If you’re planning a hike to Palomar Mountain in California this fall, give some careful consideration to your outfit. My friend Amy Rouillard and I thought about ours, and we both wore long-sleeve shirts and hats to protect ourselves from the sun.

We didn’t think about wearing blaze orange to protect ourselves from a stray arrow. We were unaware that the day we chose for our hike, 09-06, was also opening day for Archery Deer Hunting Season.

We began our leisurely hike in the Fry Campground area. First we spotted a couple of guys with what we thought were rifles, but they said were BB guns. Then we saw several guys walking around wearing camo. After hiking past a camping area filled with guys hanging out, also covered in camo, we decided it was high time to turn around.

When a Fish and Wildlife truck drove by, we flagged him down. He suggested that instead of hiking in the Cleveland National Forest, where hunting is allowed, we might want to hike in Palomar Mountain State Park, where it is not. Not allowed, hunting, that is.

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We discussed the possibility of rogue arrows. Amy and I both remembered the stories in the news about rogue bullets—celebrities such as our former Vice President Dick Cheney, for example, who accidentally shot his friend while quail hunting. His friend ended up in the intensive care unit twice before apologizing to Cheney for getting in the way of Cheney’s wild bullet . . .

Archery season in our region, it turns out, lasts until September 28, then rifle season begins, then it’s archery season again until December 15.

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blaze orange FF6700

Next time we go for a hike, Amy and I will wear our new blaze orange, aka hunter orange, shirts from Cabelas. But I think we’ll still choose to hike in Palomar Mountain State Park until hunting season is over on December 16.

All photos shot at Palomar Mountain State Park.

Posted by deborah small

8 Comments

  1. Just to add some info:

    Deer season in SD this year started on September 6th for Archery, and ran through last weekend (for the specific, A-22 archery tag). Rifle season starts this weekend and ends on the 24th of November. After that the A-22 tag runs until the end of December (the 28th).

    From a hiker and archery and rifle hunter… I would have very little worry about hiking in areas where archery hunting was underway. Typical archery shots are under 30 yards and arrows don’t travel much further than that (unless aimed skyward). The risk of an errant arrow striking a hiker is approaching zero. I would be more wary about rifle season, especially opening weekend when most of the frenzy is underway. Errant bullets can travel much further than errant arrows. Wearing bright clothing is a good idea at any time during the season.

    Also, don’t be too put off by the camo… it’s just misguided fashion sense, really 😉

    Good hiking!

    -Nick

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  2. Charming blog. I love your photos.

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    1. Thank you Valerie.?

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  3. That was a great blog post! Humor blended with some really great photos. You make it all look so wonderfully engaging.

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    1. Thanks Susan!

      It’s interesting that in California, hunters themselves are not required to wear Hunter Orange. It is only Strongly Recommended. In many states it’s required. They’ll even tell you the exact number of square inches of hunter orange you must wear.

      When I spoke to someone at the International Hunter Education Association about the disparity, she said (no surprise) it’s political. She did tell me that she has hunted for 13 years, and she wouldn’t hike anywhere near where there were any hunters. That’s her personal opinion, she said, because she can’t speak for the International Hunter Education Association where she works. That’s political too, I imagine.

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  4. Wonderful photos and great blog. Thanks for the heads up…coming back from Chiapas and will be sure to head for Palomar State Park rather than Cleveland National Forest.

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    1. lol…I didn’t mean to be Anonymous! Peter Brown

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      1. Thanks Peter. And I want to tell you that I think the work you are doing in Chiapas, and in the U.S., is remarkable!

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