5 Tips for Hunting Safety Near the Appalachian Trail

While hunting on state game lands, hunters should be aware of the following precautions to ensure the safety of others and themselves.

Seventy-two of the 145 miles of the Appalachian Trail (AT) from the Susquehanna River to the Delaware Water Gap pass through state game lands.

1. Be alert for hikers and make your presence known to them. Many hikers are from urban or suburban areas and are unfamiliar with hunting. Hikers may not be aware of hunting seasons, or that they are in or near areas open to hunting. Hikers may not be wearing blaze orange. Please use appropriate caution.

2. Wear fluorescent orange. On state game lands in Pennsylvania, all hunters and non-hunters are required to wear at least 250 square inches of fluorescent orange material on the head, chest and back combined, or a fluorescent orange hat, from Nov. 15–Dec.15 (except on Sundays). The orange material must be visible from all angles (360 degrees). Fines can be imposed if this regulation is not followed.

3. Know National Park Service Lands regulations. The act of hunting and discharging of weapons remains prohibited on National Park Service Lands managed by the Appalachian Trail Park Office. The use of off-road vehicles, including ATV's, is prohibited along the entire length of the Appalachian Trail.

4. Be sure of your target. On National Forest lands in 2002 and 2003, two Appalachian Trail hikers were shot by hunters who thought they were shooting at deer. Both hikers suffered serious injuries; both hunters were prosecuted.

5. Know where the trail is located. The AT is often located on the height of the land. Appalachian Trail maps can be purchased from the Appalachian Trail Conservancy and at local outfitters.

Those hunting in Pennsylvania, where land ownership boundaries can be especially confusing, are encouraged to contact the ATC Mid-Atlantic Regional Office located at 4 East First Street, Boiling Springs (717-258-5771) for assistance in determining where hunting is permitted.

Allentown Outdoorsman Examiner Duane Sedlock is an avid photographer and adventurous outdoors person.

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