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Alert Guns (hunting) and pilgrims safety

Topics realted to Hazards on the camino de Santiago
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Time of past OR future Camino
Camino Frances
Camino Portugese
Hunting party shooting on the Camino Finisterre this Sunday in mountains between Hospital and Cee. Was alarmed to hear 3 shots fired very very close to me, screamed out at top of my voice 'Stop shooting, I am here' shooting stopped and 3 cars of hunters (& dogs in trailers) drove past me a couple of minutes later. I flagged them down and communicated it was too dangerous with pilgrams on trail & they scared me, they were respectful. Best advice for pilgrams is to shout out loudly if you hear gunfire, keep shouting till gunfire stops, most hunters will hold fire if they here someone shouting (they're often wearing ear plugs so shout loudly) . Although there's 0-5% chance of being shot, it's 100% chance of being catastrophic so take your own life in your hands and let the hunters know you're there. I've hunted and shot rifles in Australia so this isn't being alarmist, it's a being realist and keeping youself & them, safe from harm.
 
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Tincatinker

Veteran Member
Time of past OR future Camino
2012
In my experience hunting parties, and hunters in general in Spain, are sensitive to the risks of "strays" in their hunting zone. They'll always try to set their posts to fire away from any road, track or path. Nonetheless a timely warning @Dianne Maclean.

Perhaps an opportunity to encourage pilgrims to wear that hi-viz vest that you'll see on most Spaniards on their early morning caminata de salud
 

Gobsmacked by the World

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Time of past OR future Camino
CF SJPP - SDC 2022
In total agreement with Tincatinker. Hi-viz clothing, of some kind, I believe is essential for a less stressful Camino. Not just for hunters, but road traffic (not just in the country, but more so in the city).
The yellow vests that are somewhat mandatory (I’ve been told) are plentiful…though not always compatible with a backpack.
I’d recommend going to Decathlon and going to the hunting section. They have vests, but also reversible hats and toques, blaze orange on one side and a dull colour on the other, when you are in stealth-mode. Blaze orange is an international signal to hunters, and drivers.
You don’t have to dress up like a harlequin…there are even blaze orange Buffs that would be multi-use and are my ‘go to’. If you’ve taken taxis or buses along the Camino, you can see (or not see) pilgrims along the road, and appreciate that a driver may have difficulty identifying them. If a person can provide more information to the driver, the better.
 
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wayfarer

Veteran Member
Time of past OR future Camino
2012, 2013, 2014.
I have come across several groups of hunters over the years hunting wild boar while hiking in the French Pyrenees. They know what they are doing, they will not shoot towards known busy trails as any incidents will cause them much grief with the authorities, loss of gun license etc.
Walk on without worry, you'll be fine.
 
Time of past OR future Camino
Camino Frances 21 October 2014
Portugese Way October 2018
Hunting party shooting on the Camino Finisterre this Sunday in mountains between Hospital and Cee. Was alarmed to hear 3 shots fired very very close to me, screamed out at top of my voice 'Stop shooting, I am here' shooting stopped and 3 cars of hunters (& dogs in trailers) drove past me a couple of minutes later. I flagged them down and communicated it was too dangerous with pilgrams on trail & they scared me, they were respectful. Best advice for pilgrams is to shout out loudly if you hear gunfire, keep shouting till gunfire stops, most hunters will hold fire if they here someone shouting (they're often wearing ear plugs so shout loudly) . Although there's 0-5% chance of being shot, it's 100% chance of being catastrophic so take your own life in your hands and let the hunters know you're there. I've hunted and shot rifles in Australia so this isn't being alarmist, it's a being realist and keeping youself & them, safe from harm.
Happened to me twice on the way in to Calvinos and again coming in to Viana do Castelo!!
 

RJM

Veteran Member
Time of past OR future Camino
Camino's Frances, Fisterre, Portuges. Over 180 day
No worries. The hunters won't shoot at you and no need to scream like a banshee at them.
Hunting part of the culture and part of the Camino. The gunshots are no more disturbing than fireworks.
Just keep walking.
 

RRat

Active Member
Time of past OR future Camino
Planning 2017
Hunting party shooting on the Camino Finisterre this Sunday in mountains between Hospital and Cee. Was alarmed to hear 3 shots fired very very close to me, screamed out at top of my voice 'Stop shooting, I am here' shooting stopped and 3 cars of hunters (& dogs in trailers) drove past me a couple of minutes later. I flagged them down and communicated it was too dangerous with pilgrams on trail & they scared me, they were respectful. Best advice for pilgrams is to shout out loudly if you hear gunfire, keep shouting till gunfire stops, most hunters will hold fire if they here someone shouting (they're often wearing ear plugs so shout loudly) . Although there's 0-5% chance of being shot, it's 100% chance of being catastrophic so take your own life in your hands and let the hunters know you're there. I've hunted and shot rifles in Australia so this isn't being alarmist, it's a being realist and keeping youself & them, safe from harm.
Too often, people that enjoy the outdoors, walking. kayaking, and more seem to migrate to brown and black clothes and equipment. High visibility orange while not a bad idea, a less extreme approach would be more visible colors in general.
 
