This beautiful state offers amazing vistas and great opportunities for hiking. However, if you're planning to hike during hunting season it's important to be aware of some important safety tips.
Hiking during hunting season can be perfectly safe and fun. You just need to take a few extra safety precautions before you go.
Follow these simple safety tips, and get ready for a beautiful, safe experience hiking in Colorado.
1. Check When Hunting Season Starts
Your first safety tip is to actually know when hunting season begins and ends. You can find accurate information about Colorado's hunting season online. Keep in mind that there are different seasons for different game, as well as for different hunting methods. For example, the firearms hunting season will differ from the bow hunting season.
It can be safer to hike on the dates and times when hunting isn't allowed. However, you should also keep in mind that there are always a few people who break the rules and hunt off-season. Because of this, it's a good idea to follow hunting-season safety tips no matter when you hike.
2. Know the Park's Hunting Rules
You should also look up the hunting regulations at the park you plan to hike in.
If the place you're hiking in allows hunting, you'll need to be extra cautious during your hike. Make sure everyone in your hiking group is aware of whether or not hunting is allowed in the area. This may affect their decision to come on the hike, as well as what safety precautions they will take.
3. Change Your Clothes
Wear bright, reflective clothing so that you will be easily visible to hunters.
Bright orange, red, and yellow are good choices. Avoid natural tones like greens, browns, and tans, as those are easy to mistake for a wild animal. White is bright, but also best avoided, as many animals have white fur.
Reflective clothing and accessories can also help boost your visibility, especially when in a dim forest or on a cloudy day. There's no such thing as too much bright clothing! Don't forget to also bring a flashlight or headlamp in case of emergency.
4. Dress Your Pets Too
If you're bringing a dog along on a hike, make sure they're also wearing a bright, reflective sweater or vest. It's easy to mistake a dog for hunting prey otherwise.
5. Observe Posted Signs
Signs along your hiking route will often give additional information about the rules regarding hunting. Some trails may have extra posted warnings, or even be closed during hunting season. Make sure you read any signs so you don't miss crucial information.
6. Stick to Trails
It's always a good idea to stay on officially designated trails during your hike - but it's especially important to do this during hunting season. Straying from the trail can put you in unnecessary danger.
Most hunters know to stay away from trails that are frequently used, even if they're not required to. Game is often harder to find near a heavily trafficked trail. This means that staying on the trail makes you less likely to be in range.
Off the trail, though, in heavily wooded areas, hunters will be watching for any sign of movement. It's better to stay away.
7. Time it Right
Don't hike too close to dusk or dawn, when it's dark and harder to see. These times are very popular for hunting, because deer are more active. However, humans also have a harder time seeing clearly then, making it more likely that a hunter might accidentally shoot at you.
8. Talk a Lot
Hiking with a talkative group is a great thing during hunting season!
The more chatty your group is, the less likely you are to be mistaken for wildlife. It will also help scare away deer and other animals, so potential targets won't be nearby. There's never a better time to take your chatty friends hiking.
9. Try a National Park
A park that doesn't allow hunting, like a National Park or even a large city park, are among the safest choices. Most National Parks don't allow any hunting at all.
10. Increase Your Altitude
Colorado is known for its high-altitude locations. The higher up you go, the less wildlife you're likely to find, which means fewer hunters.
If you're adventurous, try a challenging, hard-to-access mountain hike. If the hiking trails are hard to get to or difficult to navigate, you're less likely to find hunters there.
For a quick and easy way to remember the most important of these tips, try the SMART acronym.
S - See and Be Seen
Wear your bright, reflective clothing, and make sure your dog, friends, or kids are wearing it, too.
Keep an eye out for hunters. They will be easy to spot, since they're required to wear bright, highly visible colors.
M - Make Noise
Talk, sing, bring speakers to play music - whatever it is, just make sure the sounds you make are distinctively human. You can also try putting a bell on your shoes or a dog's collar for added safety.
A - Area
Get familiar with the surroundings. Choose safer trails when possible, such as those where hunting is not allowed or is less likely to occur. Do research on the location so you know what to be aware of.
R - Respect
Respect the people sharing the park with you - including the hunters. Don't go off trail, or do anything to put yourself at greater risk. Having good safety practices shows respect to the hunters that share the land with you.
T - Time
Avoid hiking close to dawn or dusk, when more hunters are out and visibility is lower. Hike during the day, when it's warmer and easier to see.
Final Thoughts on Hiking in Colorado During Hunting Season
There's no reason not to go hiking in Colorado during hunting season. In fact, you can have some of the most beautiful hikes during this time of year.
These safety tips are simple and easy to follow. Stay safe, so that everyone can have an enjoyable season.
Hiking in Colorado is one of the many benefits of visiting or living in the mountains. A home in the area can give you easy access to some of the best hiking in the world. Contact us to find out more about our current listings that may be a good fit for your lifestyle and investment goals!
By Coldwell Banker