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Trails 11-18-2011 07:59 PM

Ride safe during hunting season
I had forgotten about this.

My column in the November issue of Trail Blazer magazine has a few thoughts and tips on ring during hunting season as well as reviews of riding areas that donít allow hunting, including Bridle Trails State park in WA, Burns Park in AR, and the Georgia International Horse Park.
You can read the article here

What do you do to avoid being mistaken for prey during hunting season, besides blaze orange?

bsms 11-18-2011 08:15 PM

Sing, "I'm a human!" at the top of my lungs?

I once worked a fall for the US Forest Service in Utah. I wore blaze orange everything, made lots of noise, and was shot at more times there than I was 25 years later in Afghanistan...

Paintlover1965 11-18-2011 08:29 PM

I hate hunting season. We have a hunter who has permission by the landowner to hunt on the trails we ride on and despite our pleas to have him relocate to a more secluded site he still hunts on the trails. It's too bad but I generally avoid the area where he sits in his hut because I don't trust him to mistake us for a deer. Thankfully, deer hunting season is over in our area and all of us are relieved for another year accident free.

Skipsfirstspike 11-18-2011 08:50 PM

I put sleigh bells on my horse for starters. I also try to respect the hunters out there, and tend to not ride directly in woods where I know hunters are allowed. Not only to save my own skin, but to avoid pushing the deer away as well.
I live in an agricultural area, so there tends to be pockets of woodlands as opposed to vast acreage, so in full hunting season I tend to just skirt around the bush, only entering if the area is posted no hunting allowed.

Saddlebag 11-18-2011 09:02 PM

Ride safe during hunting season - isn't that an oxymoron?

Darrin 11-18-2011 11:11 PM

I used to hunt myself and have seen tons of people with "buck fever" and there is no cure for them outside of a bullet to the head. Honestly, that's one of the main reasons I gave up hunting. Sooooo, I stay out of the woods during hunting season. Only ride in areas where hunting is not allowed and even then I worry.

No amount of bells, singing, screamin at the top of your lungs or blaze orange will stop someone with buck fever from firing. They see motion, point their gun barrel in that general direction and squeeze the trigger. If you're lucky, they are a bad shot.

Joe4d 11-18-2011 11:39 PM

so far we have maintained a No Hunting on Sundays law. so we either ride Sunday or on the federal park.

Trails 11-19-2011 09:36 AM

Wow! A bunch of great thoughts I'll have to include them

Singing is actually #2 on the list. I haven't seen hunters, bear, cougar, elk etc, so it must work :-)

I hadn't though of putting bells on the horses. I generally have bells on anyway (for bear) but anything to be a little more conspicuous.

I used to live in a no hunting Sunday state but not all are like that. Here in WA there are no restrictions on day of week. It's a bummer.

I too try to avoid prime hunting areas especially during big game season. Sometimes though I don't really have a choice. It's either ride when I can or don't collect information for the next magazine article.

Darrin 11-19-2011 10:55 AM


Originally Posted by Trails (Post 1238112)
I too try to avoid prime hunting areas especially during big game season. Sometimes though I don't really have a choice. It's either ride when I can or don't collect information for the next magazine article.

Bow and black powder is earlier in the year when trails are in still in good but they don't worry me. Those guys have to take care in placing their shots which means they actually do know what they are shooting at.

I get careful when deer season starts as generally the weather is still decent but turning. Often by the time elk season starts I'm off a good percentage of the trails anyway as trails are getting to slick to ride anyway. That's when I mostly move down to flat land state parks for riding where hunting isn't allowed.

But then I'm not facing article deadlines so if I miss a weekend or two of riding, oh well. Seattle weather isn't much different then mine so I assume you hit up central and eastern Washington more in the winter?

Celeste 11-19-2011 04:26 PM

Hunting season is a huge problem here. We ride dirt roads during the season rather than go off on side trails. We wear orange and talk or sing. I have had issues with hunters in trucks about running me over, but at least I haven't been shot. It is illegal to hunt the road sides here, even the small dirt roads. Some people do it. I am pretty sure that we rode right by a hunter today. I didn't see him, but my horse sure did. She was snorting and blowing like a snake was in the road.
Part of me wishes there was not a hunting season, but the reality of it is that there are already so many deer here that they jump in front of cars on a regular basis. There are no nonhuman deer preditors here and the deer would quickly overpopulate without the season.

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