Thursday, October 10, 2013

Head's up! General deer season opens today, ducks Saturday; here's a few places to avoid the cross-fire

Rifle hunting seasons are kicking in statewide as of today ... 
Hi all,

Well, it's that time of year again ... General deer season opens statewide today, Thursday, Oct. 10, and it runs through the end of the month in many areas, including Unit 39 in the Boise River Mountains area. Duck season opens on Saturday, so if you planned on going for a hike near Swan Falls, be aware that duck hunters might be hiking out there, too, jump-shooting ducks.

Rifle elk season kicks in on Nov. 1-9 in Unit 39, and in some areas, such as in the McCall area, elk season overlaps with a portion of deer season, from Oct. 15 through Nov. 3.

The upshot is if you want to go camping, backpacking, hiking or mountain biking in the backcountry this coming weekend, you should expect to see hunters, hear gunfire, and harvested animals hanging in camp. If this makes you feel uncomfortable, then consider going to places where you won't encounter hunters. See below.
Put some bright colors on your pup, too ... 
At this time of year, from a safety standpoint, it's smart to wear bright colors, like a blaze-orange hat, and a bright-colored coat. If you're taking your dog with you, put some type of blaze orange garment on your pet to prevent a bad accident.

Check the Idaho Department of Fish and Game hunting page to check on the hunting seasons where you are planning a backcountry adventure. The hunting seasons are set up according to big game unit. It'll take a few minutes to figure out the regulations. They are very complicated to say the least, and in general, the seasons are tied to specific animals, such as deer, elk, black bear, mountain lion, wolves, moose, etc. 

Here are a two places where you will not see hunters: 
  • Lower Boise Foothills Trails - Any of the lower foothills trails should be safe, except for the lower trails near Harris Ranch ... those trails are in the Boise River Wildlife Management Areas, and you will see hunters out there. 
  • Idaho State Parks - All of the state parks are closed to hunting. And they're not affected by the federal shutdown.  
  • Boise River Greenbelt - This is a safe bet for the length of the pathway from Eagle to Lucky Peak. 
  • Wood River Trail - The paved Wood River Trail from Bellevue to Ketchum is a safe place to go, too. The colors might be turning in the Wood River Valley, too. 
Places where you will see hunters? All national forests, BLM lands, Owyhee Canyonlands, Morley Nelson Snake River Birds of Prey Area, etc.  
Pack the house for Boise Foothills open space concert next Wednesday! It starts at 7 p.m. at the Visual Arts Collective in Garden City. Steve Fulton and Shon Sanders, Bill Coffey and Special Guests will play music. This is a fund-raiser for the open space campaign. Plus, volunteers can get signed up to help with the campaign. Tell your friends. See you there! 
On Saturday, SWIMBA will be doing more work on the super-cool Mahalo Trail on the Boise Ridge. People are meeting at Highlands Elementary School at 10 a.m. to carpool to the trailhead. Bring sturdy shoes, work gloves and a lunch. 

Have fun out there!
- SS 

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