View Full Version : GA "bow hunting" season begins this weekend......Be Careful!!!!!

Preacher Dude
09-13-2003, 00:47
I hiked frkom Amicalola Falls up to Long Creek Falls and back Wed thru Fri of this week. The late summer wildflowers were absolutely glorious, the Falls were magnificent, the weather was terrific, I had a marvelous time. However, as I was coming back down the Approach Trail late Thursday evening I noticed something I had not seen when I passed this spot on Wed. A deer hunter had erected a portable deer stand in a large white oak tree that stands right on the trail......complete with climbing spikes nailed into this magnificent tree. When I returned to Amicalola, I saw a park ranger so I asked him about it. He told me that the trails were under USFS jurisdiction and that they did allow hunting ......so wear lots of "red". I knew that the USFS allowed hunting along the trail but I always thought that there was a fifty ft. corridor on each side of the trail itself where no hunting was allowed. If someone knows what the regs are regarding hunting please let me know. Also, is anyone else as appalled as I am at the possibility of some "trigger happy " jerk with a high-powered bow sitting about fifteen feet above where I'm walking? Last year a hiker was shot on the AT in GA. It might be time to push for some laws to protect hikers.

Jim Obermeyer
09-13-2003, 05:11
I was hiking on the TN/NC section of the AT last Wed. and was accompanied by 5 Plot Hounds (bear hunting dogs). I recognized them immediately because I have a friend who has one. All 5 dogs had tracking antennas on their collars. I could hear their owner blowing a horn way off down the mountain. I continued hiking figuring the dogs would leave, but they didn't. They actually hiked with me in a formation, one on my left and one on my right, one in front and two in the rear all the way to the shelter. I was planning on hiking further out but I knew I wasn't going alone, so I decided to go find their owner. We hiked back for over an hour and started hearing the horn again and headed towards it. I came upon an old man with an tracking antenna in one had and a cows horn around his neck. He said he was training the dogs for bear season which starts Oct 16th in NC and in Dec. for TN. He thanked me for bringing him his dogs back and said he has a lot of work to do before the season opens. I have nothing against hunters but I do believe many of them have no idea that the AT is there and how much it is hiked.

Two Speed
09-13-2003, 09:56
Stonewall, if I understand you correctly, that deer stand was close to the trail if not immediately adjacent. Did that ranger show any concern? My understanding is that there is no hunting allowed within 100 yards of the trail. Even if the stand was not within his jurisdiction, the ranger should have notified the USFS. It may not be his direct responsibility, but ignoring a threat like that is not a good idea, particularly in light of the incident last fall. Did you get the ranger's name by any chance? If so, as a taxpayer in the State of Georgia, I'd like to let his supervisor know what I think. I know we have to share the woods with the hunters, and I'm OK with that, but I don't like the idea of hunters placing stands where they don't belong and law enforcement ignoring the issue.

The advice to wear lots of red is a good idea, but from my understanding of the incident last fall when that hiker was shot at Jarrard Gap, given the lighting conditions at the time the hiker was shot, I don't know that safety orange (or red) would have done any good. The main problem was that the hunter was too darn close to the trail and was taking a "sound shot" into a thicket before full daybreak. If that had been a deer in that thicket, the best the hunter would have done is to wound the animal, which makes taking the shot irresponsible at best and probably criminal in my opinion, although the Rabun County Sherriff seemed to think the whole incident was excusable. The thing that gets me steamed is that law enforcement doesn't seem to take these things too seriously. I personally am not too sure if we need new laws, but it sure would be nice if law enforcement would enforce the ones we have, particularly seeing as hikers theoretically have the right to use the woods just like hunters.

Frankly, I'm surprised a bow hunter pulled a trick like that. Usually, the bow hunters and turkey hunters are far more skilled than that. If it's any reassurance, the bow hunters rarely are "trigger happy jerks," but we do seem to have at least one that needs a little freshening up on the regulations regarding deer hunting within the AT trail corridor.

09-13-2003, 10:07
I agree, hunters generally know surprisingly little about the area they're hunting, let along a little trail winding through the woods. More than once it's felt like I've had guns firing way too close for my comfort.

