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Thread: Bow hunting - dangerous for hikers?

  1. #1
    Senior Member Papa Bear's Avatar
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    Bow hunting - dangerous for hikers?

    I am planning to do some more hiking in the boundary region along the NH/Canada border in early October. Someone pointed out that it was hunting season in Canada. So I looked it up: Quebec hunting seasons and my trip overlaps sligtly with Bow hunting for Moose.

    There are lots of hunting blinds along the border but I always assumed they were for firearms, i.e. guys with guns. I know nothing about bow hunting, whether they use blinds (with salt licks etc.), whether they are a danger to others in the area, whether there are many of them or just a fringe few, etc.

    I've gone hiking in Maine in deer season and there was little danger, since all the hunters stayed close to the roads (can't drag the deer out) but in Quebec, ATVs are very prolific.

    Anyone out there know about this? Certainly I can wear blaze orange.

    Thanks
    Pb

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    Senior Member Pamola's Avatar
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    I am unaware of the numbers of hunters involved, but in general I feel safer around bowhunters. They have to be more judicious with their shots than hunters with rifles, as well as much closer. Bow hunting accidents are relatively uncommon, but it is ALWAYS a good idea to wear orange during any hunting season. Stay away from earthtones, whites (deer's tail), and reds (turkey's gobbler).
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    Senior Member SAR-EMT40's Avatar
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    It does happen. We had someone killed here in CT several years ago but I agree that it is very rare. Even rarer than rifle and shotgun hunting accidents though obviously they happen too. Like Pamola says using blaze orange is a good idea. I certainly wouldn't worry about it. Most bow hunters shots are much shorter than rifle so you would be very close and a misidentification is highly unlikely.

    Keith
    Last edited by SAR-EMT40; 09-13-2006 at 09:39 AM.
    "The real work of men was hunting meat. The invention of agriculture was a giant step in the wrong direction, leading to serfdom, cities, and empire. From a race of hunters, artists, warriors, and tamers of horses, we degraded ourselves to what we are now: clerks, functionaries, laborers, entertainers, processors of information."- Ed Abbey

  4. #4
    Banned Kevin Rooney's Avatar
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    Bow hunters present less of a hazard to others than when hunting with a rifle or shotgun because the range of a bow is far less than with a firearm. And yes, bowhunters will use blinds - perhaps even more so due to the shorter effective range of the weapon.

    While the vast majority of hunters are careful and conscientious, it's been my experience bow hunters are even more so. It's takes constant practice, and much stealth to use a bow effectively, and so they tend to very careful about what they shoot at. There are exceptions, of course, but in terms of real objective danger - I'd say it's rather low.

  5. #5
    Moderator Peakbagr's Avatar
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    Papa Bear,

    I'd be very comfortable hiking during the archery season. As mentioned, bow shots are are very close range, and usually taken while the quarry is standing still.
    Unlike a firearm, arrow speed is much slower than a bullet, so archers pretty much have to not only be postive of what they are drawing-on, but where to put the arrow between the branches, and where exactly to aim the arrow.
    Because the targets appear at such short ranges, camouflage is important, and bowhunters are so comfortable with all of this, you'll often see them walking to or from their stands in full camo, without any worry of someone confusing them with a deer.
    Archery is a precision sport, based largely on skill, stealth, and silence, and while the vast majority of all hunters are careful, I would always wear blaze orange during the firearms season, and wouldn't give a 2nd thought to hiking during the bow season. Hope this helps.

  6. #6
    Senior Member Sheomet's Avatar
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    I'm a bowhunter, you shouldn't have anything to worry about. Another thing to consider is that the vast majority of bowhunters hunt out of a treestand 15 or 20 feet up in the tree (blinds aren't very common in bowhunting) which means that they are shooting at the ground even at a long distance like 50 yards. So any errant shots won't go anywhere but into the ground. Like the others said blaze orange would be a good idea to wear.

  7. #7
    Senior Member Papa Bear's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sheomet
    I'm a bowhunter, you shouldn't have anything to worry about. Another thing to consider is that the vast majority of bowhunters hunt out of a treestand 15 or 20 feet up in the tree (blinds aren't very common in bowhunting) which means that they are shooting at the ground even at a long distance like 50 yards. So any errant shots won't go anywhere but into the ground. Like the others said blaze orange would be a good idea to wear.
    Thanks
    It was those "tree stands" I meant when I said hunting blinds. They're all along the boundary swath on the Canadian side.

    Like this

    Pb

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    Senior Member DougPaul's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Papa Bear
    Thanks
    It was those "tree stands" I meant when I said hunting blinds. They're all along the boundary swath on the Canadian side.

    Like this

    I'm a target archer, not a hunter, but it looks to me like it would be hard to use a bow in a stand/blind like that shown in the pic. Think of the space required for free movement of the bow.

    Doug

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    Senior Member Doc McPeak's Avatar
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    I just camped on the CVR in Maine right next to where a bear bowhunter parked and kept his ATV. We had several long conversations about the sport since I was curious and keep asking questions. He assured me I had nothing to worry about during my hiking and bushwhacking around the valley, for all the reasons listed by everyone else. On his back was a quiver with only four arrows. You should have seen my face the frist night when he came out of the shadows just after dark with all camo clothes and a camo Jesse James facemask on, carrying a bow with his arrows on his back! The year before he took down a 496 lb. bear on the lower slopes of the ridge between Redington and Crocker. Of course he had to tell me that story before my solo bushwhack!
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  10. #10
    Banned Kevin Rooney's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DougPaul
    I'm a target archer, not a hunter, but it looks to me like it would be hard to use a bow in a stand/blind like that shown in the pic. Think of the space required for free movement of the bow.

    Doug
    Doug -

    As a former bowhunter in a previous life, it looks like there's enough room in the stand. It's getting a window or door without a deer or moose noticing that I'm curious about!

    I think this bigger 'danger' if you're too close to one of these blinds is that something will fall from above, if you get my 'drift'.
    Last edited by Kevin Rooney; 09-13-2006 at 01:12 PM.

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    Poobah Emeritus darren's Avatar
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    Please stay on topic. This is not a thread about the morals of various forms of hunting. It is about the safety of hikers during bow season.

    - darren

  12. #12
    Senior Member Rick's Avatar
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    I used to do a lot of hiking in the wilds of Northern PA. I am with the rest of the "safe to hike in bowhunting season" crowd. I have a lot of respect for bowhunters. It takes a lot of patience and focus to sit still for so many hours in early morning cold and darkness. Turkey or deer.
    Most of the folks that I know that are archers seem to be done for the day by 8-9AM. I don't know if they go out again before dusk, though.
    But they really need to know what they are shooting at since they are looking for a kill.
    Rick

  13. #13
    Senior Member DougPaul's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kevin Rooney
    As a former bowhunter in a previous life, it looks like there's enough room in the stand. It's getting a window or door without a deer or moose noticing that I'm curious about!
    OK. I suspect that one's field of fire would be somewhat limited by space inside the stand.

    I think this bigger 'danger' if you're too close to one of these blinds is that something will fall from above, if you get my 'drift'.
    I don't walk under ladders, either...

    All in all, I suspect there is far less danger of being injured by a hunter's arrow than a hunter's bullet.

    Doug

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