Time of past OR future Camino
September 2022 CF
We're heard shotguns and dogs in the Bierzo valley several days ago, bird hunting I assume. But they were not close the Camino.

We also encountered hunters in Calzadilla de la Cueza, but they were in the Bar, as all the Pilgrim's we're leaving before sunrise. Their hunting day was over already.

Coffee and shots before going home to sleep! :)
 
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dbier

Active Member
Time of past OR future Camino
Last 114km Camino Frances, Jul 21
2023 - Camino P
A brief exercise in analogous reasoning...

I walk on roadsides occasionally in the US. I wear neon or blaze or blinky lights, walk on the side with the longest sight line, and don't use headphones.
Why should I assume that every driver is patient, isn't tired, isn't colorblind, and knows exactly where they are pointing at all times? Why should I place the responsibility to protect me solely on their shoulders?

There's a trail near our home in the US.
Hunting is permitted with certain weapons at certain times of the year.
I wear neon or blaze orange or blinky lights during the season.
Why should I assume that everyone holding a bow or gun is patient, properly trained, isn't colorblind, and knows exactly where they are pointing at each moment?
Why should I place the responsibility to protect me solely on their shoulders?
 

Walton

Active Member
Time of past OR future Camino
2016 Sjpp to Sdc. 2018 Lisbon to Sdc to Finisterre. Next up hopefully VDP or Del Norte.
In 2017, walking from Acebo, early in the day, I had a need to visit a convenience for the call of nature. We happened upon a cafe, and we entered and I ordered two cafe con leches before visiting the loo.
Before we entered the cafe we noticed a couple of cars with trailers containing all sorts of barking dogs. Some big, some little, some young and some old. Very strange I thought.
Anyway, while savoring our coffees our attention turned to a couple of young guys drinking beer and talking loudly.
The cafe attendant was not impressed and I'm sure she told them, in a stern voice, to leave.
These fellows looked shall we say, under the weather, and as we in turn were leaving, the attendant warned us to be careful because the young fellows were going boar hunting.
I tell you, we did hear some neaby gunshots as we walked, most likely short range shotguns as opposed to long range rifles, and we were very thankful to walk quickly in order to be safely out of range.
I often think about those dogs and hope they are treated well, but yes - wear good visability clothing not only for cars but also to ensure your safety during hunting season.
Just saying, as an observation, we were surprised by the absence of birdsong compared to those we hear where we live in Australia where hunting and shooting is rare and gun ownership is very strictly controlled and expensive.
 

Flog

Active Member
Time of past OR future Camino
2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019, 2020, 2021, 2022
I have often heard hunting gunshots on various caminos in late autumn and it doesn't phase me, though I make sure I don't stray from the path. Gun ownership is controlled in Spain and hunters are aware of their hunting environment.

If I had to walk or hike in a country where there was a strong gun culture and weapons were obtainable and easily accessible to all, I would have a different view.. I wouldn't put any responsibility on anyone else's shoulders. I wouldn't wear a high viz but I would wear a flak jacket.
 

RJM

Veteran Member
Time of past OR future Camino
Camino's Frances, Fisterre, Portuges. Over 180 day
This is related to the thread to some degree. The importance of reflective clothing, etc while walking the Camino. As far as hunting goes this would apply October through December, but for the rest of the year in regards to walking in the dark or low visibility it applies everyday.
On my last Frances I walked several early mornings in the dark. I had reflective tape on my trekking poles and a headlamp, but one morning I saw a pilgrim walking with a small strobe light on his pack. Very effective and no bigger than a golf ball. I saw him coming and saw him for a long time after he passed me.
 
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RJM

Veteran Member
Time of past OR future Camino
Camino's Frances, Fisterre, Portuges. Over 180 day
I have often heard hunting gunshots on various caminos in late autumn and it doesn't phase me, though I make sure I don't stray from the path. Gun ownership is controlled in Spain and hunters are aware of their hunting environment.

