Hunting for something? Safety around Hunters

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September 22, 2008

Today I am going to write about something that will probably be somewhat controversial, at least to some people, but the fact is that we as campers share the wilderness with many people, campers, boaters, fisherman, and yes, Hunters. We are coming up on the time of the year when they are the most active and widespread. Fall is the traditional time of year for hunters to harvest game animals. But some people do not understand them and why they do what they do. In fact, many people are downright fearful of them. They have been portrayed as drunken slobs wandering around the woods randomly shooting at anything. For most this is no closer to the truth than the portrayal of campers who have their campers duct taped together and spend weeks at a time in Walmart parking lots and dump their tanks down the storm drains. Both of these stereotypes have no relation to either group as a whole and are used to vilify the groups as a whole. We need to learn to put aside some of our differences and keep in mind our common goal, preservation and conservation of our wilderness and natural resources. As the song says "Why Can’t We Be Friends?".

Let’s look at some facts, as many have said that hunters were some of the first conservationists. President Teddy Roosevelt was know as the "Conservation President" and is credited for making Yellowstone a "National Park" (after it was set aside as a park by President Grant). He was a noted Hunter and Outdoorsman, but he is probably the single most important president as far as setting aside and protecting of the U.S. wilderness treasures. Below is a list of some of his accomplishments:

Hunters and other Sportsman (as most prefer to be called) provide millions even billions of dollars to be used for conservation through the PITTMAN-ROBERTSON WILDLIFE RESTORATION ACT (please only click this link if you want to read a complete copy of the act, which I have to admit is like most government acts, long and boring); a more enjoyable and easier reading explanation of the act can be found at the US Fish and Wildlife Service site. This act provides for a extra tax that Sportsmen pay when they buy hunting related items. The monies from this act have enriched and helped protect natural resources all across the United States for many years now.

So now understanding that campers and others now are sharing the forest with sportsmen, what can we do to get along with and safely use the outdoors with them?

  • First off, try to be seen during hunting seasons. Wear a florescent orange hat and/or vest. Also, the new florescent yellow/green stands out well.
  • You do not need to make any loud noises or yell at them to let them know you are there if you are wearing florescent colors. Simply wave "Hi" and move to another area out of possible shooting range.
  • If you see any evidence of illegal activities, please call 911 or your local fish and game department; Any true sportsman or camper should wish to protect the outdoors and illegal activities should not be tolerated.
  • Remember they are people enjoying the outdoors just like you. "Why can’t We be Friends?" should be our motto.

The outdoors this time of year can be a magical place with the glowing fall colors and the hint of winter to come, so let us all use it safely and protect it for future generations. Someone once said "We don’t own the wilderness; we borrow it from our children". If we all work together to preserve it, it should still be there for the future generations.

Your Obedient Servant,

Gary Smith, Jr.

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  1. Roadrunning Sometimes

    I hunt sometimes but have never been in an area where anyone would be a threat. Interestingly, I was hunting off the Ouachita Trail when I went down the trail to change positions. There I came upon a lone woman doing a “bad job” right by the walking trail with her butt shining like a full moon and showing up like new money in the dead leaves! I immediately did an about face and kinda marked time to give her time to get her clothes back up and through with her essentials. I suppose she must have been afraid to get off the trail which would be nice for other hikers who could easily step in it. She had no orange on but should have at least had something other than the white butt glistening in the dead forest colors. Quite frankly, I would not want to hike through there during hunting season without something to show my position. I suppose some do not realize that fall means hunting season. Hiking clubs need to emphasize safety on the trails.

  2. Roger Barnett

    I have been a long time hunter and have recently purchased a trailer so I can both hunt from it and enjoy the outdoors as well. Thanks for posting your view on our sport. Hunter s and outdoors people can co exist together in the field. many area’s that are open during non seasonal hunting become open area’s during hunting season. Hikers do need to be careful although my experience has been good when dealing with hikers and bikers. These situations can be frustrating when they occur but it is part of the outdoor experience. Hunter as you have stated are not the stereo type fools half drunk with the mind set of shooting anything that moves. We all understand that all life is precious even that of the wildlife and no one hunter wants to see an incident occur while afield. Courteous and responsible hunting ethics are all hunters desire. Thank for giving voice to one of America’s greatest outdoors experience.

  3. John Hemeyer

    In Missouri, you can combine early fall camping with some excellent hunting and fishing in October, one of our more pleasant months. Most state parks are open through October and many are adjacent to or within easy driving distance of public hunting/fishing areas. Our state parks are varied and spread across the state.

    Check on regulations before bringing firearms into public campgrounds. Some are off-limits. I’ve not yet encountered a private campground that prohibits firearms,

    More dangerous than huinters are meth cooks who set up in the brush. If you happen upon some folks gathered around bubbling glassware, do NOT ask “What’s cookin'” ?

  4. I grew up hunting and fishing, sadly I have not had much time to do either, lately. My husband is a retired Deputy Game Warden and just the attitudes of most people these days against hunting and/or guns is scary. We need to educate people that the guns are not evil. If all people were taught the proper handling of firearms and the real reason for hunting ( keeping the animal population incheck ) we might not have such gun violence because every one would be able to protect themselves. My husband is having withdrawals thinking about missing deer hunting here in VT this year. We will be in AZ. Lots of prime hunting land in our area has been bought up and developed and then the residents complain that the deer are eating the expensive landscaping they had done and the bear are destroyng the bird feeders. Sorry they were here first so deal with it . If out walking stick to roadways and wear bright colors since all the hunters I know are usually in wilds. If in doubt about what season it might be(deer, bird, bear,etc) contact the local town clerk or Fish and Wildlife in the area. Some seasons may overlap.

  5. Boy has the media been giving our new vice president a hard time because she is a hunter! They act like she is a quack because she likes to hunt and has a bear hide in her office. I heard one reporter say “they think this is normal behavior for the majority of the people and it isn’t and most people don’t think it’s OK to kill dead animals”. Yes he actually said “kill dead animals”. I’ve never heard of anyone killing a dead animal. 😉

  6. John Hemeyer

    Don’t forget to add a hunter orange item to your dog’s attire if you stroll in the hunting woods accompanied by a pet or allow them to run amok to do their business. Expecially during the rut, deer are known to abandon familiar haunts and most dogs cannot resist a good chase. Something about bouncing white tails strikes a dog’s primal interest which overpowers them at times.

    Best to keep ’em on a leash if you anticipate problems.

  7. Kenny

    I am an avid camper, traveler, fisherman, biker, boater, and hunter. We often see bikers, hikers, fishermen and other campers in our hunting areas and we all get along just fine. Here in Oregon, however, hikers seldom hit the brush like hunters. Bikers are on the roads and fishermen on the streams. The only issue I have with any of them is that they may beat me to the better camp sites. That just means I need to get out earlier.
    The only problem we have had during the hunting seasons might be some of the younger generation sowing oats in their trucks. And yes, most have guns in the racks. It takes time to learn manners if parents do not teach them at home.

  8. If you happen to be a runner and plan to go out for a morning run in a popular hunting area during hunting season, think twice about it. Hunters feel that you will scare off game and will not be happy about you running through their hunting area. My wife and I have had unpleasant experiences during hunting season (even a mildly threatening one by a couple hunters in Mississippi) and now avoid hunting areas during the season. And as Gary said, if you are out, even hiking or walking, in potential hunting area, wear the appropriate florescent vests so you are noticed. other