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Backpacking in Hunting Season
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Randy Martin
(randalmartin) - F

Locale: Colorado
Backpacking in Hunting Season on 10/08/2013 20:22:18 MDT Print View

Saturday is the start of the first rifle season for Elk in Colorado. I am debating going for a trip in the Buffalo Peaks Wilderness in Colorado which will definitely have hunters. The idea of hiking in areas where hunters are currently active concerns me a bit on the safety side and also takes away some of the solitude I am seeking. That said, does anyone have their own concerns about hiking in an area of active hunters? Am I being overly concerned?

jerry adams
(retiredjerry) - MLife

Locale: Oregon and Washington
Re: Backpacking in Hunting Season on 10/08/2013 20:30:44 MDT Print View

Buy an orange safety vest from a safety store like Sanderson Safety Supply in Portland OR but I bet there are similar stores in every city.

It weighs a few ounces, can go over your other clothing, costs maybe $5.

I wear such occasionally in hunting season. Mostly, hunters are fairly responsible. Might be a time to stay on the trail rather than doing a cross country adventure.

Justin Baker
(justin_baker) - M

Locale: Santa Rosa, CA
Re: Backpacking in Hunting Season on 10/08/2013 20:49:26 MDT Print View

You are being overly concerned. If hiking during hunting season was too dangerous then hunters wouldn't hunt on public land. Yes, there is an increased risk and it's a good idea to wear blaze orange but there are more dangerous things out there than a hunter.

Hunters usually don't hunt far from their vehicle and those that do high mountain pack hunting are usually very competent.

USA Duane Hall
(hikerduane) - F

Locale: Extreme northern Sierra Nevada
Backpacking in Hunting Season on 10/08/2013 21:00:21 MDT Print View

I was out a little over a week ago for a two night trip here in Kalifornia. Lots of shots, just keep an eye out for the closest tree if any zinging sounds.

Ken T.
(kthompson) - MLife

Locale: All up in there
Re: Backpacking in Hunting Season on 10/08/2013 21:16:45 MDT Print View

Don't wear an Elk suit or wear an antler hat. You'll be fine.

Randy Nelson
(rlnunix) - F - M

Locale: Rockies
Re: Backpacking in Hunting Season on 10/08/2013 21:58:31 MDT Print View

I personally call it quits when first rifle opens. I'm fine with archery and muzzle loaders. I always say there's hunters and those that go hunting. I'm fine with the first, who are serious and know what they are doing but they guys who get together to drink, ride ATVs and hope they stumble on an Elk concern me. Statistically speaking, you're probably VERY unlikely to be shot. But there are a certain percentage of yahoos out there and I'd rather not deal with it. It does help that you'll be in a designated Wilderness area. That eliminates a lot of the lazy ones.

Wearing blaze orange certainly can't hurt. My friend and I were in the Winds a few weeks ago at the start of Elk season. I thought I had read it started the weekend after we came out. My friend, who is a hunter but from California, asked why all the riders we saw were wearing orange if it wasn't hunting season. I thought it was probably muzzle loader season but was wrong. Oops. We didn't have any problems and we happened to be on trail during the last 2 days when the season had started. Lot of shots but well away from us.

I've gone to RMNP during October in the past. But now the park is closed. How do they "close" RMNP if there aren't any rangers to write up those who ignore the closure???

Franco Darioli
(Franco) - M

Locale: @Tarptent
Backpacking in Hunting Season on 10/08/2013 22:48:15 MDT Print View

Take a friend with you
You need hands

Bob Gross
(--B.G.--) - F

Locale: Silicon Valley
Re: Re: Backpacking in Hunting Season on 10/08/2013 23:02:30 MDT Print View

"How do they "close" RMNP if there aren't any rangers to write up those who ignore the closure???"

There will probably be barricades at each of the entrance stations. Then inside there will always be some minimum number of law enforcement rangers to issue citations. If it is a serious offense, they will probably open the federal jail until time for the next federal court hearing. However, because of the government shutdown, that hearing may be delayed, so you get to rot in the jail.


Randy Nelson
(rlnunix) - F - M

Locale: Rockies
Re: Backpacking in Hunting Season on 10/09/2013 06:40:23 MDT Print View

In this case I was actually thinking more about the trails that are accessible without having to drive into the park. I haven't seen rangers on them when the park was open. Not that I'm advocating actually doing it but I did start wondering about how they would enforce it with a fraction of their normal crew.

