I HAVE MOVED

After a lot of thought and consideration -- I have decided to retire One Foot in Reality and leave it as an Archive. I will still monitor it to keep the trolls at bay, but will not be posting here any longer.

If you are looking for my new posts, please go to www.haroldlshaw.com .

Thank you for all they years of following One Foot In Reality.

Harold

Saturday, September 19, 2015

Hunting Season - Time to Think About It

Hunting season – it means different things to different people. It all depends on your background and experiences.
Personally, I do not care if you agree with hunting or not. That doesn’t really matter, the fact is that hunting season happens every year and it does change how you have to look at or get ready for a run in those areas where there are hunters to remain safe.
Yes, that means that runners do have to change some of the things they normally take for granted, during hunting season.
Pam-Dad with Old Toughy
A picture of Dad and his deer from the mid 1990's
First and Foremost
Do not stereotype hunters or runners.
Just because there is the stereotypical cartoon hunter out there who is 100 pounds overweight, hasn’t showered in weeks, can’t get out of their 4WD truck/quad/wheeler and walk 50 yards, are always pictured having a beer in one hand and a cigarette in the other, with a gun leaning up against a tree, while they are taking a crap or nap, as a deer walks by.
Sorry to destroy your stereotypical image of a hunter.

Most are decent people who might be: your neighbors, teachers, farmers, doctors, lawyers and all the other variety of professions, and can be any race or gender.
Scanned Image 230
You might even be surprised when as you are going by if that “gun or bow toting” guy or gal in orange asks you how many miles you are doing, what is your next race and says “hope to see you there”.
Yeah there are hunters who are also runners out there.

My Experience

I would say about 95% of both runners and hunters are good people who simply want to enjoy their sport undisturbed, with the other 5% being people I do not like and choose not to be around or associated with - you know the assholes (just being blunt) that exist in both sports.
However, there is one big difference between the two groups and it is.
  • 100% of hunters are armed with weapons that are designed to kill
  • 99% of runners are unarmed.
Yep, I think that this is pretty accurate.
This means that hunters have the responsibility to abide by the hunting laws and regulations for the area they are in and to use the lethal weapons they are carrying and using safely. Since this is primarily a running blog, I am going to focus on what are in my opinion runner’s responsibilities during hunting season. 

What are runner’s responsibilities?

It also means that during hunting season that runners, who run in areas where there might be hunters also have responsibilities as well to keep themselves safe too.
So do not bother commenting about the evils of hunting, this post is about staying safe during hunting season.

10 Things to think about:

1. Be aware of when hunting season is open. Know when hunting season opens/closes, what animals are going to be hunted. Most of the time you can go to your State’s Webpage and find out the dates.
Check your State's rules and hunting season dates, so you are aware of when the different seasons start and just as importantly end. If you live in Maine here is the link to the e-Regulations for 2015.
Just a reminder: Archery hunters do not wear orange and are usually well-camouflaged, so you might not even see them. Gun hunters are usually required to wear florescent orange, so you probably will see them.
2. Be seen. If you are running in areas where hunting is allowed, be safe and wear fluorescent colors, just like you would for running on busy highway - 

you want to be seen


Personally, I usually wear a florescent orange and something bright yellow or blue (colors different from the orange hunters wear), just to cue them that I am not a hunter.

screen-shot-2013-11-05-at-12-20-08-pm

DO NOT wear browns, blacks, grays or white.

