Hikers, hunters come together

Minimal danger further reduced by wearing bright colors

Here’s a bright idea for hikers, bikers, berry pickers and other people heading into the woods for outdoor recreation now that the first of the hunting seasons has opened in Washington:

Wear bright-colored clothing.

Washington’s black bear hunting season opened throughout most of the state on Aug. 1.

It was during this season last year that a 14-year-old hunter shot and killed a hiker he mistook for a black bear.

The incident was a tragedy for the hiker and her family as well as the young shooter, who was sentenced to juvenile detention and community service.

The incident was the state’s first hunting-related fatality involving a non-hunter in at least 25 years.

A basic rule for hunters is to “know your target and what’s beyond it” before shooting, said Bruce Bjork, the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife chief of enforcement.

But non-hunters can be proactive:

•Wear brightly colored clothing, such as blaze orange. (Inexpensive hats and vests are available at sporting goods stores.) Avoid wearing earth-tones.

•Make noise to alert hunters of your presence by talking, singing or whistling. If you hear someone shooting, let the hunters know you are in the area by raising your voice.

Hunting seasons occur in Washington throughout the year, except June and July.

The black bear season is the first of several hunting seasons scheduled to open in the coming weeks.

September marks the opening of hunting seasons for forest grouse and waterfowl, as well as archery seasons for cougar, deer and elk. Popular modern-firearm hunts for deer and elk open later in the fall.

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Rich Landers

Rich Landers

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