Headed To The Woods? Be Visible!
If you love to be outdoors, in the wooded areas in the fall, but you are not a hunter, there are a couple of things you need to consider before you head out for the day. Deer Season opens November 12th. You want to be visible.
The Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC) reminds non-hunters to practice safety measures when afield during hunting seasons. “Safety while hunting is ultimately the responsibility of the hunter,” said MDC Hunter Education Coordinator Justin McGuire. And hunters must clearly identify their targeted game animals before even putting their fingers on the triggers of their firearms or before drawing their bows when archery hunting. They must also be aware of what is behind their targets and should never shoot at movement or sound.
McGuire added that non-hunters out in hunting areas can also practice some safety measures. He and MDC offer these safety tips for non-hunters:
- Wear bright clothing to be more visible, such as a bright orange hat, jacket, or pack.
- Place a bright orange vest or bandana on the canines that join you and keep them leashed.
- Avoid earth-toned or animal-colored clothing such as tan and brown.
- Be aware that hunters are often most active during the early morning and late afternoon, when game animals are also most active. Be especially aware of your own visibility during these times when light is dim.
- Stay on designated trails. Trails are designed to improve the safety of public users and to protect sensitive habitats. Enjoying recreational activities only on designated trails will reduce the likelihood of entering hunting areas.
- Whenever venturing into the outdoors, let someone know where you are going and when to expect your return.
- Make yourself known. If you hear shooting, raise your voice, and let hunters know you are in the area.
- Be courteous. Once a hunter is aware of your presence, don’t make unnecessary noise to disturb wildlife. Avoid conflict.
- Identify hunting seasons and lands open to hunting. Learn where and when hunting is taking place. Plan your recreation activities based on this information. Find information on Missouri hunting seasons at mo.gov/hunting-trapping.
Find conservation areas that allow hunting and those that do not by using the MDC Places to Go web feature at mo.gov/discover-nature/places.