This moose I saw this morning had no worries since it was Sunday. But it will have to watch out tomorrow.
It’s hunting season here in Maine, as in many other places, and that means it’s time to break out the fluorescent orange vests and hats every time we take to the trails, woods, or even camp roads. Here are a few safety reminders for hiking, mountain biking, trail running, or any activity that gets you out in the woods this time of year. I posted these last year, but they bear repeating.
Be Very Visible: Ideally you should wear blaze (fluorescent) orange clothing that can be seen from all sides, like a hat and some sort of vest or jacket. Bright reds and yellows are also good color options (though on overcast days they can appear black, so use carefully). Think bright, even garish. Now’s a great time to go retro with that old neon jacket from the ’80s. Make sure your backpack has some bright orange on it too, like a large orange bandanna. Avoid any brown, tan, and especially white. You don’t want to look like the flash of a deer’s tail. And don’t forget to outfit your dog with its own blaze orange vest and collar.
Make Yourself Heard: Usually I opt for quiet on a hike or trail run, but during hunting season I’m far more likely to keep up a steady conversation with a partner. If you’re alone you can whistle or sing to make yourself heard, or consider a bell on you or your dog. Now is not the time to practice your stealth hiking moves.
Be Aware: Hunters are active from early dawn to dusk and in between. While you’re more likely to find hunters closer to any roads or trailheads and in valleys, expect that you can meet them anywhere at any time. Also, while bushwhacking can be a lot of fun, during the weeks of hunting season I stick to marked and maintained trails.
Know the Rules: If possible hike on trails in areas where no hunting is allowed or on days of the week (like Sunday here in Maine) when there’s no hunting. While deer rifle season typically brings the most hunters out into the woods, a variety of hunting seasons can extend the activity year-round. Know the hunting season dates and rules for your state and local areas.
Above all use common sense and do your part to share the woods safely.