It’s hunting season in the Colorado Rockies! When you hit the trails these days you might notice a lot of camps set up and even some hunters out and about walking along the back roads and trails. Just because it is hunting season does not mean that you can’t also still hike, you just have to Hike S.M.A.R.T.
Here are Some Tips to Hiking S.M.A.R.T.
(S) See and Be Seen:
For their own safety, hunters are required to wear at least 500 square inches of solid blaze/fluorescent orange on their person to remain visible from all directions when hunting. While it is not a requirement for hikers and other recreational users, it is the SMART option. Make sure you and your hiking companions are seen. You can pick up a fluorescent orange vest for $1-$5. Don’t forget your pup! There are specially made dog vests you can buy, or you can easily rig a cheap vest to fit a dog.
(M) Make Noise:
Hunting season is not the time to be tiptoeing around in the woods. Continuously make human noises, so that hunters are aware you are not an elk or deer. Whistle, chat, jingle, play music, whatever will make you heard by hunters. If you’re hiking with a dog, a bell on your dog’s collar is a great option.
Know the area you are hiking. If you are debating between hiking a trail where hunting is not permitted or a heavy hunting area during hunting season, choose the trail where hunting is not permitted. Not sure? Contact the USDA Forest Service with questions. Find information here.
Be respectful. Hunters have just as much right to be using the land as non-hunters. If you can, avoid “bushwhacking” or trekking off trail during hunting season. If you have to, go for it, otherwise stick to the trails, chances are hunters won’t be there.
While not always the case, most hunters hunt at dawn and dusk. To reduce the chance of running into hunters, hike between 10am and 4pm during hunting season. You’ll enjoy the warmest fall temperatures and chances are you’ll encounter fewer hunters.
So there you have it! When you Hike S.M.A.R.T. during hunting season, everyone will get to enjoy the forests this fall!