Ken Miller

Locale: Colorado
Should be ok on 10/09/2013 15:01:35 MDT Print View

I would wear orange, hat or vest. Also stay away from the transitions of dark timber to meadows at dusk and dawn.

Hunters should verify a target before shooting, but unfortunately accidents happen

Jay Johnson
I would just avoid brown/white combo on 10/13/2013 01:37:17 MDT Print View

A lot of backpacking clothing/gear are pretty bright colored so that is a good start. I don't think anyone is going to be shooting at bright green/blue/red colors out in the woods if looking for Elk/Deer.

I would definitely avoid brown clothing, especially if a dash of white is thrown in there. A brown jacket/backpack with a white hat/bandanna might look like an animal's body+tail for someone who catches "buck fever."

Just get something bright that can be multiuse like an orange bandanna to strap to yourself or your bag when hiking and can be used as a pot holder/rag in camp.

d k
(dkramalc) - MLife
Re: I would just avoid brown/white combo on 10/13/2013 02:03:55 MDT Print View

" don't think anyone is going to be shooting at... bright colors"

Google "Pamela Almli" - she was a hiker wearing a bright blue poncho when shot and killed by a kid who was out hunting. Certainly bright colors should prevent a responsible hunter from shooting at you, but there is always the chance of someone not so responsible out there. Personally I would not venture out on the trail myself in hunting territory during hunting season, but if you do please take steps to be safe. Something larger than a bandana that can be seen from both sides (orange vest + pack cover?) might be better.

I agree that statistically there isn't a big chance of your being shot at, but don't assume it never happens.

Edited by dkramalc on 10/13/2013 02:07:33 MDT.

Eric Blumensaadt
(Danepacker) - MLife

Locale: Mojave Desert
Uh huh... on 10/13/2013 10:00:59 MDT Print View

Well... tomorow I head out for Nevada's Ruby Mountains to hunt doe mule deer. I'm backpacking in as well. My pack has a blaze orange pull-out cover and I'll be wearing a blaze orange hunting cap.

I asked the Nevada Fish & Wildlife Dep't why there was no REQUIREMENT to wear blaze oarnge when big game hunting in Nevada. I was told that there are so few hunters that it is not "necessary".

Coming from years of deer hunting in Pennsylvania, where bullets can zing nearby,I guess this will be a very peaceful hunt.

After all, "The crowd decreases inversely with the square of the distance from the road and the cube of the distance above it." - or some such mathematical formulae.

Edited by Danepacker on 10/13/2013 10:01:50 MDT.

Tim Zen
(asdzxc57) - F

Locale: MI
Re: Backpacking in Hunting Season on 10/13/2013 10:33:30 MDT Print View

In MI I will go out except during deer season with rifles. These people don't seem to be screwed down to tightly. They do a lot of "sighting in at night". One time was enough for me.

The bow hunters, bird hunters, black powder folks seem fine. Maybe it requires more skill.

Like the other folks I wear an orange hat and vest and orange on the pack.

Dean F.
(acrosome) - MLife

Locale: Back in the Front Range
Re: Re: Backpacking in Hunting Season on 10/13/2013 11:00:22 MDT Print View

I don't like hikers. Those people aren't screwed down too tight. They cut wood for illegal campfires, leave garbage and human waste laying on trails, get drunk and trip over my guylines in the middle of the night and collapse my tent, and then have the unmitagted gall to expect SAR to rescue them when they get lost or tired. The ultralighters are the worst- they don't even carry appropriate gear!

I try to avoid hikers.

Edited by acrosome on 10/13/2013 11:01:35 MDT.

Greg Mihalik
(greg23) - M

Locale: Colorado
Re: Re: Backpacking in Hunting Season on 10/13/2013 11:04:27 MDT Print View

This time of the year is some of the best hiking and I'm not willing to give up 4 weeks of it.

WalMart has cheap Orange vests in the hunting section. We have Adult and 2X for hiking with or without a day pack. The 2X goes Over the pack and is a Lot of Orange. I hacked up a Youth and made a vest for the dog. If I go out alone I add a Blaze Orange hat.

I'm concerned about two scenarios. In the first there is no "backstop" for the shot, and it travels a Long way to me. Not much you can do about that.