However, I'm much less concerned about high-powered bows than I am high-powered rifles. A bow hunter at least will be much less likely to let it fly without first confirming the target.

09-13-2003, 11:30
I think it's important to keep things in perspective and not paint with too wide a brush. I thru-hiked the AT in 2001 and just returned from a Dall sheep hunt in the Brooks Range of Alaska. In both outdoor experiences, I was looking for, and found, many of the same things.

The area I was hiking in the Brooks Range is frequented more often by hunters than by hikers. Clearly, the hunters valued the wilderness, because the whole time I was there, I saw virtually NO sign the humans had ever been in the area.

According to Wingfoot, (who certainly knows quite a lot about the trail) there has been one hiker killed by a hunter in the history of the trail. During that time, there have been hundreds of fatalities by murder, falls, lightning, bee stings, hypothermia, drowning, road crossing accidents, etc. etc. To portray hunters as “trigger happy jerks” is simply unfair. You show me ANY large group and I’ll show you a few fools, and that includes AT hikers. Hikers are far, far more dangerous to hikers than hunters are to hikers.

As far as saying “Hunters generally know surprisingly little about the area they're hunting,” that’s simply ridiculous. Hunters generally know the area they are hunting a heck of a lot more than most hikers know about the section of trail they are walking down. Hunters also tend to know a lot more about the plants and animals around them.

I’m not sure of what the law is on hunting along the trail in that area, but clearly the laws should be enforced, whatever they are. In the meantime, hikers need to keep things in perspective. Among the things to remember are that just because you hear a gun-shot, it does not mean that “you were nearly hit” any more than hearing a car driving by you on the road means “you were nearly struck.” Like most of the fears people have of the trail, with bears being a good example, some hiker’s fear of hunters is simply a matter of not understanding hunting and the extremely low risk it poses to hikers.

Preacher Dude
09-13-2003, 11:34
So I am correct then that there is no hunting allowed within 100yds. of the trail....I don't know the ranger's name but he is stationed at Amicalola Park...so there probably aren't too many of them. I too am more concerned about gun hunters than bow hunters but oftentimes a hunter will hunt with a bow until gun season begins then switch over to a gun ...so I will guarantee you that if that stand location is successful ...come the third week in October there will indeed be a hunter up there with a high powered rifle.

Preacher Dude
09-13-2003, 11:52
Coulter, I do not fear hunters...I have a lot of friends that hunt and are very respectful of the woods ......but in this area of Georgia(which is very different from Alaska) you have ready access to the trail by the "good ole weekend boys" who consider hunting as a time to get together and get drunk.....I have seen the remains of their campsites littered with beer cans.... so the reason I characterized the person who put up that stand as a "trigger happy jerk" was because he disregarded stated regulations about not hunting on the trail...hunters that disobey the laws usually fall into "jerk" category. Safety is of tremendous concern to us in this area, this year especially, because of an incident that happened last year where a hiker was shot by a "trigger happy jerk" ....praise God she wasn't killed.

09-13-2003, 12:09
Apparently I was wrong. After re-reading Wingfoots post, apparently no hiker had EVER been killed by a hunter in the history of the AT. After a brief search, I was unable to find a law that says you can't hunt within 100 yards of the AT. If so, that would make it unfair to assume the hunter was a "trigger happy jerk" just as it would be unfair to call a hiker a "selfish jerk" because he didn't want hunters near "his trail." Regardless of the written law, I wouldn't want to shoot from or across the AT, that's for sure. As a conscientious hunter, I can't help but be offended by the repeated references to hunters as "trigger happy jerks" and littering drunks. It's no more fair than considering hikers to be hippies on welfare.


Two Speed
09-13-2003, 13:16
Coulter & Stonewall

After seaching the Georgia DNR and the USFS's websites, I am unable to find a regulation covering any kind of corridor along the AT. I was unable to find a reference to anything like that on the Georgia Appalachian Trail Club's site, either. From what I'm able to find to date, I seem to need some brushing up on the applicable regulations, and not the hunter in question. Stonewall, please accept my apology for misleading you.

Still, I just can't bring myself to say that I'm happy to hear about a deer stand that close to the trail. Being an avid target shooter myself, I understand and support the concept that hunters have rights too, but a stand located that close to the trail itself sounds like a guaranteed conflict between a hunter and a hiker, sooner or later.

