Here’s how to avoid your hiking plans getting disrupted by the Belgian hunting season.
October 1st marks the opening of the hunting season in Belgium. For the next three months, the closure of many forests in the Ardennes can cause havoc to your hiking plans. Many public trails suddenly become off-limits. And sometimes it’s not easy to find an alternative route. The best approach is to be prepared. But how do you know which forests are closed and when, and which footpaths are affected?
Michel from the excellent website UltimateHiking.net has done a great job to help you find the answers to these questions. He explains that Wallonia is divided into eight districts by the Département de la Nature et des Fôrets (DNF). These districts are then sub-divided into 4 or 5 cantons or sub-districts. Each of these sub-districts issues guidance on where and when hunting is taking place within its area of responsibility.
Michel has collated the relevant information from virtually all these sub-districts. By clicking through, you can find a detailed map and/or a list of of dates that forests are closed to the public. You can also look up which long-distance paths are affected by the hunts. This information will therefore help you plan your route without unexpectedly being greeted by a no-entry sign, and the sound of gunshots in the distance.
You can access all this information on hiking during the hunting season in Belgium by clicking on this page on Michel’s UltimateHiking site.
Thanks Michel for your time and effort in grouping this valuable information into one place.
That’s an excellent service!
That’s great to know – thanks. What about Flanders though? No hunting there?
Very little Marion. The forests are smaller.
Very important to know where to go and where to avoid.
Great PSA, Denzil. With the hunting in the US, I’m surprised we do not have a similar need here. Of course, driving down a country road at night during the deer rut season in October-November can be hazardous enough.
Great to have someone pull all this info together. In NY it can get quite complicated, between north-south zones, seasons for deer, turkey, small game, etc. and different times for bow, crossbow, muzzle-loader, etc. and then special pop-up seasons when the state decides the deer population needs additional culling.
It sounds as if it would be easier to put up signs when no shooting is taking place!
That’s a good suggestion! I have no idea how the deer are supposed to keep track of all this.
This is definitely a valuable service. I went hiking in the Ozark Mts of northwestern Arkansas once and found myself surrounded by hunters actively firing at game. Not pleasant to say the least, but I suppose we Yanks should be used to dodging bullets by now. Enjoy your week Denzil!
That sounds an unpleasant experience Henry. Hunting accidents occasionally happen, even over here. Last year I read of a hunter in Italy who shot his son, thinking he was a deer!