An array of wildlife suitable for hunting may be found on national forests and grasslands. Hunting is a seasonal activity, and the rules are simple: Follow the state laws and regulations pertaining to hunting, including seasons, dates and licensing. Forests and grasslands may place some areas as off limits to hunting. So check in with your local Forest Service ranger to be sure you are following all the rules.
When on Forest Service land remember that:
- All firearms and bows with arrows should be cased and unloaded while in a recreation area or other public areas.
- Discharging a firearm (including a bow and arrow) is prohibited in or within 150 yards of a developed recreation site, a residence, or any place where people are likely to be.
- Shooting across bodies of water or a Forest Service road is prohibited.
- Shooting into or within any cave, mine or open shaft is prohibited.
- Private land is interspersed with public land and you must obtain written permission from the private landowner to hunt on their property. Obtain a map and use caution to ensure you don't inadvertently stray off public land onto private.
- Only portable stands or blinds are allowed. Check with your local ranger district for restrictions and time limits.
Stay safe when hunting by following these tips:
- Check weather reports before embarking on a hunting trip.
- Tell someone where you will be hunting and when you will return.
- Be familiar with the area you want to hunt. Bring a map and compass.
- Carry a basic survival kit and be prepared for an unexpected overnight stay in the field. The survival kit should contain a rope, a knife, water, waterproof matches, an emergency shelter, and first aid supplies.
- Dress properly and be prepared for the worst possible conditions.
- Wear hunter orange as your outermost gear so that you are visible to other hunters. Do not wear white or tan during deer season.
- Always treat your weapon as if it is loaded, even if it isn't, and know where your hunter partners are located at all times.
- If accompanied by a dog, the dog should also wear hunter orange or a very visible color on a vest, leash, coat or bandana. Check the state regulations to determine if a dog is allowed on a hunt.
- Check hunting equipment before and after each outing, and maintain it properly. Familiarize yourself with its operation before using it in the field.
- Carry a spare set of dry clothing. Utilize layering techniques to pull away moisture while retaining body warmth. Always bring rain gear.
- Clearly identify your target before shooting. Prevent unfortunate accidents or fatalities.
- Be alert when hunting near developed areas and trails. Other recreationists are enjoying the forest as well.
- Your cell phone may save your life, but don't count on it. Many areas of most forests are not within signal range.
Remember: You are responsible for the safety of yourself and for those around you.