Be cautious and visible during the fall hunting season
Fall is one of the best times of the year to hike, climb, mountain bike or roam the woods. The cool, dry and mostly bug-free climate make it a favorite season to get outside. It’s also hunting season, when the forest and trails are shared with outdoorspeople who have a passion for skulking the landscape for deer, elk and other big game. Upland game bird and turkey hunting seasons are also scheduled in the fall. For each of these hunting pursuits, a rifle or shotgun is required to harvest game.
To ensure your safety while outdoors, a few guidelines will help keep you safe:
Colorado, New Mexico, Arizona and Utah do not coincide their hunting seasons. They are each on different schedules. It’s crucial to know when hunting season takes place in your area. Go online to check the season dates for the area you plan to recreate. During the big game season, avoid recreating in places with heavy hunting pressure like Missionary Ridge in Colorado.
Remove any mystery of what you are by wearing blaze-orange garments. As a rule, hunters are required to wear blaze-orange during the hunting season (except archery season) to stand out to other hunters. It’s simply a good rule to wear either a blaze-orange hat or vest during hunting season. You can find inexpensive blaze-orange items at any sporting goods store that caters to hunters.
Making noise is the opposite of what hunters are doing in the woods. They’re sneaking around, sitting still, or gently stepping to avoid making noises that scare game. But it’s a good idea for you to make some noise where you could be in the midst of hunters.
Did you hear a shot? Are there vehicles parked at the trailhead? These are clues that hunters are afield. Making noise doesn’t mean you need to clang pans but it is a good idea to bring attention to yourself by occasionally calling out, whistling, singing or talking, especially in thickets.
Be a Best Friend
If you hike with a dog it’s a good idea to keep it on a leash, even if it is well-behaved and responsive to voice commands. Dogs can be mistaken for a species of woodland creature, such as a coyote or fox, that can be hunted with the appropriate state license.