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Tread Lightly! Tips for Responsible Hunting

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Tread Lightly!’s Tips for Responsible Hunting


To view a pdf of the brochure Click Here 5711247092050.jpg



Travel responsibly on designated roads and trails or in permitted areas.

  • Keep scouting to a minimum.
  • Always practice minimum impact travel techinques for your mode of transportation
  • Stay on the trail even if it is rough and muddy. Walking on the track edge and cutting switchbacks increase damage, cause erosion, and visual scarring.
  • Walk single file to avoid widening the trail.
  • When traveling in open country on foot where there are no trails, spread out to disperse impacts and avoid creating new trails.
  • Comply with all signs and barrier
  • Buddy up with two or three hunters. Hunting solo can leave you vulnerable if you have an accident. Designate meeting areas in case of separation.

Respect the rights of others including private property owners and all recreational trail users, campers and others to allow them to enjoy their recreational activities undisturbed.

  • Be considerate of others on the road or trail.
  • Be a sportsman and practice ethical hunting.
  • Never take a shot unless you see the animal clearly, you can identify it, and you know what lies between you, the target, and beyond.
  • Don’t shoot across roads, trails, and waterways.
  • Don’t leave animal remains in wetland or riparian areas, or on campgrounds, roads or trails.
  • Leave gates as you find them.
  • If crossing private property, be sure to ask permission from the landowner(s).
  • Always yield to horses.


Educate yourself by obtaining travel maps and regulations from public agencies, planning for your trip, taking recreation skills classes, and knowing how to use and operate your equipment safely.

  • Know the hunter education requirements for your area. Whether required or not, take a hunter education course.
  • Obtain a map of your destination and determine which areas are open to your type of travel.
  • Make a realistic plan, and stick to it. Always tell someone of your travel plans.
  • Contact the land manager for area restrictions, closures, and permit requirements.
  • Check the weather forecast before you go.
  • Prepare for the unexpected by packing a small backpack full of emergency items.
  • Dress in layers and carry a jacket. Know your state’s requirements regarding when to wear Hunter Orange.
  • Know your limitations. Watch your time and your energy.


Avoid sensitive areas such as meadows, lakeshores, wetlands and streams, unless on designated routes.

  • Other sensitive habitats to avoid unless on designated routes include cryptobiotic soils of the desert, tundra, and seasonal nesting or breeding areas.
  • Avoid disturbing historical, archeological, and paleontological sites
  • It is damaging and unlawful to use a permanent tree stand, blinds or platforms as well as to place spikes, nails, wires or other metal objects into a tree to act as steps or to hold a tree stand on public lands.
  • Avoid damaging or removing trees or other plants when putting up hunting structures or enlarging sight lines.
  • Avoid “spooking” livestock and wildlife you encounter.
  • Motorized and mechanized vehicles are not allowed in areas designated as Wilderness.


Do your part by leaving the area better than you found it, properly disposing of waste, minimizing the use of fire, avoiding the spread of invasive species, restoring degraded areas, and joining a local enthusiast organization.

  • Pack out nails, ropes, wire, rifle and shotgun shells and other trash.
  • Dismantle meat poles and other structures used while hunting.
  • Remove flagging and biodegradable tape used for route finding.
  • Provide information to wildlife managers to help manage game and determine wildlife inventories. Report any poaching incidents.
  • Carry a trash bag on your vehicle and pick up litter left by others.
  • Practice minimum impact camping by using established sites, camping 200 feet from water resources and trails.
  • Observe proper sanitary waste disposal or pack your waste out.
  • Following a hunt, wash your gear and support vehicle to reduce the spread of invasive species.

Click here to get more tips for all kinds of outdoor recreation.

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