I want to preface this article by saying I have nothing against hunters. In fact, most of my childhood dinners consisted of meat that my dad provided via hunting. That said, as a runner, I don’t always enjoy the ramifications of hunting season. Not every hunter is the person I will portray in this article – but the ones who are, make trail runners dread hunting season.
Number one hunting season annoyance for me is the crazy driving. I don’t know why dudes feel it’s necessary to drive like animals on their way to shoot animals. Trail runners must remain constantly vigilant during hunting season. Try to leave your headphones at home, or at least keep the volume down and one earpiece out of your ear.
Also, be fully prepared to jump in a ditch. While running logging roads last weekend, my friend and I had two different vehicles scare the tar out of us. One tried to roost us with gravel, and the other veered toward us like he was going to hit us. I don’t care what time of year it is, how old you are, or how your momma raised you – this is disgusting behavior, and there is no excuse for it.
During hunting season, there is a higher risk of a trail runner getting shot. It’s not a huge risk if the runner keeps to roads or hiking trails and doesn’t go traipsing through the forest, but the risk is still there. You’d hope many of these hunters would use trail cameras (you can learn more about them at https://feedthatgame.com/trail-cameras-for-security-surveillance/) so they could better keep track of the movement of their prey but not everyone does. Stay on the trail, and make sure to wear bright colors. Whatever you do, do not wear black or brown, and unquestionably do not wear an antler headband.
This next item isn’t necessarily hunter related, but more for anyone who drops their litter on the ground. No matter who you are: leave no trace. It is so sad to see garbage on the trail or collected in ditches. The Pacific Northwest is one of the most beautiful places, and I hate to see trash wherever I look.
Another reason runners dread hunting season is the frisky and frantic wild animals running from hunters. Not only are deer and elk out and about looking for a mate, but they also are avoiding people. That doesn’t mean an unsuspecting trail runner won’t come across a herd trying to get from A to B.
We also have to worry about the apex predators more during the Fall (aka hunting season). This is the time of year when bear and cougar have young ones with them. It is also the time of year when these animals are trying to eat as much food as possible. Both reasons make them a little on the cantankerous side. Run with a bear bell and some mace in your pocket.
Does hunting season keep me from running my local trails and logging roads? Nope, but I am more observant runner during hunting season, and I try to only run with a buddy. I’m sure hunters think that runners are as disruptive and annoying as we think they are. Stay on trails, wear bright colors, and try to be as quiet as you can so you can get your run done without incident.
Lucky for us, hunting season doesn’t last forever. It just feels that way.