This coming Saturday, Oct. 22, the Regular Deer Season kicks off, and pickups will again line the back roads, as hunters take to the woods in search of “Adirondack beef.”
The annual Opening Day, will set the stage for a gradual changing of the guard, as hunters begin to replace hikers as the primary woodland travelers.
As the transition occurs, it is important for both user groups to recognize the essential woodland courtesies necessary to safely and effectively “share the sandbox.”
It is important that both groups be considerate, and respectful of each other. As a rule, most hunters attempt to avoid high traffic areas, where hikers can be found. Too often sportsmen get a ‘black eye’ due to the carelessness and poor behavior of a few individuals.
The media does not report on the numerous safe and successful hunts that are conducted each season. Rather, we often hear about the few regrettable accidents that occur.
Safety in the woods
Hikers should similarly make efforts to recognize, and avoid areas where hunters are obviously traveling. It is a time to keep dogs on the leash. It is not difficult to figure out if hunters are in the area. When there are a half dozen vehicle parked off the roadside, and the gun racks in the back windows are all empty; it might be a clue! You may want to consider taking a hike elsewhere.
This is a time to be staying on the trails, to wear bright clothes and make your presence known. Despite the media’s propensity to sensationalize the dangers, hunting remains one of the safest of all recreational activities.
Hunting is far safer than such dangerous activities as tennis, soccer, golf or cheerleading. It is an activity pursued annually by people who are safe, highly trained and who typically attempt to respect other users. Unfortunately, such efforts are not always reciprocated.
Joe Hackett is a guide and sportsman residing in Ray Brook. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org