For thousands of outdoors enthusiasts, fall is the perfect time for a stroll in the woods. However, it also happens to be hunting season – a time during which hikers and hunters must share the forest.
In Quebec, under the Act respecting the conservation and development of wildlife, no person may knowingly hinder a person who is lawfully hunting. The opposite is also true, meaning everyone is entitled to enjoy the outdoors. It’s simply a matter of common sense!
A good understanding between the two parties
Until now, hikers and hunters have been co-existing peacefully without incident. Statistics compiled in the last few years by the ministère des Forêts, de la Faune et des Parcs (MFFP) show that only one accident has been documented for every 100,000 permits issued. And the accidents involved only hunters.
Despite this peaceful co-existence, hikers and hunters must be extra careful when travelling through a forest during hunting season. If you’re planning to trek through a forest this fall, here are a few tips that will offer you peace of mind.
- Wear bright clothing.
- Wear a fluorescent orange garment according to MFFP guidelines.
- Consult the regulations for hiking and hunting, as well as the hunting periods and zones.
- Respect the designated hunting zones. They are usually indicated by hunting signs.
- Travel in groups and stay together.
- Make your way through forests during the day, between 9:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m. Hunters are usually more active at sunrise and sunset.
- Be courteous when you meet a hunter.
- If you hear gun shots, talk out loud to announce your presence.
- Report any violations to the Sûreté du Québec.
- Stay on the marked trails or public roads and pay attention to signs.
These safety tips are sure to reduce the risks of a fatal accident or injury. However, wouldn’t it be wiser to just “avoid areas frequented by hunters and use the opportunity to hike somewhere else,” as suggested by Réal Martel, President of the Sentier national au Québec (hiking trails in Quebec ) and member of the Fédération québécoise de la marche (Quebec walking federation)?