How To: Hike Safely During Hunting Season in NL

Fall is one of the best times to hike; the weather is cool, the leaves are changing, the air is fresh. Here in Newfoundland, as in many other areas, hunting season is in full swing. Here on the island, hunting season is a big deal. Gotta get me moose b’y!

So how to you hit the trails and do so safely? The following are practices I do routinely and are based on personal experience and research.

“Be Safe, Be Seen. Wear BLAZE Orange.” The Hunters Dress Code

  • Rock a hat or toque in bright orange.
  • Throw on a safety vest or tie it across your backpack. A bright coloured rain cover or rain jacket is good too.
  • Make sure your furry friend also wears their vest. I also use a bear bell on Bubbles collar to let others know she is coming regardless of the season.
  • Make noise while your hiking – talk, sing, wear a bell…this let’s hunters know your in the area. Unfortunately, this will also scare off the game they are hunting for.

Know the Hunting Season and When/ Where it’s Safest to Hike

  • Most of Western Newfoundland’s moose season is Sept 12, 2015 – Dec 27, 2015. Check out 2015-2016 Hunting Guide for full details.
  • Hunters can hunt on Sunday’s from Oct 4th, 2016 – April 30, 2016 provided their season is still open – this was news to me!
  • Hike during full daylight. My understanding is people typically hunt in the early morning hours [dawn] and sometimes in the evening [dusk] when the animals are most active.

Stick to Established Trails

  • Hunters are encouraged to respect other outdoor users including other hunters, hikers, berry-pickers, cabin owners etc., and seem to know where recreational trails are located.
  • If possible, check trail status in case there are closures or notices such as;

Respect the Hunters

  • We all share the right to access crown lands and they have a shorter season to enjoy their outdoor activity than we do. If you know/see people hunting in an area, I would recommend leaving and head somewhere else.
  • Please also remember that hunters are a big part of land conservation and wildlife management,  sharing many of the same goals as other outdoor recreationalists. So lets all work together, play together and enjoy the great outdoors year round safely.

So you’re ready to go, but don’t forget your Day Hiking Essentials;

  • DayPack
  • Rain Gear
  • Warm Layers/Hat/Mitts
  • First Aid Kit/Survival Kit
  • Area Maps/GPS/Compass/Cell Phone
  • Headlamp/Spare Batteries
  • Knife
  • Food/ Water
  • Gaiters/Boots
  • Dress for the weather [ Corner Brook Weather ]
  • Tell someone where your going and when you expect to return, even if your going to a familiar place!
  • Take your Camera!

Now get on the go! Have fun, be safe, and enjoy the outdoors in all it’s fall glory:)

P.S. Feel free to respectfully comment and share any tips or experiences you might have about hiking during hunting season below. 

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