Our friends with the Green Mountain Club (GMC) in Vermont have some life-saving tips about hiking the Appalachian Trail and the Long Trail that can help us too, when we hike during hunting season in the vicinity of Lake Lanier.
I especially liked GMC’s suggestion not to hike with dogs during this time. Do you have the right to do so? Yes. Is your dog going to hurt anyone? Probably not.
When hikers set their dogs free to roam in the woods during hunting season, however, they have to accept the risk of an accident. If you choose to hike with Muffy or Duke, it’s best to keep her/him on a short leash.
Hunters and hikers have coexisted happily for generations thanks to mutual respect shown by all. Hunting is a traditional use of public and private lands.
Here are some suggestions for hiking safely this hunting season:
- Wear blaze orange in the woods during hunting season, particularly in November. Blaze-orange clothing should be visible from both front and back. A blaze-orange hat is recommended. Put some orange on your dog! Many outdoor and hardware stores stock items in blaze orange.
- Hike in the daylight. Prioritize visibility by avoiding hikes during dawn or dusk. These times have limited visibility for hunters and are often popular times for hiking.
- Leave your dog at home. Hiking with a dog during hunting season can put your dog at risk and disturb hunters. If you do need to bring your dog, be sure he or she also wears blaze orange.
Tips from Dave Hardy, GMC Director of Trail Programs:
- Please be visible – wear loud colors: orange, purple, yellow.
- Don’t wear white.
- Please respect hunters and hike quietly; if you see a hunter just wave unless they speak first – sounds disturb the hunt and alert deer.
- Please leave your dog home during hunting season – just as they scare critters away from you on regular hikes, they’ll also disturb the deer that are being tracked by hunters.
- Try not to be in the woods around sunrise or sunset when visibility becomes more limited.
- Hunters are hikers with guns and they share the right to enjoy non-posted land to hunt.
Please exercise caution when hiking in the woods during hunting season.
Please exercise caution when hunting in the woods all the time.