Outdoor Safety Tips for Hunting Season

With these outdoor safety tips, you can enjoy the outdoors while staying safe during the year’s hunting seasons.

  • Shooter at sunset
    A hunter at sunset checks out his surroundings.
    Photo by iStockphoto.com/Jason Lugo
  • Man and dog
    When hunting with dogs, make sure they, too, are dressed in blaze orange and can be seen easily.
    Photo by Fotolia/RobertNyholm
  • Ground blind
    Structures like this forest ground blind suggest the presence of hunters in the area.
    Photo by iStockphoto.com/ThunderValleyHC
  • Morning hunt
    To hunters, fewer things are more enjoyable than a fall morning or evening afield with friends.
    Photo by iStockphoto.com/shaunl
  • Hunting signs
    A hunter checks out his surroundings on a hunting trail, where a public hunting sign lets everyone know to watch for hunters.
    Photo by iStockphoto.com/Jon Huelskamp
  • Safe hike
    A hiker wears bright colors in the woods so he can been seen by hunters.
    Photo by iStockphoto.com/Vladimir Popovic

  • Shooter at sunset
  • Man and dog
  • Ground blind
  • Morning hunt
  • Hunting signs
  • Safe hike

Even now, some 25 years later, it was an October afternoon to remember. The trees on the Pennsylvania mountainside blazed with color, and the cool breezes softened the warm sun. No stranger to hunting pheasant and rabbits, I had joined friends on a grouse hunt, and we picked our way to the creek bottom below, ears straining for that heart-stopping explosion of wings in full flight.

We soon discovered that while the grouse were apparently somewhere else, we were not alone on that Pennsylvania mountain.

As we stepped into a clearing, a very non-birdlike whistle drifted down from above. There, some 15 feet in the air, perched an archer in a tree stand, camouflaged, waving quietly to catch our attention. We returned the wave and quickly left the clearing.

Every one of us – the archer, my friends and myself – were armed with potentially lethal weapons, yet we were all confident in the safety of the situation. Why? Because we had all been through state-mandated hunter safety courses, and we knew how to protect ourselves and each other.

Fall is a great time to be outdoors, and there are plenty of activities for anybody who wants to get away and get some fresh air.

Hunting is a major draw, whether firearm or archery, but many other activities are also at their best this time of year. It’s a perfect time for photography, foraging, hiking or horseback riding, just to name a few. It’s also the last chance to look for fossils and arrowheads, or to go on a camping trip before winter closes in. All these are good reasons to get outside, but they can also put you in the crossfire.

9/22/2015 7:11:56 AM

I am sorry to hear about your bad experiences with hunting activities occurring during predawn hours and within safety zones. These are not ethical hunting practices, and I would suggest you visit your state’s Game Commission website to review the relevant laws. If indeed hunting laws are being violated, please report these activities to your Game Commission when they occur. Roadways are considered safe zones, free from hunting activity, and therefore a good choice for walking with your dogs. While wearing loud colors may feel like an imposition, please consider this practice to be similar to looking both ways before crossing the street at a crosswalk. Yes, vehicles must stop for pedestrians in a crosswalk in most states, but looking both ways first, is simply a good safe practice and general common sense. Finally, ethical hunting is more than simply a hobby. Properly managed licenses and bag limits work to manage wildlife populations at healthy levels, preventing starvation, rampant disease, and forests stripped of all vegetation save mature trees. Once forests are stripped of available browse, herds quickly move into farm fields and suburban settings, causing extensive property damage. Proper herd management also prevents excessive road kills, minimizing damage to personal vehicles and the potential loss of human life, as well as of wildlife. If you have ever witnessed a deer being struck by a car, or even worse, a semi truck, you no doubt know it is not a pretty sight. Hunters and non-hunters can safely share the woods with mutual respect, as long as we make efforts to meet each other in the middle. As I noted in the article, there is plenty of wilderness for all to share. I wish you a better outdoor experience in the future.

9/18/2015 10:18:49 AM

What about hunters who hunt before dawn and killing animals in front of your house, waking you out of bed and having your dogs barking at their racket? What about hunters who are inconsiderate that maybe the person across the street doesn't appreciate seeing wildlife being killed in front of their house? How about some hunters show some respect for the non-hunting residents who like to see animals alive and not kill animals in front of someone's house? I'm tired of non-hunters having to tip-toe around hunters, AROUND THEIR OWN PROPERTY. I have to buy an entire clown colored wardrobe for these hunters, just to walk on a public road to walk my dogs? Ridiculous! How about those hunters go kill animals deep in the woods on reserved hunting grounds where they belong? Or better yet, 5 minutes down the road is a market, they can buy some meat there. If they can afford bullets then they can afford meat from the local butcher. Just because one lives in the country, doesn't mean they are a hunter or a farmer. Some people live in the country for peace and quiet. Sure, a hunter will claim it's their hobby to kill animals, but it's also my hobby as a nature photographer and a writer. The hunters I've seen here, are rude, inconsiderate and arrogant trigger-happy nuisances. Hunters need to respect non-hunting residences too!!

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