Reminder to share the woods
According to the New York Daily News: “Authorities say an Ohio man shot a pickup truck he mistook for a deer in western New York.
“Sheriff ’s deputies say Marvin Miller of Middlefield, Ohio, fired a high-powered rifle at a pickup truck. They say Miller told authorities he had mistaken the truck for a deer.”
One wonders if he thought the antenna were antlers?
In any case, this again illustrates the fact that some hunters — very few of them, we hope — have a lot of issues when they are afield.
It’s probably good to review some of the things you need to do to be safe during hunting seasons — or, how not to be mistaken for a F-150 pickup.
■ First, of course, orange is the new orange. Hunters have been so indoctrinated with the fact that orange means no that it’s far and away the most important thing you can do when you are in the woods at the same time as hunters.
Hunters must wear at least 250 square inches of hunter orange on their heads, chests, and backs and you should do the same.
And don’t forget your dogs. We would never take Opie and Molly on a run during hunting season without their fluorescent orange vests.
■ Hike, or ramble, where hunters aren’t allowed.
In an email, Nicholas Lylo, District Forester for Pinchot State Forest, wrote “The Moon Lake Recreation Area including the lake and camping area and the Seven Tubs Recreation Area which includes the Tubs Loop and Audubon trails are closed to hunting. All other areas of the Pinchot State Forest area open to hunting.’’
And a North Branch Land Trust official emailed “The only property where we allow hunting is the Howland Preserve. No hunting is allowed at the George & Lillian Picton Wildlife Sanctuary. The Howland Preserve is posted with signage to discourage hiking during hunting season but if you do hike wear orange and take precautions.”
■ The deer are silent, you shouldn’t be. You don’t have to be obnoxious, but be vocal enough, conversing and laughing, so hunters become aware of your presence. And bear bells for you and your fur babies are a good idea.
Don’t hike at dawn or dusk. Deer are active then, which means hunters are also. Combine that with the dim light conditions and it’s especially dangerous.
■ Stay on the trails. You’re far less likely to get in trouble if you stay on the marked trails. Conversely, you are asking for trouble if you decide this is the time to go bushwhacking or exploring because that could lead you right into hunters in the deep woods.
Know when the different hunting seasons are. If possible, try to not go hiking during deer and bear season. With almost a million licensed hunters in the state, the chances of an encounter rise exponentially if you are in the woods with all that firepower around you, no matter how safety conscious you are. Remember that truck.