The Sandy Neck Marsh Trail, facing East.
The fall is a wonderful time of year. A warming sun brightens up the brisk October air as the leaves on the trees put on a spectacular display of changing color. The deep green grasses of the marshes turn to a fiery orange as the sun drops behind the horizon in the southwest, earlier and earlier each night. The fall welcomes all types of familiar wildlife, making their migrations to and from this region.
A Peregrine Falcon watching over its kingdom at Little Neck. The Fall is an excellent time for viewing the many species of migratory birds passing through the area.
The fall is also a great time of year to explore the beauty of Sandy Neck. Birders, hikers, artists, and photographers alike, all arrive to take in the serene landscapes and observe the magnificent wildlife found throughout the park. It is important to remember that the fall is also the start of hunting season. Hunters also come to Sandy Neck to enjoy all that it has to offer.
Many hikers have expressed their concern in regards to hunting in the park during this time of year. Here are some tips to follow in order to ensure everybody has a safe and enjoyable experience while out on Sandy Neck.
- Hunting is allowed Monday-Saturday, 1/2 hour before sunrise until sunset.
- Check in with the Gatehouse before hitting the trails. Hunters are required to sign-in at the gate, so we may be able to tell you if anyone is currently out hunting before your journey.
Deer run across the Barnstable Great Marsh, with a flock of Geese following in the background.
- There will be a Sandy Neck Deer Hunt this year, information is as follows:
- Check the trailheads for informational signs (see below) about the hunting season. Signs are posted at the marsh trail gate, and all trails along the front beach, providing the allowed dates for certain game. Knowing who is out hunting what species can be greatly beneficial in understanding what to expect while out exploring.
- There is no Hunting on Sundays! This is often the best time to hike out on Sandy Neck’s Marsh Trail system as there will be no worry of encountering hunting activity throughout the season.
- Wearing a blaze orange cap is highly recommended, making it easy for others to see you while out on the trails. Research shows that Blaze orange saves lives.
- Always stay on designated trails. This is especially important during hunting season. Remaining out in the open and away from thick brush will greatly minimize any risk of an incident.
- Dogs run a higher risk of incidence with hunters due to unpredictable movements and their ability to be mistaken for other wildlife. If you are hiking with a dog, dressing them in an orange vest or attaching a bell to their collar is highly recommended.
- There is no hunting allowed directly on the front beach. Hiking the front beach is a safe, consistent route this time of year and provides hikers with beautiful views of Cape Cod Bay every day.
- Understand that hunters have every right to enjoy the same places, resources and experiences as others. Harassing hunters or intentionally disrupting hunting activities is prohibited and may result in fines and/or ejection from the beach.
Exploring Sandy Neck during the fall is a rewarding and gratifying experience for hunters and hikers alike. It is important that we all work together to share this beautiful park so that all can enjoy it safely and peacefully.
The Barnstable Great Marsh in a beautiful fall display.
An Eastern Coyote patrols the front beach of Sandy Neck Beach.
Sean Kortis Town of Barnstable Natural Resource Officer