The popular gun deer hunting season runs Nov. 19-27, but varieties of small-game hunting take place well into the winter months. This means that many hiking areas with public access will be hunting grounds for the next few months. Here’s what to know if you go hiking during the hunt.
First, know that hunting incidents are very rare. Last year, there were only four incidents statewide during the nine-day hunt, when an estimated 600,000 hunters were actively hunting. (And two of those incidents were self-inflicted.)
Though the risk is low, it’s wise to wear high-visibility clothing such as blaze orange or high-vis yellow and green.
Be aware that a large amount of hunting is done during the dawn and dusk hours: the first and last two to four hours of sunlight each day. Thus, hiking midday is likely to be the least busy and thus the most safe period as far as hunting goes.
Hunters do need to register and receive a special permit to hunt in the parks. If hunters are registered and permitted in a park an orange flier will be in the kiosk at these parks notifying patrons that hunters are also present in that park during a given hunting season.” Outside of the legal hunting seasons, Nov.15 – Apr. 1, no hunting is allowed.
If you prefer to get outside in areas where there’s no hunting, review the list below, which details the county parks that do not allow hunting of any kind.
There are areas within the state parks that are off limits to hunting. At Potawatomi, Peninsula and Whitefish Dunes, you can find hunting-free areas that offer hiking. Check for these designated areas on the seasonal map for each park at dnr.wi.gov.
The Door County Land Trust properties allow hunting for the most part, but some sections of some preserves are hunt-free. The land trust’s website has a helpful chart that details each hunt season and which preserves 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*
Percy Johnson Memorial*
Lyle Harter Matter Sanctuary
John Miles (formerly County Fairgrounds Park)
George K. Pinney (formerly Olde Stone Quarry)*
*15 acres or smaller