For now, the woods (mostly) belong to hunters
November 5-20, 2022 deer hunters will take to the woods of northern Minnesota and get comfortable in their stands. There, they’ll wait for a whitetail encounter but more likely see chickadees, nuthatches, squirrels, chipmunks, grouse and, if they’re lucky, a marten or fox to watch as they pass the time from their perch in a tree.
Whether this year’s hunters bag a deer or not, it’s their time in the woods. This means certain trails and hiking areas are closed to the public. Know where to go on The Range and where to avoid. And, if you’re out in the woods or along country roads, wear blaze orange (or pink) just to be safe.
Know where to go: many trails are closed
Here is a partial list of closures, and some suggestions for where to hike and play in the outdoors on The Range while hunting season reigns.
The Off-Highway Vehicle Recreation Area in Gilbert is closed for the duration of deer season, and re-opening on weekends Fri-Sunday until spring, when they are open daily. All other state trails and state forests are closed to ATVs except when used by hunters and then only during certain hours. To check the status of your trail during deer season and all year, visit the DNR website.
Hunting is also allowed in some state parks. Find out which ones before you make plans.
Redhead Mountain Bike in Chisholm is also closed to bikers and hikers during deer season. Follow them on Facebook for trail updates throughout the year.
Hunting is allowed on all Superior National Forest lands except in campgrounds and boat launch areas. Hikers, it’s best to avoid areas like Big Aspen Recreation Area and Lookout Mountain for now, but definitely put these trail systems on your list for exploration! If you do decide to hike or bike, expect to see hunters and be safe by wearing orange, that includes pets.
Hike and recreate safely during deer season
Fortunately, there are plenty of other places to hike and play during deer season. The trails of Carey Lake and Maple Hill, both in Hibbing, are great places to explore. Here, you can look for wildlife, get some great exercise and enjoy the outdoors. Note, however, that hunters may be using properties that border these parks.
Meanwhile, Olcott Park in Virginia is fun for all ages – walk, play disc golf and let the kids climb on the playground. Be sure to the Virginia Heritage Museum (free!) while you’re there. And you won’t be seeing blaze orange unless it’s a fashion choice.
Another great stroll can be found in Aurora at the St James Mine Lake. This great trail offers views of a reclaimed mine pit. The Giants Ridge hiking trails (as long as they are not making snow!) are another great option. Finally, the Mesabi Trail from the Embarrass Lake trailhead area into Giants Ridge resort offers serenity and scenery.
For more ideas on outdoor adventures visit ironrange.org/request-information, and ask for our hiking guide.