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Hiking during hunting season, and free park access on Veterans Day

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Fall and winter are busy times in Colorado; changing colors and mild fall weather keep us outside, hiking and cycling, and snow brings about skiing, snowboarding and snowshoeing. It's also hunting season in Colorado, with hunters from around the country coming to our forests to hunt. 

With hikers and hunters frequently using the same spaces, such as the Pike National Forest, parts of Mueller State Park and neighboring Dome Rock State Wildlife Area, there is always the slight chance of something going wrong. Mandatory hunting safety courses have brought the average number of fatal and non-fatal hunting accidents down to 1 and about four per year, respectively (most recent data from 2015), but Colorado Parks and Wildlife Technician Bret Mathers offers the following advice for hikers to make sure there's nothing to worry about:

Keep an eye out for hunters, who will be wearing bright orange clothing.

Stay on the trails and minimize bushwhacking. "There are established trails that give plenty of scenery," says Mathers.

Mathers also suggests that hikers wear a bright colored hat of coat. It doesn't have to be orange, but some kind of bright color. If you're hiking with your dog, hunting season is a good time to either leave your dog home, or to keep your pooch on a leash, so the dog doesn't get confused with smaller game animals. If they're coming along it's also a good idea to put something bright on your dog, whether it is a orange vest or a brightly colored t-shirt.

The American Hiking Society suggests that hikers research the dates for hunting season and talk with hunting clubs to get suggestions of areas to avoid. AHS also recommends bright clothing with reflective panels for dawn and dusk hiking.

Free park access for Veterans Day


Veterans Day is November 11th, and admission to Colorado State Parks is free to veterans and active duty military. You need  to provide proof of military service to take get in for free.

Entry is free to everyone at all U.S. National Parks this weekend.

Happy Trails!

Bob Falcone is a retired firefighter, photographer, hiker, college instructor, business owner and author of Hiking Bob's Tips, Tricks and Trails, available via his website. He has lived in Colorado Springs for 25 years. Follow him on Twitter (@hikingbob), Facebook (Hiking Bob), Instagram (@HikingBob_CO) or visit his website (Hikingbob.com). E-mail questions, comments, suggestions, etc to Bob: info@hikingbob.com.

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