REGION – Public hunting areas offer a great chance to view birds and wildlife and spend quality time in the great outdoors. But maybe you’ve heard that it’s not safe to hike or bird watch in the woods during hunting season? The good news is that hunting is a very safe sport, and with a little knowledge and preparation, you can confidently enjoy birding during any hunting season. Here are some tips on how to view wildlife safely:
The more visible you are, the safer you are. Wear a brightly colored piece of clothing that can be seen from all directions. Good options include hunter orange hats and safety yellow vests. Avoid wearing colors that blend with the environment or are the color of game species: green, brown, black, or white.
There are open seasons every day of the year across the Great Lakes region but there are a couple of rules of thumb to know when hunters will be out and about. Opening day is the busiest for most hunting seasons and many hunters stop going out after the first week. You can find all of your states hunting seasons online at your local Department of Natural Resources website.
Hunting can happen on any public or private land that gives permission. Most public lands and private conservation lands have resources online to help you find out when and where hunting is allowed. If you’re not sure, contact the property owner.
Hunters will generally go well off human used paths to look for game so there is less hunting on established trail systems.
Dawn and dusk are often the best time for hunters to find their quarry as they move between feeding and resting areas. Heading out during daylight hours means you’ll be seeing fewer hunters.
Be sure to keep your pets on a six-foot leash and have them wear a high visibility vest. Many state-managed public lands generally require pets to be on a leash regardless of the time of year to protect our wildlife and wild places. Using a leash also protects your pet. The less pets look like wild animals, the safer they are.
Stay safe out there birding this fall!