(This is reposted from the Appalachian Trail Conservancy web site. They are good reminders as we are now in the main hunting season. Be extra vigilant. I did a good portion of my southbound hike during hunting season, on the Tuscarora Trail and the Allegheny Trail. Many times you are sharing the trail with hunters carrying rifles and with their dogs. Several times I heard rifle shots quite close to me. Pretty unnerving. So take these tips to heart as you enjoy your hike during hunting season.)
|Be visible to hunters|
TIPS FOR HIKERS DURING HUNTING SEASONKnow local hunting seasons — Specific dates for hunting seasons vary year to year and also by type of game hunted and weapon used. Small-game seasons (turkey, rabbit) stretch from fall through the end of May; large-game seasons (deer, bear, moose) generally occur October through January. Learn the regulations and hunting seasons for the areas where you will be hiking before you go.
Wear blaze orange—Wear a blaze orange hat and vest (and pack cover if backpacking), or hooded outerwear when hiking in fall, winter and spring. All fourteen states that the A.T. traverses require hunter education classes prior to issuance of licenses, which has led to a significant decrease in hunting-related accidents. Even though these safeguards have been put in place, both hikers and hunters need to do their part to prevent accidents. In late 2002 and early 2003, two A.T. hikers were shot and seriously injured in separate incidents by hunters who mistook them for deer. Neither hiker was wearing blaze orange, and neither hunter properly identified his target.
If you hike with a dog, it should also wear blaze orange visible from all sides. The ATC recommends
|Dogs need blaze orange too|
On state game lands in Pennsylvania, all hunters and non-hunters are required to wear at least 250 square inches of fluorescent orange material on the head, chest and back combined, or a fluorescent orange hat, from Nov. 15–Dec.15 (except on Sundays). The orange material must be visible from all angles (360 degrees).
Avoid wearing colors that could be mistaken for game animals. Avoid white or brown during deer seasons; red or blue during turkey seasons.
Use extra caution at dawn and dusk. Hunting activity may increase at dawn and dusk, when animals are feeding and visibility is poor. Wear reflective vests or use a headlamp or flashlight for extra visibility.
Use extra caution near roads and in valleys—Be especially cautious within 1/2-mile of road crossings (both approaching and leaving) and in valley areas.
Be heard—Make sure you are heard before you are seen by whistling, singing, talking, etc., while you hike.
Avoid hunter interference—Hikers should be aware that interference or harassment of hunters in the lawful pursuit of game is a violation of law in all fourteen A.T. states. This includes interference or tampering with dogs used in the pursuit of game where allowed by law. Sportsmen are our partners in conservation—encounters between hunters and hikers are opportunities to raise the awareness of both groups.
Avoid deer firearm season—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. (note that hunting is allowed in Delaware Gap National Recreation Area, another NPS unit). Do a search for the specific state in which you will be hiking.
- CO Canal National Historical Park, Maryland
- Harpers Ferry National Historical Park, West Virginia
- Shenandoah National Park, Virginia
- Blue Ridge Parkway, Virginia
- Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Tennessee and North Carolina"
- Florida Trail