Be aware and take care during peak hunting season

A reminder that hunting becomes more intensive at this time of year, and you may encounter hunters on some trails in Williamstown over the next few months.

dirt track in the woods

Trails in the area traverse multiple parcels, on some of which hunting is permitted, and on others, not. Hiking in our area is further complicated by trails that are in three different states–each with their own hunting seasons and regulations.

Below find links to the regulations for each state, and here we present general good practices for trail visitors during peak hunting season (October-December).

  • Be known. Wear bright colors. Blaze orange is the most visible. Avoid colors that blend in, such as brown, black, green or gray. Avoid using white gloves, scarves or hats, which may look like the white tail of the white-tailed deer.
  • Be predictable. Stay on established trails.
  • Right timing. Avoid hiking at dusk or dawn or when visibility is challenging.
  • Sunday hikes. In Massachusetts only no hunting is permitted on Sundays.
  • Love your dog. Keep your dogs on leash or leave them at home during the busy season (mid-October-Dec 30).┬áIf out with a dog, have them wear a bright colored vest and/or collar.

Regardless of your personal feelings about hunting, hunters have a right to access public (and when allowed, private) lands and hunt game in season following state regulations. Other than during shotgun season in Massachusetts, it’s pretty rare for trail visitors to encounter a hunter in the woods. If you do, be respectful of their activities; don’t deliberately scare game or interfere with their efforts. Why not strike up a conversation? Most hunters are highly interested in conserving lands and maintaining public access and are often quite knowledgeable about the natural world. If you are uncomfortable with a hunter’s activity or behavior, you may contact Massachusetts Fish and Wildlife: 1-800-632-8075.

Curious to know more? In Massachusetts you will find a comprehensive website on hunting here. The Massachusetts 2023 season schedule is here (we are in Zone 1). Season dates in Vermont is here, and for New York, here.

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