Hunting season is here.
And while this might excite many of our friends and volunteers, others may be hesitant and unsure of how it impacts their time in the forests of ACLT – particularly now that the State permits hunting in the Parkers Creek Wildlife Management Area (WMA). This also means that there will be gun hunting on ACLT & state properties on the South Side surrounding the North-South Trail beginning at the cemetery trail.
Because of this change and because the State of Maryland permits their trails to remain open during hunting season, the ACLT Board has decided it’s no longer practical to enforce separate policies. (It’s just too hard to close sections of the trails on our properties while the sections of trails on state properties would be open. Hard and confusing for everyone.)
All ACLT trails will now remain open during hunting season.
To begin this conversation, let’s talk a little bit about how hunting works at ACLT:
- ACLT has had a long standing relationship with the Parkers Creek Conservation Society. This group of highly experienced hunters have worked with our nature experts for decades to help manage the deer population. Members have permission to hunt on ACLT property and are required to offer ACLT 20 volunteer hours annually.
- Yes. As sad as it might make some, the deer population must be managed. Over population of deer significantly harms the forest under-story which can have a ripple effect on other wildlife and plant life and the overall well being of the ecosystem.
- The Conservation Society members are committed to volunteering at ACLT and are some of our most active and dedicated supporters, helping to manage trails and open spaces and frequently stepping up to help on short notice when trees block trails.
- On the state’s WMA, public hunters are required to have all Maryland hunting qualifications and licenses and MUST participate in an orientation to be introduced to the Parkers Creek Preserve and the partnership between Maryland DNR and the American Chestnut Land Trust. Only deer hunting is permitted on the Parkers Creek Preserve/WMA/ACLT properties.
So what does this mean for hikers during hunting season?
- Everyone is welcome at the Parkers Creek Preserve and trails will remain open.
- Here are the dates of the 2017/18 MD Deer Hunting:
- Archery: Sept 8 – Oct 18; Oct 22 – Nov 24; Dec 11 – Dec 15; Jan 1 – Jan 4; Jan 8 – Jan 31; Sundays: 10/22, 10/29, 11/5
- Firearms: Nov 25 – Dec 9; Jan 5 – Jan 7; Sundays: 11/12, 11/26, 12/3, 1/7
- Muzzleloader: Oct 19 – Oct 28; Dec 16 – Dec 30
Hunter/Hiker related injuries are very rare in Maryland. But for everyone’s peace of mind we encourage everyone to consider the following suggestions:
- When in the forests, wear bright colors (orange and red are especially good!) and avoid earth tones (browns, dark greens, etc.)
- Add a brightly colored item to your leashed dog as well for their safety.
- Look for signs displaying hunting season dates. ACLT will have them posted on both the website and at the trailheads.
- Avoid early morning and late evening hikes during those weeks.
- Hunters have been notified to avoid shooting near trails.
As always, please reach out to a staff member with any questions or concerns! We can be reached at 410-414-3400 and at email@example.com.
Hunting Season Dates: 2017-2018 (Deer Hunting Only)
Archery: Sept 8 – Oct 18; Oct 22 – Nov 24; Dec 11 – Dec 15; Jan 1 – Jan 4; Jan 8 – Jan 31; Sundays (ACLT Properties): 10/22, 10/29, 11/5
Firearms: Nov 25 – Dec 9; Jan 5 – Jan 7; Sundays (ACLT Properties): 11/12, 11/26, 12/3, 1/7
Muzzleloader: Oct 19 – Oct 28; Dec 16 – Dec 30