Tips for Hiking During Hunting Season

Sep 03, 2018
Heading out for a hike this fall? Here are 7 tips for hiking during hunting season.

It feels like we will soon turn the corner on the summer season. School is starting, the days are getting shorter, and fall is in the air. Early fall is a great time of year to get outside and enjoy all that Central Oregon has to offer. For some, that means hunting on public land. For others, that means being aware of hunters when you head out to enjoy the fall colors. Hiking during hunting season means we need to think a little bit more about what we are wearing and where we are hiking!

Here are 7 tips for hiking during hunting season:


Bright colors help during hunting season. Photo: Darlene Ashley.
Bright colors help during hunting season. Photo: Darlene Ashley.
1. Wear orange or other bright, visible colors.
If the 1980’s taught us anything besides how to peg-roll our pants, it’s that neon was cool. And it still is when hiking in the fall during hunting season. Wear bright orange, or other bright colors to make sure you are visible to others while hiking. Think bandanas, bright backpacks, shirts or hats. White can often resemble the rump of a deer, so best to steer clear of it.

2. Know when hunting season is.
Find out dates for hunting seasons by calling Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife, or visiting their website to find out what areas, dates, and types of hunting are allowed where you want to hike. This year, hunting season for most of Central Oregon is Aug. 25 - Sept. 23 for deer and October 13 - 19 for Elk. More information and general dates can be found here.

3. Keep dogs on leash.
Dogs are required to be on leash on all Land Trust Preserves, but keeping them close on other Central Oregon trails is a good idea at this time of year, too. If you just can’t bring yourself to keep fido on a leash when not at Land Trust Preserves, make sure to dress them in bright orange too. Learn more about the impact of dogs on wildlife here.
4. Make noise.
Whistling, talking to your hiking buddies, or singing your favorite song lets others know that you are in the area. Though it might scare away any chance you may have of spotting wildlife, you certainly won’t be mistaken for a deer yourself. Have a little tea with honey and lemon before your hike and get your pipes ready to belt our your favorite tunes.
5. Stay on trails.
Wildlife tend to stay away from well-used popular trails. Likewise, hunters often head off trail in search for game. Hunting season is the perfect time to hit up those beautiful, yet popular trails you might avoid the rest of the year. If the thought of hunters in the wild with you makes you uncomfortable, look for hikes that you can take in areas where hunting is not allowed.

6. Use extra caution near roads.
Be aware of cars and ATV’s that might be using networks of old logging roads on public lands to access hunting areas.

7. Consider hiking during the day.
Just like wildlife, hunters are often most active during dawn and dusk. Plan your hikes for the middle of the day, instead of early in the morning or later in the evening. If you still want to catch that magical sunrise or sunset, just make sure to take a flashlight or wear a headlamp to make yourself more visible. And don’t forget about belting out your favorite 80’s tune while sporting those neon colors, too.

Finally, just a quick reminder that hunting is not allowed at Land Trust Preserves. However, it is extremely important that users remember that all of the land around the Metolius Preserve is open to hunting in accordance with state and local regulations.

Prefer hiking with a group instead of on your own? Check out our full schedule of fall Walks + Hikes!