Preacher Dude
09-14-2003, 00:25
If then there are no laws creating a non-hunting corridor along the trail then I think there needs to be one ...100 yds each side of the trail sounds good to me. Hunters are allowed to hunt the entire rest of the massive USFS lands, I don't think a 200 yd. corridor would be that much of a burden to them. The original purpose for the creation of the AT was for hiking not as an easy access path for hunters. I intend to contact my U.S. Congressman and my U.S. Senators and request such a law. I suggest that others do the same. We already had one shooting last year, and it was only by the grace of God that she wasn't killed, although it appears that it will take a shooting death to convince Coulter that a non-hunting corridor is needed.

09-14-2003, 09:43
They pay through the Pittman Robertson act, founded in 1937 which levies an 8-11% tax on sportspeople through the products they purchase like guns, ammo, etc., the funds to be used exclusively (almost) for the propagation of wildlife. And we hikers benefit directly from their tax. So, while you may not want to just rush up and hug the next hunter you see near the trail, you should realize that they have paid billions for their right to hunt there-considerably more than we frugal hikers have had to do. In many respects we are riding their coattails, so....

Let's just try and coexist peacefully:D

Sleepy the Arab
09-14-2003, 10:59
It was my understanding that the Appalachian Trail was within the jurisdictional domain of the Park Service, as it is a national park (albeit a very long and thin one), and hunting was prohibited along it. However, in the initial post I read the incident as occurring along the approach trail, which is not the AT.

Personally, I respect hunters for their outdoorsmanship and skill. I think we do an injustice to stereotype them as trigger-happy drunken fools, just as they shouldn't stereotype hikers as pot smoking liberal hippie bums.

09-16-2003, 15:27
The hunter who shot the hiker was not drunk. The hiker-a teen aged girl-was relieving herself in the bushes-off the trail- early in the morning. The hunter is very young and he made a terrible mistake. To his credit he did not flee the scene when he could have. The girl was accompanied by several adults..they were near a road and they immediatly called 911 on a cell phone. The hunter ran up..acknowledged that he was the shooter and rendered first aid to the victim that apparently made a huge difference. Because of his actions the victim did not press charges...The local law enforcement did but I am not sure of that outcome. I hate to see this incident catagorized the way it has been. There are those of us who love outdoors in different ways. I could never be a hunter but I will not take any cheepshots at them..I know who shows up to help when someone is lost or hurt in the woods.

09-17-2003, 14:35
I'm not sure what's more disturbing, to find out that the hunter was completely sober or drunk. Actually, that the young man was sober and conscientious is quite disturbing. If a sober and seemingly conscientious young man could mistake a woman as a deer and shoot her is frightening. If a stone sober hunter can make this mistake then i'm even more afraid of the drunk ones.

I'm not saying all hunters are out on a drunken lark, but certainly such irresponsible hunters do exist and in the same numbers as drunken idiots in any group of people.

I just don't understand why hunters, as a group, can't recognize that it's probably not a good idea to hunt anywhere in the general vicinity as popular hiking trails and just voluntarily, law or no law, hunt in less populated zones. Seems like common sense to me.

09-17-2003, 14:43
i don't think he up and shot her on purpose. a rumble in the bushes could be perceived as many a thing. he helped for his error and that should be that. you can bet there is a "hunters message board" somewhere where drunken hunters post about "those annoying hikers" stinking up "our" woods.

09-17-2003, 15:07
Hunters are usually the folks that bail us hikers out when we get into trouble. I suspect that most of the SAR folks are hunters that do rescue work mostly on there own time and expense. I just had one help me out last weekend when I aborted a 55 mile loop hike after 38 miles. He gave me a ride back to my truck and would not except a dime for his trouble. Sure was glad I met him.


09-17-2003, 16:09
I'm not saying he shot her on purpose and i'm not saying hunters are an evil group of people. What I'm saying is that I do not understand why hunters, as a group, cannot amongst themselves say "Hey, it's probably not a good idea for us to shoot at things that move in the woods when we know there are humans hiking near by. So let's all agree not to hunt anywhere near the appalachian trail."

