Information on Hunting Seasons and Hiking in Hunting Areas

Hunting and Hiking in WNC

Hunting is prevalent throughout WNC on NC State Game Lands, National Park land and National Forest land.  Most of the hunting areas are also areas with many popular hiking trails.  When hiking during hunting season it is important to wear bright colors or blaze orange vests and/or hats.  The primary hunting season is during the fall, which is also a very popular time of the year for hikers.  During this period, you should take reasonable precautions but not be discouraged from hiking on trails where there might be hunters.

Usually you will not encounter a hunter but during black bear season (October through December), it is not uncommon to meet a black bear hunter and his pack of dogs on hiking trails.  These encounters are virtually always friendly just as if it were another hiker.

Please remember – regardless of your personal opinions about hunting, black bear hunters perform a valuable service keeping black bear populations healthy and in balance with the environment and the natural food sources.  We want black bears in the wild and not in our neighborhoods!  When you meet a hunter, mutual respect for hunters and hikers alike and their right to use public lands is encouraged.  Do not interfere with hunters or their hunting activity in any way!

Hunting Seasons

Detailed, current information about hunting seasons in WNC can be found on the  NC Wildlife Resources web site.  Please visit this site to get the official information about any hunting that may be permitted in your planned hiking area.

The major hunting seasons for WNC include the following.  This information can vary from season to season so be sure to check the NC Wildlife Resources for the exact dates.

  • Black Bear – October through December
  • Deer – November through December
  • Wild Turkey – April