Last weekend we had a houseful of company and we really wanted to go hiking. The weather was good but it was also the start of hunting season. In fact the first weekend in November is Youth Hunting Season. We wondered if it was safe to go hiking during hunting season or was hunting even allowed on the Appalachian Trail?
Hunting is allowed on all Green Mountain Club owned and managed lands, including the Long Trail and Appalachian Trail corridors in Vermont. Hunting is prohibited along approximately 900 miles of the Appalachian Trail through national forest lands, nationals recreation areas and on state lands and game lands. Hikers should be aware that the protected corridor is often narrow, averaging about 1000 feet wide. Even in areas where hunting is prohibited, hunters on adjacent lands may not know that they are near the trail. Hunters may inadvertently cross onto Trail lands or unknowingly fire toward the Trail. If you are planning to hike during hunting season it is important to be safe and be respectful of all trail users.
Before you go hiking be aware of the specific dates for hunting seasons.
Hunters often hunt during the early dawn and dusk hours. This is also when visibility is low. Plan your hike during the middle of the day.
Wear blaze orange clothing, which is visible from both the front and the back. Avoid wearing brown or white clothing, the colors of a deer. If you are hiking with a dog make sure your furry friend is wearing a bright bandana or a blaze orange vest.
You can avoid areas where hunting is legal during deer firearm season, which varies by state, but typically occurs during parts of the months of October, November, December, and January. During those months, you may want to hike in one of the five national parks crossed by the A.T
By taking a few precautions you can enjoy a wonderful hike. Be aware of your surroundings and be careful when hiking in valleys and near roads and trailheads.
We enjoyed a beautiful hike on Saturday; the only people we saw were a few other hikers. We all were wearing bright colors and did a lot of talking along the hike, which helped make our presence known to any hunters in the area.
If you are planning to hike during hunting season take these simple precautions and enjoy your time in the woods.