Why can't the hunting community all agree to follow this common sense rule? Please don't respond by saying "oh - you're a hunter hater" or "you're prejudiced against hunters" because doing so clearly misinterprets the legitimate question i am asking.

09-17-2003, 16:32
Hunters following a set of rules is not too differnent than hikers practicing LNT. Sure some people do it, but TONS do not.

Two Speed
09-17-2003, 20:58
There's a large difference between leaving garbage around and wounding or killing innocent people, which shooting at sound or movement in the woods can do, particularly around popular trails, like the Appalachian Trail. While neither is good manners, problems with garbage and other signs of human occupation can be remediated if not completely repaired; killing someone cannot. The hunter we're referring to committed one of the cardinal errors of shooting: he was not completely sure of his target, much less the backstop. His actions after the shooting are certainly creditable, but then he wouldn't have needed the credit if he hadn't shot that girl in the first place.

Even if that had been a deer instead of a human in that thicket, it still was not a reccomended practice. Almost all hunters will not take "sound shots" because they are very likely to yield wounded animals instead of a clean kill. As just about everyone on this forum probably knows, even with the very powerful rifles and cartridges available today, the shot must be placed correctly to kill cleanly. Taking that shot, human or deer, was not a good idea, nor was an example of good hunting ethics.

Feel free to think what you want to, but I don't think anyone can convince me that his actions after the shooting justified taking that shot.

On the positive side, that incident cannot possibly be typical of interaction between hunters and hikers. If it was, there would be a whole lot of dead hikers, and I'd probably be one of them. I've run into my share of hunters in the woods in the Southeast, and every time I've run into a hunter, it's been a positive experience. As several folks have mentioned, sucessfull hunters have to woodsman, just like hikers.

My question is this: Can anyone here make a rational justification for placing a deer stand in a location where you will almost certainly have to take your shot with a substantial probability that there will be an innocent person near the intended target? Please bear in mind that arrows from modern compound bows can and sometimes do pass completely through a white tail deer, and not always in a straight line. Let's not forget to consider that crossbows are also legal in Georgia.

BTW, are we sure that's a bow hunter's stand? Has anyone checked to see if a biologist or a photographer might have put it there? Could be getting stirred up over nothing.

09-17-2003, 21:08
I have never wore orange when hiking in hunting season in the past, but I think I will change that and wear an orange hat. I saw several sobo thru-hikers last november in Georgia who had blaze orange pack covers even though there was no threat of rain. Maybe what we should do is to do what we can postively do, like wear orange in hunting season and encourage other hikers to do likewise.


09-18-2003, 11:15
I will certainly be wearing my orange hunting vest on my upcoming thru-hike. But that won't protect me from a "sound shot".

09-18-2003, 14:47
And an orange hunting vest won't protect you from lightning, murderers, drunken hikers, hypothermia, falls, bees, wild dogs, bears, getting lost etc. I've never known anyone in my entire life of hunting who took a "sound shot."

Life is dangerous, but for heaven's sake, let's all try to be rational on the real risks. Your drive to and from your hike is 100 times more dangerous than the risk of foolish hunters.

There's rules about not shooting from or across roads. I'd support a similar rule for the AT. Until then, don't sweat it, because it's simply not something worth worrying about.

09-18-2003, 15:34
If i get hit by lightning, so be it. That's mother nature having her way with me. I wouldn't be angry at all if knocked off the trail because of that. But if I get shot by a hunter - yeah, i'm gonna be ticked off.

It's not the likelihood of one vs. the other that gets people riled up, it's the preventable nature of the incidents. If you take shelter under a tree and still get struck by lightning, well gee, nothing to really get mad about b/c there's nothing that could be done to prevent it and that's just nature. But there's certainly something that could be done to prevent hunters from shooting hikers - namely, hunters shunning other hunters who, irresponsibly, hunt in areas frequented by hikers.

I am really at a loss to understand why the reaction of hunters, to this shooting of this woman, is not simply:

"The guy who shot her is an idiot and not representative of the hunter community. He, and anyone who taught him how to hunt, should forever be shunned from the hunting community. No hunter should ever hunt near popular hiking trails and should never take a blind shot. So called hunters who don't understand this and don't religiously practice this do not belong in the respectable hunting community."

