Can I Hike During Hunting Season?

Fall is a gorgeous time to explore Little Forks Conservancy’s nature preserves. You can enjoy the last lingering autumn leaves. You may also see wildlife like porcupines more easily.

Many people cut back on hiking during this time because of hunting season. But, hiking during hunting season can be just as enjoyable as any other time of year! Here are a few tips to help you discover our trails in the fall.

1. When is hunting season?
Although many of us are most familiar with deer hunting season, there are actually a number of hunting seasons in Michigan. You can see the full list of hunting season dates by clicking here.

2. Is there hunting on the preserves?
Little Forks Conservancy does not allow hunting on any of our Midland County preserves currently. That means you can enjoy hiking at the Averill Preserve, Forestview Natural Area, and Riverview Natural Area. However, the Albert and Virginia Szok Preserve is located within Pine Haven Recreation Area which does allow hunting. If you’re planning on visiting the Szok Preserve, please be aware that hunting may be occurring in the area. Our new preserve in Gladwin County has bow hunting only. Contact the office for an application.

3. Is there hunting nearby at the other preserves?
Yes, some of our neighbors do hunt their properties. For your safety, please stay on the trail and obey any “No Trespassing” signs. Also, please respect neighboring hunters by minimizing loud noises or disturbing wildlife.

4. Do I have to wear orange?
Wearing a bright orange hat or vest is a great way to make sure you’re seen by hunters! Since they wear it themselves, they will know that means you’re there. If you’re walking your dog, make sure he or she remains on a leash – and you can also pick up an orange vest for your dog at local pet supply stores!

If you’re out during dawn or dusk when light is dim, a headlamp or flashlight is also recommended.

5. What if I encounter a hunter?
If you see a hunter on a Little Forks Conservancy preserve, contact our office at 989.835.4886.

You may see hunters along the preserve boundary. If you do, quietly continue along the trail within the preserve.

If you follow these tips, you should be able to safely enjoy a great hike at one of Little Forks’ preserves! If you encounter any problems or if you have any questions, please feel free to contact our office at 989.835.4886 or

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