Sharing the outdoors during hunting season

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Share the outdoors. Just because it’s hunting season doesn’t mean other outdoor enthusiasts are restricted from the woods. Photo provided.

 

REGION – Hunters are common in the autumn woods of Vermont. But whether they’re dressed in camo or blaze orange, with a hunting rifle or bow slung over their shoulders, hunters on the landscape may present an unfamiliar sight to some. Just because hunting seasons have started that doesn’t mean other recreationists need to avoid the woods. According to Nicole Meier with Vermont Fish & Wildlife’s hunter education program, with a little knowledge and a few common-sense preparations, people should feel perfectly comfortable heading out for a hike, a bike ride, or walking their dog in the fall.

“People enjoy the outdoors in a variety of ways and as long as everyone treats each other with respect, there are rarely conflicts,” said Meier. “Hunting is an extremely safe activity. Hunting-related incidents in Vermont are very rare and are almost always either minor, self-inflicted, or within hunting parties.”

Meier offers these suggestions to safely enjoy the woods in autumn:

  • Know when hunting takes place. Season dates are available in the free “Vermont Hunting and Trapping Official Regulations Digest,” available at gas stations and general stores, and at www.vtfishandwildlife.com,
  • Most hunting in Vermont is concentrated during the two-week rifle season, the week before and the week of Thanksgiving,
  • Youth deer rifle weekend occurs around the first weekend of November,
  • Archery season is in October and muzzleloader season is the first week of December, though both activities see far fewer hunters than rifle season,
  • Wear bright colors – an orange vest is particularly helpful during rifle seasons,
  • Plan outings closer to the middle of the day – the lighting is better and fewer people are hunting then,
  • Walk dogs on leash and consider getting a bright orange collar or vest for your dog,
  • Favor high-use public areas or trails – hunters tend to avoid areas where many other people are already hiking or walking their dog.

“Most hunting in Vermont takes place during a brief window in the fall. With a little planning, hunters and other outdoor recreationists can both safely and courteously enjoy their pursuits and share the woods without any issues,” said Meier. “Everyone should feel welcome in the woods at any time of year.”

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