Friday, October 19, 2012

I hate hunting season

I have many friends who hunt. While I don't share their enthusiasm for it, the activity itself isn't what bothers me. I just hate having to make myself visible in the woods.

As a courtesy to hunters, one should wear high-visibility clothing. I hate high-visibility clothing. I may not be a master of concealment in the wilderness, but I hate to draw attention. I would prefer to go unnoticed.

My mountaineering garb is brightly colored, partly because it was the fashion at the time and partly to make my body easier to find in case I don't return from the realm of bare rock, ice and snow. However, as I've gotten older I have been more attracted to the idea of disappearing without a trace than with being found. I'm just too cheap to invest in more subtly-colored shell garments. But in the woods and forested lower mountains I can wear my preferred darker hues because I have clothing good for those environments in earth tones. Just not when people are tromping around out there looking for large mammals to kill.

When I rode a mountain bike a lot on the trails around my area I had a blaze orange helmet cover and other brightly-colored clothing options. Biking isn't conducive to concealment anyway. It was no hardship to put on the clown suit for the sake of safety. And now I don't ride the mountain bike that way, so it's not an issue. The places I ride don't traverse particularly good hunting areas.

Hiking is a different matter. My house sits in some prime deer and bear habitat. If I go for my customary bushwhack straight out the back door I could run into a hunter within a hundred yards. I don't post my property, respecting its ancestral uses. I have seen hunters entering and leaving the woods along the stone wall at the far end of my domain. One time I even surprised a bowhunter on one of my trails who turned out to be a cycling friend I hadn't seen in years. He brought a near-record buck out of the woods later that year. When he showed up at my door on a chilly November evening, sweaty, out of breath and smeared with blood it was very similar to opening the door to find my proud cat with a dead rodent, only much, much bigger. I helped him load it onto the roof rack of his Subaru wagon.

The hunters deserve their time. I just have to wait it out or go to places I know would not attract them, like the steep and windswept higher summits. Or, more likely, I stay too busy with delayed preparations for winter to go into the woods at all.


rlove2bike said...

I just discovered your blogs...don't ask why it took so long, because I do not know. Our surroundings must be similar, as I also live in the middle of hunting/trapping area in North WI. Wearing the bright clothes is a must. Although I have hunted hard in earlier years and my two sons still hunt our property, getting out on public land is taking ones life in their hand. One death in our county this year that I am aware of...hunter shot his buddy mistaken him for a deer. For two weeks a year, I relent to only riding at night. Next post I make I will add your cycling blog to my blog list. I have enjoyed reading your blogs.

Thanks for posting,

cafiend said...

Thanks for reading! I'll try to keep up the quality.