“How bad do you really want to walk?” -I felt like asking, in response to a question posed to V8 and Auntie Mame, The Trekking Twins, at their well-attended Lincolnville ( ME) Public Library presentation “Twins Talk Trail” two nights ago.
The actual question was, “Just where around here can you hike now that it is deer hunting season?” Translation: For almost all of November ( except for Sundays), the forests and fields of Mid-coast Maine will be populated with numerous hopeful hunters sporting high-powered rifles in the hopes of hauling venison home to stock their freezers for the winter.
Sure, there are isolated properties that have posted “No Hunting” signs, but most are small islands of safety amidst oceans of game-laden cover, but bullets fired from one of these rifles can easily travel a mile or even two, so it’s dangerous to be out there, even if you are on posted property.
Most Mainers who don’t hunt stay away from the woods in November, or at least save up their walking for Sundays when it is illegal to hunt. I am one of these people. I don’t want to die from an errant bullet.
I used to think it was safe to walk in the nearby Camden Hills State Park, but that’s not true. Hunting is only prohibited between June 1 and Labor Day. Otherwise, look out, because shooting is prohibited only within 300 feet of a picnic area, campsite, parking lot, shelter, or posted trail.
Someone at the talk mentioned Acadia National Park as an alternative . Fact check: True-there is no hunting or trapping allowed. November is a wonderful month to hike Acadia’s trails, but be ready for a 3 hour, 140 mile round trip from Lincolnville.
If you really want to walk really badly enough here in deer hunting season, you can still go anywhere you want , on any trail you usually like to travel. You just have to carry a flashlight or wear a headlamp, because you will be walking in the dark. You can even look up the exact time that hunting ends each day in November 2015 on a table published by the Department of inland Fisheries and Wildlife. For example on today, November 13, it is illegal to hunt at or after 4:39 p.m. That’s not bad.
I hiked 4.7 miles last night in the dark. However, I decided to stick to the road, where there was a lot of traffic (@ 25 cars in 75 minutes), relatively speaking. I’m nursing a bashed up knee, which I experienced on last week’s night time trail ride in the Rockland Bog. That didn’t go well at all for me, but I learned from my mistakes, and it won’t happen again.
Night hiking ( unless under a full moon) requires adequate lighting. There are dos and don’t for this aspect of outdoor adventures.
Stay tuned for my next blog post, where I’ll get into what I am currently using for lights when I hike in the woods, and on the back roads here at night.
Teaser: Here’s part of my go-to illumination while road walking: the Glo-Toob !