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We have held back on dealing with this topical issue, because contact between hunters and hikers sometimes causes debate… Although many hunters are also hikers.
We do not want to cause controversy or take sides for or against the practice; but simply to reiterate the basics to enjoy the footpaths safely and without confrontation this autumn.
First and foremost, let's remember that we're talking here about hunting governed by a permit that states the species and numbers of animals to be hunted; to ensure the sustainable management of wildlife in a defined area (and not poaching).
1. Be visible
Stay on the trails where you will be more easily identifiable and wear clearly visible clothing or accessories (hats, bags, etc.); rather than wearing khaki or brown colours, opt for bright colours.
If you don't have the right outfit, a bib can also help.
If you have a dog, keep it on a leash.
2. Pay attention to the signposts
The beats are often marked with signs.
If you come across them, follow the instructions provided:
Make a detour, keep silent, wait until the end of the hunt, etc.
3. Interact with the hunters
Ideally, if you come across hunters, ask them about the hunting area, what is currently happening and how you should act.
In this way, you will ensure you keep everyone safe, without disturbing the hunt, and without stopping your hike either.
4. Respect the beats
They usually don't last all day long.
Ideally, you should avoid these areas, but if you have to, gather the group together, walk together and stick to the path.
Make yourself known beforehand and stay on the same side as the hunters.
Do not stop along the way (you'll enjoy a break even more, a short distance further on) and try to be as quiet as possible.
Don't forget to check the hunting season dates of your region.