Hunting and trapping seasons are beginning to open throughout New York State. These activities are enjoyed by many as forms of recreation and a means of providing for their families. These activities can also benefit forest ecosystems by helping maintain healthy animal populations while reducing nuisance wildlife issues and, in some cases, decreasing the transmission of wildlife diseases. Whether you are a hunter, trapper, or just enjoy getting outdoors in the fall, learning how to share public lands with other users will help keep you and fellow visitors safe.
Recreationists and hunters alike have a responsibility to keep each other safe during hunting seasons. Hikers and bikers are advised to dress in bright colors such as hunter orange, put bright colors and bells on pets and equipment like backpacks, bikes, and walking sticks, and keep pets leashed to discourage roaming. Horseback riders should dress horses in hunter orange and wear hunter orange while riding.
Whether you’re hiking in the High Peaks Wilderness or on a remote swath of State Forest, hunters have the same right to recreation on public lands as you do. Avoid interfering with hunters and trappers. Stay on or close to trails and give hunters space. Don’t attempt to scare game, sabotage a hunt, or tamper with traps, and never harass hunters or trappers. Not only is it disrespectful, it is illegal. Be aware that you might encounter hunters carrying firearms, bows, or crossbows on trails or in camping areas.
Hunting and trapping are legal activities that are critically important for wildlife management. Additionally, the sale of hunting licenses and gear funds important wildlife research and surveys and the acquisition and maintenance of many of the public lands we all enjoy. So please, be respectful of hunters, trappers, and all other State land users. Visit DEC’s website for more safety tips before heading into the woods this hunting and trapping season.
Photo at top: DEC photo.
Here’s a good summary of hunting and trapping season dates:
Basically, deer season in the Northern Zone (which includes the Adirondacks) begins with an early muzzleloading season Oct. 15-21 and the regular (rifle) season is Oct. 22 – Dec. 4. Another week of muzzleloading follows on in all of the NZ except the interior of the Adirondacks Dec. 4-10.
I’m a hunter/hiker/skier/paddler/angler and often interact with hikers during deer season as I hunt state land and sometimes cross or use trails. Most of my interactions are pleasant but I would like to see hikers avoid colors like black (popular with yoga pants these days), brown white and gray. The hunters I know are safe and never shoot unless they identify their target. However, the fact that hunters must now wear some orange is a good thing because it shows up so well beyond where the target may be. Hikers may want to consider the same practice, or at least avoid the aforementioned colors. Hunter shooting incidents are few, and hunters shooting non-hunters, even fewer. But, none of us can ever be too safe. Enjoy the fall!
I wear a cheesy blaze orange/yellow mesh vest I bought for a couple bucks when I hike during hunting season. It is pretty loud – and always fits – no matter how much I weigh.
I wear orange. I know that if I get into trouble, it will be the hunters that will save me.