3. Dawn/dusk. Prime times for hunting are dawn and dusk. If you have to run in an area where hunting is allowed, use a light and wear reflective clothing (just like you should in high vehicle traffic areas).
Hint: Critters do not carry lights.
4. Be flexible. Yeah it sucks sometimes, but running in heavily hunted areas is probably not the safest thing to do. Yes you have the right to go where you want, but…well it is better to be safe than sorry.
If possible change your routes or times that you run. Honestly, running in areas of high hunter concentrations, just isn’t fun. I do not know about you, but if or when a gun shot goes off fairly close by, I get nervous (whether on a street in town or in the woods).
5. Avoid confrontations. Most of the time a hunter will see a runner coming, sigh or mutter some endearing words about the runner’s family tree to themselves and generally will wave as you go by. That is what usually happens.
Sometimes wearing a bear bell during hunting season is not a bad idea, the hunter will know someone is coming and not get ready for whatever critter they are hunting coming around the bend, only to see it is only a damn runner.
However, if you run into one of the 5% of hunters who are assholes and they yell/scream at you about how you are ruining their hunt, just keep going. Don’t stoop to their level and on your way by, salute them with that middle finger as you go down the trail/road.
Remember during hunting season that asshat is armed and could be dangerous, if provoked.
6. Don’t initiate a confrontation.  This is something that many non-hunters don't realize, is that many states have laws against harassing hunters, who are legally hunting. Remember that many of those hunters have their cell phones with them too and could be videotaping what you are doing or calling law enforcement to report that someone is harassing them. In some hunter safety courses, this has been suggested as an alternative course of action for the hunter, to avoid confrontations that make hunters look bad.
7. Use your phone. If someone is beginning to get belligerent, whip out your phone (you are carrying a phone right), and calmly say “excuse me, but I have to take this phone call”, start talking like you are speaking with someone and back away. Then get back to where you feel safe the quickest, whether is going back the way you just came or taking a different path.
Most people are so programmed to stop and let someone take a phone call, it may disrupt/diffuse the situation just enough for you to move safely away.
If the situation continues to escalate, dial 9-1-1 and attempt to continue to move away from the asshat and report it to the police or game warden, when you safely can.
8. More traffic/more people. That quiet country road, dirt road or trail that normally does not have hardly any vehicle or foot traffic on it for most of the year, suddenly might have a lot more vehicle traffic on it.
Is where you usually run, safe to run with a LOT more traffic going by?
Think about it…how far in the pucker brush will you have to go if two vehicles try to go by or in many cases if just one tries to go by. Will you feel comfortable with that number of strangers around you in fairly remote areas, who all are carrying weapons?
Personally, I prefer to move my running into town, instead of running down-back as often. I just feel more comfortable.
9. For you woman runners. I know this sounds sexist – okay maybe it is, but it is also reality.
Run with a partner or two, preferably one of them being a guy.
There are more people out and about on the back roads and trails during hunting season – just the way it is, which means that there are more evil people out there, not just the asshats – there have been many posts and articles written about this and there have been far too many stories lately of runners being killed, hurt or attempts being made to do so, especially when they are in areas where not many people are around.
Be sure that you are safe and this goes year round, not just hunting season.
10. Carry pepper spray. This is something runners should be doing year round, especially if you run by yourself (male or female). It can give you a chance to escape a potential attacker (human or critter).
Bonus:
Respect Private Property. If you are running on private property, ensure that you have permission from the landowner to run there, something many runners take for granted and do not do. After all there is a trail, so we can just run on it – right…ummmm no, not all trails are open to the public.
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That hunter you see on private property, might just be the landowner and you might be the one who is trespassing and possibly breaking the law. Also you are representing other runners to that landowner. Think about it, if you are an asshat to them, they might close off an area to you and other runners in the future.

The reality is

That if you run in areas open to hunting, you will probably meet or go by a hunter, during your State’s hunting season.

Just the way it is.
How you chose to react to or about hunting season is your choice, but runners need to accept the fact that they are going to be sharing those areas with hunters and that they probably have as much right to be there as you do.
Running during hunting season, does not mean that you have to change everything you do or where you run, but you need to be aware that hunting season does mean being more flexible and thinking about where, when and what you are wearing when you go for your run.
I know I do, especially during hunting season, both as a runner and a hunter.

This post originally appeared on One Foot In Reality if you see it elsewhere, it has been used without permission, please go to my site to see the original post.

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