If I had to walk or hike in a country where there was a strong gun culture and weapons were obtainable and easily accessible to all, I would have a different view.. I wouldn't put any responsibility on anyone else's shoulders. I wouldn't wear a high viz but I would wear a flak jacket.
You obviously have never humped a ruck while wearing a flak jacket (body armor) before. Will wear your six out most quick. lol
 

Kanga

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Staff member
Time of past OR future Camino
Francés x 5, Le Puy x 2, Arles, Tours, Norte, Madrid, Via de la Plata, Portuguese, Primitivo
I'd have my red umbrella up. Also useful when forced to walk on a trafficked road.
 

Flog

Active Member
Time of past OR future Camino
2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019, 2020, 2021, 2022
You obviously have never humped a ruck while wearing a flak jacket (body armor) before. Will wear your six out most quick. lol
True, I haven't! 2nd half of my post was, in part, tongue in cheek..
 
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RJM

Veteran Member
Time of past OR future Camino
Camino's Frances, Fisterre, Portuges. Over 180 day
This is related to the thread to some degree. The importance of reflective clothing, etc while walking the Camino. As far as hunting goes this would apply October through December, but for the rest of the year in regards to walking in the dark or low visibility it applies everyday.
On my last Frances I walked several early mornings in the dark. I had reflective tape on my trekking poles and a headlamp, but one morning I saw a pilgrim walking with a small strobe light on his pack. Very effective and no bigger than a golf ball. I saw him coming and saw him for a long time after he passed me.
 

MaineSally

MaineSally
Time of past OR future Camino
Cam Frances SJPDP to Santiago ('17): Finisterre ('17); Muxia ('17): Camino Portuguese ('19)
A brief exercise in analogous reasoning...

I walk on roadsides occasionally in the US. I wear neon or blaze or blinky lights, walk on the side with the longest sight line, and don't use headphones.
Why should I assume that every driver is patient, isn't tired, isn't colorblind, and knows exactly where they are pointing at all times? Why should I place the responsibility to protect me solely on their shoulders?

There's a trail near our home in the US.
Hunting is permitted with certain weapons at certain times of the year.
I wear neon or blaze orange or blinky lights during the season.
Why should I assume that everyone holding a bow or gun is patient, properly trained, isn't colorblind, and knows exactly where they are pointing at each moment?
Why should I place the responsibility to protect me solely on their shoulders?
Couldn’t agree more. Hi-vis buffs, ball caps or hats are my go-to in the Fall when duck hunters and deer hunters are ever present! I was unnerved hearing gun fire on the Frances. I want to say it was outside Pamplona. I was leaving a “metro” area and then was back into vegetation along the camino.
 
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Don Camillo

Active Member
Time of past OR future Camino
Frances 04-16
Norte/Primitivo 09-16
VdlP/ Sanabres 02/3-17
Levante 09/17,
Ruta de la Lana 09/18
Long story short I had a run in early hours with wild boar whilst bivvying out on Primitivo. Resulting in my relocation up a tree appreciating 3.30 am on an early Spanish morning. Since then taken an interest all things wild boar as in "know your (potential) enemy". All this stuff about shouting out to hunters, wearing bright orange and being "safe" on marked tracks is all very well until....
Take a glance at the filmed Spanish (and elsewhere) boar shoots on You Tube. The gun discipline shown in the heat of the moment, the shots taken in direction of others in the hunt let alone respecting footpaths the potential for " blue on blue" is obvious.
Plus solid slug from a shotgun or bullet will ricochet irrespective of where a footpath is.
All I am pointing out is that being on a path wearing an orange vest is not necessarily any use if something metallic or leaden has missed something organic, struck something inanimate and is then flying your way.
Google how many hunting accidents there are during the French hunting season for, perhaps, a more accurate version of this topic.
Be aware of your path, stay safe but be realistic as to the risk of wandering through an actively hunted area.
Don.
 

MaineSally

MaineSally
Time of past OR future Camino
Cam Frances SJPDP to Santiago ('17): Finisterre ('17); Muxia ('17): Camino Portuguese ('19)
Long story short I had a run in early hours with wild boar whilst bivvying out on Primitivo. Resulting in my relocation up a tree appreciating 3.30 am on an early Spanish morning. Since then taken an interest all things wild boar as in "know your (potential) enemy". All this stuff about shouting out to hunters, wearing bright orange and being "safe" on marked tracks is all very well until....
Take a glance at the filmed Spanish (and elsewhere) boar shoots on You Tube. The gun discipline shown in the heat of the moment, the shots taken in direction of others in the hunt let alone respecting footpaths the potential for " blue on blue" is obvious.
Plus solid slug from a shotgun or bullet will ricochet irrespective of where a footpath is.
All I am pointing out is that being on a path wearing an orange vest is not necessarily any use if something metallic or leaden has missed something organic, struck something inanimate and is then flying your way.
Google how many hunting accidents there are during the French hunting season for, perhaps, a more accurate version of this topic.
Be aware of your path, stay safe but be realistic as to the risk of wandering through an actively hunted area.
Don.
Valid point about errant slugs, but anything I can do to alert others of my presence is prudent…short of blowing my whistle the entire length of the Camino! Hah!
 

