Folks, it's that time of the year where hunters call flock to the woods to keep up the tradition of hunting in northern Michigan. Everyone has their way of enjoying the outdoors, and with rifle season starting November 15, we want to make sure everyone has a safe season.
Regular firearm season is November 15-30, which means trail users will experience higher volumes of foot traffic and hunters in the woods of Glacial Hills this weekend in particular. Hunting is permitted at Glacial, and while we don't want to discourage anyone from spending time in nature, we do ask that all trail users consider allowing hunters their special time. This not only enhances the hunting experience, but also allows for a safer two-week winter for everyone.
If you do decide to hit the woods, it's best to do so more than two hours after dawn, and to be out of the woods two to three hours before dusk. With sunrises just before 8am and sunsets around 5:30, a good time might be the middle of the day, when deer populations tend to hunker down and many hunters take a break.
Always wear bright colors, ideally blaze orange. If you're hiking with a pet, make sure they have some color too. Even if you don't get them a vest, consider covering them with a yellow, blue, orange, or pink t-shirt or sweatshirt; avoid earth tones or white.
We highly recommend leaving your ear buds at home so you can listen for hunters trying to communicate, and while it can be a good idea to make reasonable noise, like whistling, try not to make unnecessary that might frighten wildlife. Try to avoid any deer stands or blinds that you might encounter, and if you do hear gunfire, yell "Hello!" or a non-confrontational warning to alert hunters of your presence.
Hunting is allowed on state land by the Michigan Department of Natural Resources, and you'll experience hunters at most Northern Michigan Mountain Bike Association trails, including the Supply Road Singletrack in Traverse City, the Cadillac Pathway, and other trails like Arcadia Dunes near Frankfort. Many locals opt to ride trainers, run, hit gravel roads, or put in some laps at the Commons, located behind the State Hospital in Traverse City.
Let's have a safe, respectful rifle season and all get ready for what's shaping up to be an incredible winter for snow sports!
For more on rifle season, muzzle loading season, and other hunting regulations, head here.