Fall is popular with all outdoor enthusiasts, including hikers and hunters. As the hunting season in New York City accelerates and daylight hours dwindle, advocates of hiking and biking are urging those who explore the woods recreationally to take extra precautions to maintain their safety, that of their pets and hunters.

“Hunting is a very popular activity and has a long heritage here,” says Andy Mossey, stewardship and advocacy coordinator for the Catskill Center. “As people go out and recreate, we have to be prepared to share the woods with the hunters. “

Wear orange

Hunters are required to wear orange or pink when hunting with a firearm. The same goes for hikers and cyclists.

Maria Bedo-Calhoun, president of Club 3500, says a recent hike has sounded alarm bells for her. “I was hiking yesterday and it didn’t look like we saw a lot of people in orange,” she says.

Mossey says he recommends that during peak foliage season, when orange is common in the woods, people incorporate a bright cyan blue as well.

“Make a blue shirt or a backpack,” he says. “And wearing an orange hat is really important.”


Keep dogs orange and on a leash

Mossey says that in recent years it’s dogs, not people, who are most often mistaken for a deer or bear. He urges dog owners to be especially careful.

“Especially if this is a medium to large sized dog with a darker color, they should definitely wear a reflective, shiny vest.”

Orange reflective dog vests can be found at any local pet store or online.

Keeping dogs on a leash is also crucial to control their run through leaves and undergrowth, which could confuse hunters.

Stick to day hikes and walks

Hunters are particularly active at dawn and dusk, when deer are as well. To maximize safety, Scenic Hudson advises hikers and cyclists to limit their outdoor activities on wooded trails to daylight hours.

Stay on established trails

Established trails are the best place to hike during hunting season. “While it can be tempting to do these bush hikes at this time of year, I generally recommend sticking to the peaks with slightly busier trails and trails,” says Mossey.

And although some hikers sometimes contact private owners to ask if they can hike despite the absence of trespass signs, Bedo-Calhoun discourages this during hunting season, when private owners may be more wary. people on their property.

“If you want to do a specific hike and call to ask permission, you may want to wait. [hunting] the season is over, ”she said.

To ask questions

Mossey notes that some of the rules set out regarding the hunting season – when bow hunting ends, when rifle hunting begins – can vary from county to county and can be confusing to the general public.

“Hunters in particular know these things, but the general public don’t,” Mossey says. “I recommend that people call DEC or the Catskill Visitor Center so they know what to expect.”

Those in Orange, Ulster, Sullivan, Putnam or Dutchess County can call DEC at 845-246-3098. Delaware, Greene, or Columbia County residents and visitors can call 518-357-2355.

The Catskill Visitor Center can be reached at 845-688-3369.

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