The GMC urges hikers to remember that all the land crossed by the Long Trail is open to hunting. Many other Vermont trails also cross prime hunting land. Hikers should be aware that there might be hunters in the woods for much of the fall and winter. Deer rifle season is a time of particular concern because there are so many more hunters then than at any other time.
The exact dates of hunting seasons change each year. Here are the dates of some of this year’s hunting seasons. (This information is from the 2004 Vermont Digest of Hunting, Fishing and Trapping Laws, available free from game wardens, places that sell outdoor equipment, and many country stores. Veterinarians and pet food stores often offer bright-colored cards with hunting season dates.)
- Deer Rifle Season November 13-28
- Youth Deer Hunting Weekend November 6 - 7
- Bow and Arrow Deer Season October 2 - 24
- and December 4 - 12
- Muzzleloader Deer Season December 4-12
- Black Bear Season September 1 - November 17
There are also fall or winter seasons for hunting ducks, geese, grouse, turkeys, squirrels, rabbits, beaver, otter, mink, raccoons, fishers, fox, skunks, and bobcats.
Hikers should take special safety precautions during late fall. Always wear blaze (fluorescent) orange. You can get blaze orange vests and jackets at outdoor supply stores. Never go out into the woods dressed all in brown, tan, or black. Don’t wear clothing with patches of white that might be mistaken for the white tail of a deer. Any pets that hike with you should also wear blaze orange, in the form of good-sized harnesses or “saddle blankets”.
Vermont’s hunters and hikers have co-existed safely for generations. Maintaining this record requires common sense, caution and preparation from both groups!