Trekker One

Member
Time of past OR future Camino
C. F.2014,15,16 &19 Portuguese '17, Primitivo '18
A pilgrim's reaction to gunshots and hunting in general probably depends mostly on whether they were brought up around firearms or not. I did hunt at one time, but strictly target shoot these days. The vast majority of hunters are reasonable, careful people. The absolute last thing they wish to do is startle or possibly injure anyone...other than their intended game of course!
As a pilgrim, I am a guest in Spain, so I am not about to lecture any native going about living his life in his own country.
 

RJM

Veteran Member
Time of past OR future Camino
Camino's Frances, Fisterre, Portuges. Over 180 day
I can understand the concern to the uninitiated and unfamiliar in regards to hunting and firearms but honestly as a whole there's really no need for concern. As far as I know there's been no pilgrims struck by gunfire while walking the Camino in the vicinity of hunters. Pilgrims are in far more danger from passing motor vehicles all year round and on all the Camino paths. Also from falls and medical emergencies related to bad cardio vascular health.
I suppose if one was truly concerned my best advice is to not walk the Camino during the months of hunting season or if one does detour around the hunting areas.
 

Flog

Active Member
Time of past OR future Camino
2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019, 2020, 2021, 2022
Pilgrims are in far more danger from passing motor vehicles all year round and on all the Camino paths. Also from falls and medical emergencies related to bad cardio vascular health.

I agree. Without wanting to sound too flippant, pilgrims are far more likely to succumb to falling off their perches from the latter scenario than from being shot off them.
 
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RJM

Veteran Member
Time of past OR future Camino
Camino's Frances, Fisterre, Portuges. Over 180 day

henrythedog

Veteran Member
Time of past OR future Camino
My affair
But the last one the gentleman would ever be invited to on my old beats.
And now that we have prospective pilgrims worldwide checking the pack weight of Flak Jackets I think we could put this thread to bed.
Ought to have thinned out numbers in the Maragatos at least 😉
Yes, indeed. My shoot has always had a zero-alcohol policy and the (very few) who we consider unsafe never get invited back.

The thread’s probably run it’s course as you say.
 
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Time of past OR future Camino
Francés : Sarria-Santiago (2013)
Via Podiensis : (2014-17)
Via Tolosana : Arles-Toulouse-(2018-19)
Hunting party shooting on the Camino Finisterre this Sunday in mountains between Hospital and Cee. Was alarmed to hear 3 shots fired very very close to me, screamed out at top of my voice 'Stop shooting, I am here' shooting stopped and 3 cars of hunters (& dogs in trailers) drove past me a couple of minutes later. I flagged them down and communicated it was too dangerous with pilgrams on trail & they scared me, they were respectful. Best advice for pilgrams is to shout out loudly if you hear gunfire, keep shouting till gunfire stops, most hunters will hold fire if they here someone shouting (they're often wearing ear plugs so shout loudly) . Although there's 0-5% chance of being shot, it's 100% chance of being catastrophic so take your own life in your hands and let the hunters know you're there. I've hunted and shot rifles in Australia so this isn't being alarmist, it's a being realist and keeping youself & them, safe from harm.
I've frequently hiked in France in September and always found the gunshots on Sunday mornings rather unnerving, and usually wear a bright orange/red shirt and hat just in case... I remember running into hunters and a couple of them looked surprised seeing me on the GR. One got on his walkie-talkie which was encouraging. I saw at least 8 hunters one day in a 15 minute period--and they were all wearing safety vests.
 
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Doghound

New Member
Time of past OR future Camino
Future
Hunting party shooting on the Camino Finisterre this Sunday in mountains between Hospital and Cee. Was alarmed to hear 3 shots fired very very close to me, screamed out at top of my voice 'Stop shooting, I am here' shooting stopped and 3 cars of hunters (& dogs in trailers) drove past me a couple of minutes later. I flagged them down and communicated it was too dangerous with pilgrams on trail & they scared me, they were respectful. Best advice for pilgrams is to shout out loudly if you hear gunfire, keep shouting till gunfire stops, most hunters will hold fire if they here someone shouting (they're often wearing ear plugs so shout loudly) . Although there's 0-5% chance of being shot, it's 100% chance of being catastrophic so take your own life in your hands and let the hunters know you're there. I've hunted and shot rifles in Australia so this isn't being alarmist, it's a being realist and keeping youself & them, safe from harm.
Not sure it is really an issue, you may have been a bit surprised if you don’t understand how the local hunting seasons work.

