Hunter’s and Hiker’s Safety

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Blaze orange comes in doggie sizes too.

 

As November rolls along, hunting seasons are under way. Though there are seasons for numerous birds and animals, the most popular is the gun deer hunting season. With public lands open to hunting in close proximity to recreation trails and nature preserves there’s always the chance that a conflict could arise between recreational users and those hunting in the area. Most issues will be handled amiably but a stray bullet could cause a dangerous situation.

Deer hunters are not the only outdoorsmen and -women who need to keep safety in mind during the deer gun hunting. Winnebago County Parks is encouraging other outdoor enthusiasts to follow hunters’ lead in donning orange when enjoying outdoor activities. Hunters are required by law to wear easily visible orange, but other recreationalists are not.

“Due to the very popular activity of deer hunting, now is not an advisable time to take a quiet, unassuming walk in the woods,” Michigan DNR Forest Management Division field coordinator Bill O’Neill said in a statement. The DNR suggests wearing hunter orange or other brightly colored clothing, avoiding areas heavily trafficked by hunters and making hunters aware of your presence. Anglers are accustomed to taking precautions during gun deer hunting season because this time of year is good for trout and steelhead fishing, picking the right place to fish is also key to staying safe in mid-to-late-November.

The Minnesota DNR provides a flyer with these tips: Plan ahead. If you work, hike or use the outdoors, for other reasons, plan ahead. Knowing the following will improve your safety!
Hunting Seasons Dates – Knowing the seasons dates will keep you informed on the type of hunting activities and associated hazards you may encounter.
Active Hunting Areas – Determine if the area you are using is an active hunting area during the season or not.

Avoid High Use Times – Opening days, weekends, early morning and evening hours are typically high use times that should be
avoided. Activities taking place during mid-week, preferably during the middle hours of the day to minimize risk, and the hazard
of exposure to the largest number of hunters.
On-Site Safety Precautions – Wear Bright Blazing-Color Clothing. Make yourself more visible. Choose blazing colors that stand out, like red, hunting orange or green, and avoid whites, blacks, browns, or earth-toned greens and animal-colored clothing.
Make Noise –  Whistle, sing or carry on a conversation as you walk to alert hunters to your presence. Hunters are usually listening for sounds of animal movements.
Make Yourself Known. If you hear shooting close by, raise your voice and let the hunters know that you are in the vicinity.

Know Your Own Comfort Level –  If hunting makes you uneasy, choose a hike in a location where hunting is not allowed, such as a Winnebago County Community Park a national park or a state park.
Be Courteous –  Once a hunter is aware of your presence, don’t make unnecessary noise to disturb their hunt.  Avoid confrontation and, never confront or argue with anyone who has a gun.
Traveling in pairs or with a group is advised.

WDNR 2018 Wisconsin Hunting Seasons

DEER
Archery & Crossbow Sept. 15–Jan. 6, 2019
Gun Nov. 17–25
Muzzleloader Nov. 26–Dec. 5
Statewide Antlerless Hunt Dec. 6–9
* Please check the 2018 Wisconsin Deer Hunting Regulations for a
complete set of dates and unit designations.

GAME BIRDS
Pheasant
Statewide Oct. 20 (9 AM)–Jan. 6, 2019
Bobwhite Quail  Statewide Oct. 20 (9 AM)–Dec. 12
Hungarian Partridge Statewide* Oct. 20 (9 AM)–Jan. 6, 2019
Ruffed Grouse
Zone A Sept. 15–Jan. 31, 2019
Zone B Oct. 20–Dec. 8
Crow Statewide Sept. 15–Nov. 15 &
Jan 18–March 20, 2019

SMALL GAME
Cottontail Rabbit Northern Zone Sept. 15–Feb. 28, 2019
Squirrels (Gray and Fox) Statewide Sept. 15–Jan. 31, 2019

The above is only a partial list. Make sure to check with the WDNR for any questions you may have on active hunting areas.

If  everyone follows the rules and is courteous to one another, a successful season can be had by all.

Safety first while Picturing Yourself in Winnebago County Parks & Sunnyview Expo Center!

 

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Vicky Redlin

Winnebago County Parks & Sunnyview Expo Center Program Manager, Parks News editor, and frequent Facebook commentator.

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