Hunting Tips: Leave No Trace
Often times people assume hunters aren’t concerned about conservation and that is simply not true. At least it can’t be made as a blanket statement. I am a firm believer in conservation which is why I follow the rules and regulations made for hunting and fishing. In addition, I always practice LNT – Leave No Trace – every time I’m out in the wilderness.
Leave No Trace is a set of ethics, that if followed, will help you to not leave a trace when you’re out in the wild. We want people in the future to enjoy what we are enjoying. Let’s be real – NOBODY likes seeing used toilet paper scattered around campgrounds. However, there are things we do that may not have as big of a visual impact now as the toilet paper example, but are just as harmful if not more.
So, here are some of the things I do when I’m in the woods to minimize my impact while hunting.
→ Plan Ahead and Prepare – This means that you should talk with the land manager of the land you’re hunting on. Before you enter an area, you should know the rules and regulations and abide by them. You should know if you need permits and if you need to display them. For example, if you were planning on cooking with a campfire, but there is a fire ban in that area, you should respect the ban that is in effect and bring a camp stove.
→ Travel and Camp on Durable Surfaces – These surfaces include roads, trails, campsites, rock, gravel, snow or dry grass. Campsites are found, not made. If you set up camp or trample on vegetation you’ll kill it and that lush green patch that was once there will become patchy with dirt.
→ Dispose of Waste Properly – Pack it in pack it out. Anything and everything that you come in with should come back out with you. This includes, trash, food, shotgun shells etc. Gut piles are to be dragged far away from trails and water sources because they attract bears and are smelly and unsightly. Dig catholes at least six inches deep to dispose of human waste.
→ Leave What You Find – Target practice happens at home, and so does sighting your scope. Don’t shoot at trees, rocks or animals that you’re not there to hunt for. Don’t build your own blinds or structures, bring a manufactured one.
→ Minimize Campfire Impacts – Use established rings or fire pans, don’t make new campfire ring. Don’t put any trash in the fire, it never burns down completely.
→ Respect Wildlife – Never feed animals. Store food and trash properly (bear hang, bear box, bear canister). Take only clean killing shots and handle the kill properly. Abide by hunting laws and regulations.
→ Be Considerate to Others – Be aware of your field of fire, don’t fire near developed areas, campsites, roads, etc.
If we can do our part and leave places better than we find it, then the woods will be wild and pristine for future generations to enjoy.