But these things perpetuate as they don’t cause any harm to pilgrims or public. In fact I don’t imagine a single peregrino has been injured by a hunter! On the contrary I would guess the road traffic stats are worrying, but we don’t shout and wave our arms at all passing traffic.

It doesn’t help to catastrophise over what is in fact a pretty safe, legal activity.
 

WGroleau

Wandering Weirdo
Time of past OR future Camino
2015 & 2016 (partial)
I suppose if one was truly concerned my best advice is to not walk the Camino during the months of hunting season or if one does detour around the hunting areas.
Easier said than done. How many "coto de caza" signs have you seen along the path? Means "area/reserve for hunting"
 

Mito

Active Member
Time of past OR future Camino
CF (2011, 2013, 2018) Roncesvalles-Astorga
CLeP (2013) Le Puy-?
GUD (2019) Dovre-Trondheim
There’s a reason why hunters wear blaze orange. Even extremely careful hunters with full knowledge of trails, etc can inadvertently fire in the direction of a person if they don’t know they are there. It’s a good idea to wear it during hunting season no matter where you are hiking. That goes for the Camino as well!!
 

Doghound

New Member
Time of past OR future Camino
Future
There’s a reason why hunters wear blaze orange. Even extremely careful hunters with full knowledge of trails, etc can inadvertently fire in the direction of a person if they don’t know they are there. It’s a good idea to wear it during hunting season no matter where you are hiking. That goes for the Camino as well!!
You see I don’t agree, hunters in Europe do not wear blaze, unless it is a big game shoot and they are moving about in the game shooting area. Or in the US where Center fire rifles are used and they have no idea who else might be on public lands.

The hunting areas bordering the Camino are bird and rabbit shoots, meaning shotguns only which are no where near as risky and they avoid the known rights of way, just like all hunters do. Hunting is with dogs pointing and flushing sparse game. The peregrino is quite simply never likely to be any where near the’ action’.
 
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Mito

Active Member
Time of past OR future Camino
CF (2011, 2013, 2018) Roncesvalles-Astorga
CLeP (2013) Le Puy-?
GUD (2019) Dovre-Trondheim
You see I don’t agree, hunters in Europe do not wear blaze, unless it is a big game shoot and they are moving about in the game shooting area. Or in the US where Center fire rifles are used and they have no idea who else might be on public lands.

The hunting areas bordering the Camino are bird and rabbit shoots, meaning shotguns only which are no where near as risky and they avoid the known rights of way, just like all hunters do. Hunting is with dogs pointing and flushing sparse game. The peregrino is quite simply never likely to be any where near the’ action’.
Good info. If it’s just birds and rabbits, then I concur. In the US, however, unless you are certain it’s just bird season, wearing orange is prudent. Even on private land where I am (Maine) as hunters are not restricted to public land in this state.
 

henrythedog

Veteran Member
Time of past OR future Camino
My affair
You see I don’t agree, hunters in Europe do not wear blaze, unless it is a big game shoot and they are moving about in the game shooting area. Or in the US where Center fire rifles are used and they have no idea who else might be on public lands.

The hunting areas bordering the Camino are bird and rabbit shoots, meaning shotguns only which are no where near as risky and they avoid the known rights of way, just like all hunters do. Hunting is with dogs pointing and flushing sparse game. The peregrino is quite simply never likely to be any where near the’ action’.
The beaters on my shoot (UK) all wear blaze hats or carry a similar flag. We do shoot through woodland with many changes of height, but still it’s a simple enough precaution.

We haven’t shot a beater in the ten years we’ve been operating - and they’re all out in front of the guns. If a member of the public approaches a danger area, shooting is stopped by anyone on the shoot on a simple whistle-blast.

I’d expect any organised shoot to have similar procedures.
 

Tincatinker

Veteran Member
Time of past OR future Camino
2012
The beaters on my shoot (UK) all wear blaze hats or carry a similar flag. We do shoot through woodland with many changes of height, but still it’s a simple enough precaution.

We haven’t shot a beater in the ten years we’ve been operating - and they’re all out in front of the guns. If a member of the public approaches a danger area, shooting is stopped by anyone on the shoot on a simple whistle-blast.

I’d expect any organised shoot to have similar procedures.
At Broadlands Lord Louis would occasionally walk with the beaters. That tended to keep the guns fairly focused.

I am going to close this thread now. The advice offered above, to Pilgrims walking in hunting season, should suffice
 
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