by Ralph Artigliere, Education Director for the Blue Ridge Mountain Chapter; reprinted from the BRM November 2014 Newsletter
- Anglers and hunters often share the same woods during their activities this fall and winter.
- Most hunters are well educated as to hunting safety in public areas.
- Wearing orange, red, fluorescent yellow, or bright blue clothing will help hunters know to avoid you.
- Talking, remaining alert for signs of hunters can also help you remain safe.
Fall brings many good sporting opportunities to outdoorsmen, including trout fishermen and women. But it is also hunting season in North Georgia, and that puts armed folks in the same woods that hold our trout streams. All hunters should be trained in gun safety and most are capable and alert while wielding a weapon as dangerous as a gun. But accidents can and do happen during target practice or the hunt. Unless you take steps to be identified as a human, a small minority of hunters on the trail of game may mistake you or your movement for prey and shoot before positively identifying the target. It only takes one careless or thoughtless hunter to cause great harm, and it happens every year.
The first defense is to make like a hunter and wear colors other than camo or green or brown. For fishermen this is tough because our waders, vests, packs, and gear are designed to not spook fish, and we are told not to wear bright colors. That advice does not apply during hunting season, especially when hiking or fishing in wildlife management areas, federal or state forests, or private tracts where hunting is permitted. Include orange, red, fluorescent yellow, or bright blue clothing in sufficient amounts to differentiate you from surrounding game and woody backdrop. While hiking in to the stream, talk with each other. Remain alert for visual or auditory signs of hunting, like gunshots or someone working dogs. Sharing the woods with hunters puts some responsibility on you to differentiate yourself from hunting targets. It is much better to be safe than sorry.