With this Saturday opening day for modern firearm deer season in much of Washington state, now is a great time to revisit some safety tips while enjoying DNR-managed lands during hunting season. Many DNR-managed lands are included in game management units where licensed hunting is allowed. If you are planning a hike in the coming weeks, here are some tips from the American Hiking Society that can help you stay safe if hiking during hunting season:
Be aware. Know when hunting seasons start and end. Be familiar with regulations that affect hunting in the area where you are hiking by reading up on regulations and seasons, published by the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW).
Be seen. Deer and elk hunters are required to wear blaze-orange , so should you. While a fluorescent hunter orange hat fights the chill and increases your visibility, it’s wise to also wear an orange vest or use an inexpensive blaze orange pack cover — it will keep gear dry and make you hard to mistake for a deer! This applies to Fido, too, who also should be sporting hunter orange.
Be smart. Despite the best efforts of hunters, resource managers and hikers, some areas are not safe to hike in during hunting season. Review the maps of game management units and talk to hiking clubs like the Washington Trails Association or look for local chapters of The Mountaineers to find out which areas are best to avoid during hunting season.
Be heard. If you hear hunters in the area, or hear shots, speak up. Make your presence known.
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