MagazineJanuary 2010Should hunters and hikers share the same trails?

Should hunters and hikers share the same trails?

37% Yes
I both hike and hunt and have done so for a number of years. The trails in the national parks are off-limits to hunters. In the national forests I have found they are shared with mutual respect. I have not had any problems or felt in danger.
—Mark Wenger, Williamsburg, Va.

Both sides should take appropriate safety measures. Hunters are required to wear fluorescent orange when rifle/shotgun hunting, so they are visible to other hunters. Hikers should do the same and go a step further and not wear white or brown.
—George Cowan, Virginia Beach, Va.

I am both an avid hiker and avid hunter. It would be quite selfish for either party to think they own the land. It should be shared. Anyone hunting near a hiking trail is probably not much of a hunter, since there generally would be very little if any game close to well-traveled hiking trails.
—BL, via e-mail

hunt_hike_clip_FIX copy63% No
I returned from a 15-month deployment to Iraq completely intact. I was lucky then, but I do not want to continue trying my luck. There need to be large buffer zones between hunters and hikers. For anyone who lacks the experience of hearing bullets whiz by their head, please understand bullets do not stop because you are wearing a specific color, or because you are being nice and sharing the land. A bullet carries velocity and travels a significant distance. Foresight of a backstop for a bullet is required. I do not wish to be hit by an errant bullet that misses the intended target.
—Dale Wyrick, Asheville, N.C.

A walk in the woods is not worth dying for. There are enough accidents amongst hunters. We don’t need hikers being additional targets. I am in favor of maintaining segregated zones and letting everyone live to pursue their respective passions.
—Richard, via e-mail

It’s terrifying to go to Bent Creek near Asheville, N.C., and see men walking down the trails with loaded guns while children pass by with their parents and hikers walk by with their dogs. It ruins the atmosphere to hear gunshots while out enjoying the woods since there is nothing natural about it. I go into the forest to enjoy nature and see the animals, not to hear them being killed by hunters. We have all heard stories of hunters accidentally shooting people and it’s just not worth the risk.
—Michelle Wolf, Asheville, N.C.

As a veterinarian I despise this time of year because hunters will shoot at anything that moves. I see five to 10 gunshot wounds every week. Even with the ban of firing a gun on Sunday, I am still afraid of any hunter I see on the trails because of this fact.
—Jonathan Adcock, via e-mail

I’m sick of feeling like I am going to get gunned down every time I go out for a trail run or bike ride. I’ve been on the Shut-In Trail a lot lately, and every time I’ve heard gunshots coming from Bent Creek. What kind of idiot thinks that would be a good place to hunt with all the bikers, hikers, and dogs?
—Natalie Payne, Asheville, N.C.

I believe there should be enough restricted areas so that hikers/bikers and hunters shouldn’t use the same trail areas. I have nothing against hunters, but their sport does present a danger to the hikers. Personally I hike with my dog, a lab, and I am always concerned about her safety as much as my own during hiking season. I’m not suggesting that anyone’s activities be restricted—just the areas in which they are doing them.
—Valerie Dieter, via e-mail

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