The popular deer hunting season runs from November 19 to 27, but varieties of small game hunting run well into the winter months. This means that many publicly accessible hiking areas will be hunting grounds for the next few months. Here’s what to know if you’re hiking while hunting.
First of all, be aware that hunting incidents are very rare. Last year, there were just four incidents statewide during the nine-day hunt, when about 600,000 hunters were actively hunting. (And two of those incidents were self-inflicted.)
Although the risk is low, it is wise to wear high visibility clothing such as bright orange or high visibility yellow and green.
Be aware that much of the hunting is done at dawn and dusk: the last two to four hours of sunlight of the day. So the midday hike is probably the least busy and therefore the safest time when it comes to hunting.
Hunters must register and receive a special permit to hunt in the parks. If hunters are registered and licensed at a park, an orange flyer will be in the kiosk at those parks informing patrons that hunters are also present at that park during a given hunting season. Outside the legal hunting seasons, from November 15 to April 1, no hunting is allowed.
If you prefer to go out in areas where there is no hunting, check out the list below, which details county parks that do not allow any kind of hunting.
There are areas in state parks that are off-limits to hunting. In Potawatomi, Peninsula, and Whitefish Dunes, you can find no-hunting areas that offer hiking. Check these designated areas on each park’s seasonal map at dnr.wi.gov.
Door County Land Trust properties allow hunting for the most part, but some sections of some reservations are no-hunting. The land trust’s website has a helpful table that details each hunting season and what reserves are available for hunting at doorcountylandtrust.org/how-we-save-land/hunting-program.
County parks that do not allow hunting
Ahnapee State Trail
Baileys Harbor Ridges
Robert M. Carmody*
Quai des Chaudoirs*
Percy Johnson Memorial*
Lyle Harter’s Sanctuary of Matter
John Miles (formerly County Fairgrounds Park)
George K. Pinney (formerly Olde Stone Quarry)*
*15 acres or less