I really don't understand why it's so difficult to make this common sense statement rather than:

"Oh c'mon - quite being a crybaby. It's unlikey you'll get shot." or "hey, after he shot the lady he helped her so, c'mon - give the kid a break" or "hey, not all hikers follow LNT ethics; likewise, not all hunters try real hard not to shoot people; same thing".

09-18-2003, 16:40
Only a fool takes sounds shots.
Only a fool fires ANY shot that may harm another person.
Any actions taken by the young hunter to help his victim in no way justifies the fact that he injured her; No rational person is going to disagree with those points.

I already said I'd support a law saying hunters can't shoot from or across the AT.

There's lots of ways to address "preventable injuries." One is to keep hunters away from the AT completely. Another is to keep hikers off the AT during hunting season. Another is to ban hiking on Mt. Washington. That would save SCORES of lives in the coming years. How about banning dogs along the AT. All these steps would help, but that doesn't mean they make sense.

There are dangerous fools in just about any sport you can name. Looking at the real-world stats will show you that hunters aren't anywhere near the top of the list of dangers on the AT. Looking at the real-world stats of maybe 2 hikers being injured by hunters in the HISTORY of the Appalachian trail DOES make it irrational, in my mind, to spend time worrying about "what ifs."

It's those crazy drunken drivers that scare me.

Preacher Dude
09-21-2003, 18:36
Thanks for all the input. I really love this site and I love you guys. This has been a very enlightening discussion with pro and con opinions which is what a "forum" should be. I am grateful especially to those of you who provided detailed information about the shooting incident last Fall at Jarrad Gap. Most of that info was "news" to me. There is no way I can say with 100% accuracy that a hunter put up that stand that I saw on the Approach Trail...but the timing of the placement certainly points to hunters..i.e. it wasn't there on Wednesday...it was there on Thursday....bow hunting season started that next Saturday at dawn. Please understand me.....I AM NOT "ANTI-HUNTERS"....I have friends that hunt and are very responsible and very knowledgeable woodsmen. Not only have I been helped by hunters in the woods but I have learned a lot from them. I am not at all uncomfortable with sharing the woods with "responsible" hunters....and I think that is the key point that has been made throughout this thread. Fortunately, 90% of all hunters fall into the "responsible" category but the irresponsible 10% does exist (as substantiated by the shooting incident last fall....and I have run ito the "drunken good ole boys" so I know they exist)....and it is because of this small minority that I feel some legal regulations might be necessary...so that if a ranger spotted a stand on the trail, he would have legal authority to ask the hunter to remove it. So the question that comes from my original observation of a deer stand along the Approach Trail is. Would a "responsible" hunter place a stand along a popular hiking trail or does the person who placed that stand fall into that 10% of irresponsibility that we need to be concerned about?

09-21-2003, 19:23
Check here for the ATC into on hunting along the trail:


I noticed that the ATC sells an orange pack cover:


I think both hikers & hunters need to be careful out there... if you can avoid incidents then it is not an issue as to who was at fault.


09-22-2003, 10:28
I wouldn't put a stand right on the AT for these reasons:
I'd be aware many hikers would be uncomfortable.
I like to get away from people when I hunt. A stand right on the AT would almost guarantee I'd see folks.
And the hunting would probably be lousy. I was amazed at how few deer I saw along the AT. I would have seen 10 times as many if hunting in my usual areas.

For me, personally, it would be irresponsible to put a stand right on the AT because many hikers wouldn't like it. However, for 99.9% of the hunters it would be perfectly SAFE to put a stand on the trail, so who am I to say it is irresponsible?

I thought it was interesting that the ATC suggested that hikers stay off the trail during big game season. (I guess that would make the fall hikers irresponsible!) That seems downright silly to me, with nearly 140 people a DAY being killed on our national roadways, and heaven knows how many serious injuries. Folks, life is dangerous! Get out there and hike and have fun. As someone pointed out, for every rare hunter/hiker accident, there will be scores of instances where a hunter helps rescue a injured hiker.

02-01-2008, 21:52
I have come across this problem while out hiking the trails in the Pisgah National Forest,I have seen a few hunters caring guns or Bows. It really makes me feel safehttp://www.appalachiantrailservices.com/pics/smilies/death.gif