Hunting Season – what BT hikers need to know

It’s a rare sight on the Bruce Trail, but you may see a hunter’s deer blind/tree stand while you are hiking. As you look up, you may wonder, should I be worried? Are we in hunting season? or, What precautions should I be taking? These are all good questions and we’ll take you through them all!

Should I be Worried?
No! But be aware.

Much of the Toronto section of the Bruce Trail passes through Conservation Areas, Provincial Parks, or Bruce Trail Conservancy land where hunting is generally prohibited. With private lands, owners may permit hunting. Landowners may request a temporary closure and re-route of the Bruce Trail in hunting season, but there have been no such requests or closures in the Toronto section. Adam Brylowski, BTC Manager of Conservation and Trail says:  “We value our relationships with landowners and neighbours along the trail.  We respect their wishes to hunt where it is permitted and they in turn are responsible for safely following provincial hunting regulations.”

Our Club’s Land Management Director Neal Stein adds: “It’s important as hikers to be aware of your surroundings at all times of the year – and please stay on the trail. We want you to be safe.”

Are we in Hunting Season now?
Yes and No!

Hunters can be granted a small game license which is for the entire year. You can obtain a license for wild turkeys for the spring season and purchase seasonal migratory bird licenses. The most popular hunting season in the Toronto section is in the fall with the annual deer hunt. Each area of Ontario has its own “Wildlife Management Unit” which dictates when controlled deer hunts begin and end.

What precautions should I be taking?
Be Informed. Be Seen.

Follow these six safety guidelines to enjoy a fall hike during hunting season: 1) be aware of trail closures, 2) wear bright colours, 3) make noise while being respectful of other trail users, 4) stay on the trail, 5) keep your dog on a leash and, 6) avoid hiking at dawn or dusk.