After a lot of thought I have decided to move some of best of my old posts from Aging Runnah and A Runnah’s Story blogs, primarily the old reviews, maybe a few of the better posts and race reports that I have written over the years. I have a feeling that at some point, my WordPress.com blogs are simply going to go away and I want to still be able to go back and read some of the stuff I wrote.
If you are reading this blog post, that is why it is has been re-posted here.
Originally posted on: November 5, 2013
It is that time of year again, it is hunting season, that means that there are and/or will be people in the woods with guns or bows - where it is legal. That means if you live in many rural and some urban areas, runners are or will be sharing the woods, backroads and trails with hunters.
It doesn't matter if you agree with hunting or not -- hunters are going to be in the woods over the next few months and there are some common sense things that you can do to help make sure you are safe.
Here are some of the things that I do to stay safe, when I am running in rural areas, on trails or other areas I know people hunt, during hunting season:
1. Wear bright colors
Preferably flourescent orange, hunters are trained to look for other hunters, who are also supposed to wear orange to stay safe. So it makes sense for a runner, who runs in areas that "might" have hunters, to wear orange. If you do not have orange, wear the brightest colors you have - you know the same ones you wear to ensure that motorists see you. Bright yellow, reds, blues are all colors that are very visible and should be noticed by hunters.
Wear a brightly colored hat - two articles of bright clothing make you more noticeable.
DO NOT wear white, brown, gray, black or other dull/drab colors that could be mistaken for animal colors.
Personally, I have taken to wearing multiple brightly colored clothes to run in most of the time, whether it is hunting season or not. This is to help ensure that drivers are more apt to see me and hopefully act proactively to avoid hitting me - at least that is my hope.
2. Avoid Running at Dawn or Dusk
These are the times when game animals move the most active and this means that these are the times that are most dangerous for humans to be moving around on rural roads or trails. If you must run during these times, USE, not just carry a light - critters don't have lights, humans do. Wear reflective piping or vests and don't be afraid to whistle or make noises that humans normally do, if you believe that hunters are around you.
If you live in an area where people hunt and you typically run during these times, change your routine if you can. Yes it is an inconvenience and no one likes to change their routine, just because someone else is out there for a few weeks of the year and you are out there year round. However, hunters are going to be out there whether you are or not. If you can't change your routine, make sure they know you are there.
3. Be aware
This is good advice for any time of year. Look at the local game laws - when does bow season start? When does general firearms season start, is there a youth or resident only hunting day, when do those seasons end? Yes, as someone who uses these areas, it is your responsibility to know these things if you run/hike/walk in areas you know people will be hunting. The hunters definitely know these things and have been waiting all year for hunting season to start.
Look to see if there are vehicles parked in places they normally are not, are people riding around or walking around in fluorescent orange? Do you hear more strange noises coming from the woods than usual (hunters attempt to call in, game animals - usually you can tell the difference (secret - if it is a noise you don't normally hear in those areas - look for fluorescent orange) ;-)
4. Avoid Confrontation
You may not like or agree with hunting, but getting into a disagreement over its merits when you are in running clothes and the hunter is carrying, is dumb and potentially dangerous, especially. If you have the misfortune of running into a slob hunter (it is what I call those hunters, who shouldn't be in the woods and are probably have the same attitude as those drivers who aim at you when you are running on the roads).
When you see hunters if they are on stand or in the woods, just wave and keep moving, 99.9% the hunters will probably grimace at you, wave back and just want you to get to hell out of there. Unfortunately, some slob hunters might yell at you questioning your parentage and tell you to get to fuck out of my area and don't come back, etc. - don't give them the pleasure of a response, use the adrenaline boost to go a little faster and get out of there - it isn't worth the hassle and besides it will interrupt a perfectly good run.
Although and to be honest, I have been known to use the middle finger salute as I keep going - I don't recommend it, because it only escalates the situation, but it has made me feel better and let's the hunter know my feelings about what they are saying, but the best response is just to keep going and ignore their ignorance.
5. Be Respectful of Landowner Rights
If you see a posted sign on the trail, road or area you are running on, respect that sign. If it includes 'no trespassing', etc. respect that the land owner doesn't want you on their property whether you are running or hunting. As inconvenient as it might be, turn around and find an alternative route to finish your run.
It is something to think about, especially if you are running on trails, logging roads or private roads, during hunting season (actually year-round) is who's property is it that you are running on and what the right of way rules are for that area - do you have permission to use that area.
That person who is out hunting might just be hunting on their own property and you are the one who is trespassing (breaking the law), so if a property owner asks you or tells you to not run on their property or to turn around - they do have that right and you need to follow their instructions.
This is something that I find that many runners forget about - property owner rights supercede a runner's right to run where or when they want to.
The reality is
that it is hunting season in many areas of the country and to be safe, we need to do a couple of things slightly differently - it is the way it is and it doesn't matter if you are pro hunting or anti-hunting.
I have been that guy sitting in my tree stand when some "stupid" runner comes along and scares away whatever it is I am hunting and I have been the runner who has been verbally assaulted and confronted by slob hunters when I have been out running.
I will continue to be a hunter and I will also continue to be a runner during hunting season. However, I will do everything within my power to keep myself and others safe when I am doing either one.
It means that runners and hunters both have the responsibility to use common sense, to make sure that the woods are a safe place for either to do the activity of their choice.
The bottom-line is that if we use some common sense, hunters and runners can co-exist quite nicely.