In the second, I unintentionally walk into the "kill zone" where the animal is between me and the hunter. The hunter is focused on the animal, the animal has frozen because of my approach, and the finger is itchy. That's where a "Parade of Orange" is be useful.

We also give some thought to the last 2 days of each "session". There are noticeably more shots as the desperation and the alcohol take over.

Tim Zen
(asdzxc57) - F

Locale: MI
Re: Re: Backpacking in Hunting Season on 10/13/2013 12:06:10 MDT Print View

@Dean -- I agree with you about the hikers too. I can do without the toilet paper, beer cans, trash, drunks, cigarette butts, noise, not paying trail fees, leaving camp fires burning... I just get a little tweaked up when I hear 15 rounds go off at night.

Stephen M
(stephenm) - MLife

Locale: The Deep Frreze
Re: Re: Re: Backpacking in Hunting Season on 10/13/2013 12:42:06 MDT Print View


How about that crowd in the boat on Manistee?

Randy Martin
(randalmartin) - F

Locale: Colorado
Safe Trip on 10/13/2013 12:51:25 MDT Print View

Just an update that I had a great time yesterday. Saw a few Hunters but there seemed to be more scouting going on than anything else. I never heard one shot. I think being in a Wilderness area helped. Only people back where I was would have to be serious hunters given how difficult the access was.

Tim Zen
(asdzxc57) - F

Locale: MI
Re: Re: Re: Re: Backpacking in Hunting Season on 10/13/2013 12:51:49 MDT Print View

At least we had the high ground!

Stephen M
(stephenm) - MLife

Locale: The Deep Frreze
Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Backpacking in Hunting Season on 10/13/2013 13:05:12 MDT Print View

Yep, we could of thrown logs on top of them :-)

Dean F.
(acrosome) - MLife

Locale: Back in the Front Range
Re: Re: Re: Backpacking in Hunting Season on 10/14/2013 08:52:26 MDT Print View

@ "I agree with you about the hikers too."

Wow, Tim, I can't decide if you either:

1) Have a good sense of humor,
2) Are so clueless that you didn't get my point at all,
3) Are immune to sarcasm, or
4) Turned that back on me like a master.

I am left speechless, and bow before your clearly superior skillz. Bravo.

Edited by acrosome on 10/14/2013 08:53:04 MDT.

Eric Blumensaadt
(Danepacker) - MLife

Locale: Mojave Desert
Bah! Humbug! on 10/14/2013 14:53:39 MDT Print View

Damn hikers! Dean has it right,

all they do is:
wear trails into ruts then volunteer to maintain the trails
ask for bridges across streams then donate to build them
walk around in pristine wilderness then organize to protect it
click away with their cameras then show the photos to non-hikers to get support for more parks and forests

Damn hikers!

wiiawiwb wiiawiwb
(wiiawiwb) - F
Blaze orange on 10/14/2013 15:38:43 MDT Print View

I live in cooler country so this time of year I wear a thin, neon-blaze-orange fleece vest and hat. It gives me a more comforting feeling knowing I can be seen at a distance.

Having said that, I've had three hunters come at me aggressively, yelling and screaming for "ruining their drive" by spooking game. Hello guys...I was on a marked hiking trail!

Needless to say, I did not wise off especially since I was outnumbered, unarmed and woefully outgunned.

Hk Newman
(hknewman) - MLife

Locale: Western US
Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Backpacking in Hunting Season on 10/14/2013 16:01:27 MDT Print View

I try to avoid it but with the parks closed, I look at each states hunting calendar to see which weeks are not designated rifle or "all firearms". Most are pretty safe but accidents happen and bullets carry. Have some mostly brilliant orange "Denver Bronco" upper layers too.

Jim Colten
(jcolten) - M

Locale: MN
Re: Backpacking in Hunting Season on 10/14/2013 18:20:06 MDT Print View

In MN I don't worry much about small game, bear or moose hunting seasons ... the participation and concentration levels of hunters are relatively low.

Firearm deer season is another story with upwards of 800,000 licenses sold each year. While I know a number of very responsible hunters with whom I'd trust my life there are more than enough who are clueless about safe hunting practices and way too much alcohol consumed by way too many hunting parties. Home Depot's lumber section is the closest I come to the woods for those 16 days each November.