Orange Is the New Safe
Sunday, Sept. 15 marks the start of the high buck hunt, a new deer hunting season in some parts of the Alpine Lakes, Glacier Peak, Pasayten, Olympic Peninsula, Henry Jackson Wilderness Areas and Lake Chelan Recreation Area. Bear hunting season also continues through mid-November across the state.
Fall is a spectacular time to enjoy hiking trails in Washington, but hiking during any hunting season requires a little extra caution, and a lot more orange in your outdoors wardrobe.
Hiking during hunting season: wear orange, make noise
Below are some tips to stay safe on trails during hunting season, the first of which is to know when and where you might encounter hunters on your hikes:
- Know when hunting seasons are. Bear season begins in August, followed by grouse, deer and several other species in September. October is the high point of hunting season. Check more hunting season dates.
- Wear bright clothing. Make yourself more visible. Choose colors that stand out, like red, orange or pink, and avoid blacks, browns, earth-toned greens and animal-colored clothing. You can purchase safety-orange backpack covers and vests here.
- If you hike with a dog, keep your pup on leash and consider having them wear a brightly-colored pack, coat or an old, orange t-shirt. If your dog tends to startle at loud sounds (like thunder), a leash may also prevent a scared, runaway dog if you happen to hear gunshots.
- Make noise and make yourself known. Whistle, sing or carry on a conversation as you walk to alert hunters to your presence. Sound carries well across mountain basins, and hunters should be listening for any sounds of animal movement. If you do hear shooting, raise your voice and let hunters know that you are in the vicinity.
- Know your own comfort level. If hunting makes you uneasy, choose a hike in a location where hunting is not allowed, such as a national park or a state park.