Earlier this year, many outdoor organizations teamed up to promote #ResponsibleRecreation, reminding individuals and families alike that enjoying the great outdoors is one of the best ways to prevent the spread of COVID-19 as long as it is done responsibly. The spring of 2020 saw a record number people getting outdoors and trying new activities, including record-breaking fishing and hunting license sales across the country, and, as you may expect, fall this year should be no different.
As one of the best times of the year to be outside is upon us, we want to remind you to practice #ResponsibleRecreation while enjoying the great activities fall has to offer.
While there is nothing quite like chasing gobblers during the spring turkey season, the fall, by far, offers the most hunting seasons all across the country. Depending on what state you reside, deer, elk, waterfowl, upland birds and turkeys (in 42 states) are fair game. And, with cooler weather, sitting in the stand or traversing through the woods or prairies is that much more enjoyable.
Whether a seasoned veteran, a lapsed hunter or are a complete beginner, spending time in the woods chasing game is a great way to practice #ResponsibleRecreation. For more information on learning to hunt and what is in season in your location, contact you state wildlife agency.
Fall Foliage Viewing
For sportsmen and women, the opening of the hunting seasons epitomizes the change from summer to fall, but the most obvious indicator to the general public are the leaves changing color. These short-lived picturesque backdrops might be the motivation you need to grab your camera and backpack, and head out into the woods. Some states, like Ohio (https://ohiodnr.gov/wps/portal/gov/odnr/go-and-do/see-the-sights/fall-color/), even provide fall color maps that pinpoint peak fall color times throughout the state. Just plan on having a backup plan should your desired location to view leaves already have a crowd.
Depending on where you live, many wild edibles come into season during the fall. From mussels and clams on the coast to berries and mushrooms in the woods. No matter your location, going in to the environment and collecting naturally occurring foods is a rewarding experience and a great way to practice #ResponsibleRecreation. Just ensure you are following guidelines provided by your state’s wildlife agency, and that you know how to properly identify what you are foraging.
While fishing is enjoyed year round, there is something special about being on the water on a cool, crisp fall morning. Bugs harass you less often, the sun is more forgiving and some species are best to chase in the fall, including red drum. Be it saltwater or freshwater, fishing is a great way to practice #ResponsibleRecreation. For more information on bag limits, size restrictions or more details about fishing in your area, contact your state wildlife agency.
The list of ways to enjoy the fall responsibly could go on at great length; we just want to give you some inspiration to get outdoors! Whatever way you decide to practice #ResponsibleRecreation, have fun, share how you practice responsible recreation with the hashtag #ResponsibleRecreation and remember the following:
- Plan Ahead. If you are hunting or fishing, purchase your licenses online well ahead of your hunt or fishing trip to avoid venturing into busy stores that may put you or others at risk. Make sure to avoid any crowded areas.
- Continue to adhere to best practices for avoiding COVID-19 even while in the woods. This means if you do happen to go hunting or foraging with a buddy (someone you don’t already live with), make sure to maintain the recommended distance of at least 6 feet between you both. But, if comfortable, hit the woods for solo adventures. Also, carry hand sanitizer and avoid touching your face.
- Opt for day trips over staying in hunt camp. It might mean more time behind the wheel to and from your destination, but avoiding close contact with others is best during this time.
- Know additional guidelines set forth on a state-by-state basis. This could mean that if you had plans to venture across state lines to nearby bordering states, you should know if that state now has a mandatory quarantine period for those traveling in from out of state. It also means knowing temporary regulations or closures that may be in place for public lands in your state. For the most up-to-date info, contact your state wildlife agency.
- Share your adventures in a respectful way on social outlets. With many people spending more time online, there is an increased chance your content could come across the eyes of someone who may not agree with hunting. Posts showing respect for the land and the animal may not turn them into hunting advocates, but it may help dispel misconceptions they have about hunters, which is a step in the right direction.