Deer, geese, and ducks, oh my! The hunting season is now upon us. I know personally it is a time-honored tradition that my family takes part in every year. It is something I grew up doing, and I love teaching my kids how to do it as well. For me, this is an enjoyable pastime that was passed down from my grandfather to myself. Now my kids are learning the same values and respect for nature as I did.
My grandfather sat me down many years ago and said, “They stopped making land, treat it well.” Those have been words that I have taken to heart. I have to ask myself one quest ion, though. Why do other people not know this? We cut down huge swaths of trees, change the courses of rivers, and hunt animals for fine coats. What do we have to show for it? We have metropolitan areas, condos, and roads that are in a habitual state of repair.
I don’t know where you fall on the climate crisis debate. Heck, you may have never given it too much thought until now. I do know one thing, though. We need to take care of our planet. In the grand scheme of things, what’s the harm in being mindful of recycling more? Switching to being energy efficient? Being more, “green”? I’m not saying break the bank or go protest Water Gremlin. It’s little things we all can do on a daily basis that will help out. Just think: what would happen if everyone on campus went out and collected one bag of garbage off the street of their neighborhood?
So, with that in mind, here are some tips you can use to have fun outdoors during Minnesota bunting season.
1 – Orange is good
Now, many hunters will wear blaze orange while hunting. This is not only a requirement by state law, but it’s also a good way to stand out from the browns and greens of the woods.
2- Use the Power of Google
Yes, that is right, get out your phone and Google the next part. Minnesota has a plethora of public land and state parks, all of which are open to the public. Just keep in mind that hunters can be on the land as well. The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (MNDNR) has a great tool for you to use. It is their Recreation Compass. It will tell you if, on state land, what type of hunting is going on. Also, your respective counties will have information on this as well, most of which will be closed while hunts are happening.
3 – Leave the device in the car
A lot of us are connected across social platforms and have our pulses attached to the battery life of our devices. You can’t enjoy nature while looking at your phone or listing to your podcast. Walking a trail while the morning dew is fresh, the nice crisp clean air that fills your lungs, a soft melody of song birds chirping, and the magic hour between night and day have a Jot to offer. Technology can’t do it any justice. Our bodies are way more sophisticated than our devices, you just may not know it yet.
4- Situational awareness
Keep looking around you. You never know what you may see. Hunters are generally aware of their surroundings. No one can always be aware of everything. Make sure if you see a hunter in orange make sure they see you too. Let’s be honest- it’s going to hurt a lot to be on the wrong end.
5 – Leave it better then you found it
After plenty of times going out, and even on our very own campus, I have found beer cans and trash in places I did not think it would be. If you have a bag and/or an extra hand, do our planet a favor. Pick it up. Yes, it is that simple. Wear a bit of orange, a hat, maybe? If you’re going to state or county land make sure you know if it’s open or closed to hunting. Finally, make sure you’re looking around while enjoying the majesty Minnesota has to offer. Minnesota has plenty of trails for you to explore. You just need to take that first step.