OT Hikes During Deer Season

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OT Hikes During Deer Season

Postby wicrao1 » Thu Sep 14, 2017 11:21 am

Some friends and I are planning a mid-November, multi-day hike, which would begin the final two days of rifle deer season. We're all hunters as well as hikers and, as hunters, have never had any issues being on public land getting to and from our hunting spots by following the appropriate safety precautions--plenty of blaze orange, limit bushwacking through dense brush, not traveling near dusk or dawn, etc. In all my years of hunting public land (not in Missouri), I have never encountered a hiker, though I'm sure they have been in the area. I'm curious to hear the thoughts of those familiar with the OT regarding this. As of now, we're looking to hike from the western trailhead of the Eleven Point River section all the way through the entire Current River section (although the trip could be shortened to either start or end at Sinking Tower depending on circumstances). There will be four in our group, all of whom will be wearing blaze orange hats, vests, and using blaze orange pack covers. The sound of an occasional shot, while effecting the desired solitude of a hike, is an obvious trade off, but we want to avoid a situation where there will be numerous hunters set up in deer/beer camps along the trail. Work schedules make this our only available time for this trip. Thoughts? If you think it's not worth the risk, are there other areas of the OT that see less hunting pressure? Admittedly, Eleven Point is the big draw because of the opportunity to fly fish along the way.
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Re: OT Hikes During Deer Season

Postby mike » Fri Sep 15, 2017 9:17 am

Sounds like you know what to do/wear so I wouldn't be overly concerned. I have backpacked during modern gun season, with plenty of orange, and not had any problems. Most of the deer/beer camps will be along forest service roads and you can just avoid those.

One area you might encounter a problem on the Current River section is Peck Ranch. The trail is usually closed in this area during hunting season. You can take a detour/road walk to bypass the ranch.

One other possible issue with fishing on Eleven Point is access. The "lower trail" east and west of Greer that follows the river may not be passable since the flood back in the spring. I haven't seen any posts where anyone has been on the lower trails since the flood but I have paddled the river and there are areas where it looks like a mass of bull dozers have pushed the trees down along the banks and sometimes several hundred yards out from the banks. The devastation is humbling and I wouldn't want to try to pick my way under, over, through that mess.

Mike
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Re: OT Hikes During Deer Season

Postby wicrao1 » Fri Sep 15, 2017 2:22 pm

Thank you Mike. The information is much appreciated. I spoke to a local guide about river access below Greer and he seemed to think that there should be areas that we can reach, but I hadn't considered that the lower trail may have spots that are impassable. I suppose worst case scenario we could just fish around the Greer campground/access area and maybe Hurricane Creek inlet, assuming it's not full of runoff from the floods. The power of water never ceases to amaze me and from the sounds of it, you had some pretty ferocious flooding in the area.
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Re: OT Hikes During Deer Season

Postby Mark J » Mon Sep 25, 2017 6:34 pm

I hunt public land, sometimes off of the ozark trail. There is a huge difference in the number of hunters during the first weekend of rifle season versus the second. If you stick with the second weekend you'll be much better off.

I hiked the Eleven Point section in June and the flood damage was not a problem.
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Re: OT Hikes During Deer Season

Postby wicrao1 » Tue Sep 26, 2017 6:50 pm

Thank you Mark. The info is much appreciated.
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