation throughout the journey. For the record, this measure also keeps wild, potentially dangerous critters at bay.
Know Your Location (and the Rules that Apply)
Are you in a state park, national park or national forest? Knowing that difference can save your life during hunting season. While all national parks expressly forbid hunting of any kind (poaching on those lands carries heavy federal charges), most national forests and some state parks allow hunting on their land throughout the season. Before you hit the trail, contact the appropriate agency to make sure your proposed stomping grounds are also hunter-safe.
Stay Away from Habitats of In-Season Animals
Is it bear season? Perhaps you ought to put off exploring that cool, newly discovered cave until springtime. Deer or elk? Then frolicking in the bushes near a field or meadow might not be the best idea. Before you plan an outdoor trip, consult an official hunting season timetable (like this one provided by the Washington Department of Fish & Wildlife). Also, keep in mind that hunting on Sundays is illegal in several states (but not Washington).
Carry one of Wenger’s APB Swiss Army Knives
Ok, you’re not going to be protected from stray bullets from a hunter, but there’s a lot of sticky situations where a SAK can be useful.
On behalf of everyone at Wenger Blog, please be safe during the 2012 hunting season!
By Brad Nehring