If you’re like me, we were always taught not to go into the woods during hunting season without wearing blaze orange (also called hunter’s orange). It seems each year during hunting season, we hear of someone being shot by a hunter because they are mistaken by someone for a deer. In some cases people have been shot while walking their dog or going out to the mail box. I was reminded of the importance of being visible to hunters today when I received the press release from Fairfield Glade Community Club regarding the incident of an illegally shot deer here in Fairfield Glade (FG) on Sunday.
Firearms season here in Cumberland County began in October and runs through Jan. 6. With the abundance of trails and hikers using the trails in our area, there can be opportunities where hunters and hikers may cross paths. Though hiker accidents are rare during hunting season, any accidents that do happen are typically because no blaze orange is being worn. Wearing a blaze orange colored vest and hat is one of the most important things you can do to stay visible to hunters. It's what hunters themselves wear for safety. If you don't have any of these items make sure you wear bright colors and steer clear of tans, browns or greens. Avoid wearing white because it resembles the rear of a white-tailed deer.
Make some noise. Going onto the trails may be about getting some peace and quiet, but hunting season isn't the time to stalk silently down the trail. I like to whistle or talk to my dog while hiking to let anyone around know we are on the trail. You may want to get a bear bell that will clip to your clothing and jingle while you walk.
Fall is one of my favorite times of the year to hike. But, it is important to hike safely during this season. Knowing it’s the hunting season, dressing appropriately and following the trail markers are all factors that can increase your safety when out on the trails.
Think about your safety before you head out on your next trip and plan accordingly! Make it a great hike!