Forest Service offers hunting safety tips

Aug 27, 2013


ASHEVILLE — With archery season for deer hunting rapidly approaching, the U.S. Forest Service National Forests in North Carolina reminds hunters and non-hunters to practice safety when visiting the Croatan, Uwharrie, Pisgah and Nantahala National Forests.

The deer season for archery starts Sept. 9 in parts of western North Carolina and Sept. 7 in most other parts of the state. Deer season for muzzle loader starts Sept. 30 and gun season starts Nov. 25.

Hunters and non-hunters should follow simple steps to ensure they return home safely during hunting season.

  • Check weather reports before visiting the forest.
  • Tell someone where you will be hunting and when you will return.
  • Put hunting plans in writing (dates, times, location and expected time of return) and give them to a friend or relative.
  • Be familiar with the area you want to hunt.
  • Dress properly and be prepared for the worst possible conditions.
  • During certain seasons, hunters must wear hunter (blaze) orange viewable from all directions.
  • If accompanied by a dog, the dog should also wear hunter orange or a very visible color on a vest, leash, coat or bandana.
  • Check hunting equipment before and after each outing, and maintain it properly. Familiarize yourself with its operation before using it in the field.
  • Carry a spare set of dry clothing. Utilize layering techniques to prevent moisture while retaining body warmth. Always bring rain gear.
  • Carry a first aid kit.
  • Clearly identify your target before shooting. Prevent unfortunate accidents or fatalities.
  • Be alert when hunting near developed areas and trails. Other recreationists are in the forest as well. Hunting is prohibited 150 yards from a recreation area, campground, dwelling or residence.
  • Avoid wearing white or tan during deer season. Wear hunter orange or another highly visible color.

Non-Hunters visiting the National Forest

  • Wear bright clothing. Make yourself more visible. Choose colors that stand out, like red, blaze orange or green, and avoid white, blacks, browns, earth-toned greens and animal-colored clothing. Orange vests and hats are advisable.
  • Don’t forget to protect fido. Get an orange vest for your dog if he/she accompanies you.
  • Make noise. 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.
  • Be courteous.  Once a hunter is aware of your presence, don’t make unnecessary noise to disturb wildlife. Avoid confrontations.
  • Make yourself known. If you do hear shooting, raise your voice and let hunters know that you are in the vicinity.
  • Know when hunting seasons are. Continue to hike, but learn about where and when hunting is taking place.
  • 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, or schedule your outings for Sundays.