Fall hikers beware: Nature hikes this time of year coincide with hunting season. Generally speaking, do your best not to look like a deer.
Your favorite hiking spot on state land might attract bow and gun hunters looking for more than just fall color. Deer and black bear hunting seasons occur from September to December in Vermont, along with rabbits, squirrels, raccoons and foxes. Fur-bearing also occurs in the fall and early winter.
To make sure you don’t mistakenly end up in a hunter’s crosshairs, here are some basic ways to stay safe while hiking during Vermont hunting seasons.
Wear bright colors.
“Wear bright orange clothing, visible from both the front and back,” suggests the Green Mountain Club. Avoid brown and white, which could be mistaken for a deer, or black, which could resemble a black bear.
Avoid places and times when hunters are likely to be out.
The Green Mountain Club says to be especially careful when walking in valleys and near roads and trailheads and to avoid walking at sunrise or sunset when visibility is poor.
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It also protects dogs.
It may be best to leave your furry companion at home for the next few months so they don’t mistake it for game. If you want to wear them, make sure they have a brightly colored bandana or bright orange vest.
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Know if the area you are walking through allows hunting.
Some well-known state forests and parks welcome hiking and hunting. Before leaving, check the rules of the area.
“Hunting is permitted on all GMC owned and managed land, including along the Long Trail and Appalachian Trail corridors in Vermont,” the Green Mountain Club said on its website.
“While hunting is not permitted in recreational areas developed as state parks during the regular operating season, hunting is permitted on most state park lands in the off-season,” says the Vermont State Parks website at your winter usage guidelines. But, hunting is prohibited within 500 feet of any state park building, the site says.
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Contact reporter April Barton at email@example.com or 802-660-1854. Follow her on Twitter @aprildbarton.