While hunting is prohibited on the Trout Run Trail, the Trail does pass through property where it is allowed, according to Winneshiek County Conservation Board Director Barb Schroeder.
"The Trout Run Trail travels through the Trout Run Wildlife Management area, an Iowa Department of Natural Resources game management area open to hunting, trapping and fishing," she said, of the property south of the Decorah Chevrolet Cadillac dealership.
The 11-mile Trout Run Trail loops around the city of Decorah on land within and outside Decorah city limits.
Because hunting is permitted on the posted DNR lands, Schroeder recommended Trail users and hunters respect each other's right to recreate.
"We encourage hunters to err on the side of caution and have firearms unloaded and cased in a sleeve if traveling to the DNR area via the Trail. Trail users should be aware of and respect hunting and trapping seasons," she said.
Schroeder advised Trail users to wear bright-colored clothing, preferably florescent orange during the fall and early winter months.
"Though dogs should be leashed at all times on the Trail, it is especially important that they are leashed during hunting and trapping season," she said.
Decorah Parks and Recreation Director Andy Nimrod said the land in the DNR's wildlife management area was purchased with federal funding from the Pittman-Robertson Federal Aid in Wildlife Restoration Act and must remain open to public hunting.
He said signs are posted around the Trail, including locations where hunting is not allowed. Nimrod said the signs are meant to alert Trail users if they're going to complete the 11-mile route, they will ride and hike through property where hunting is allowed. That not only includes the DNR's management area, but rural property near the Holthaus farm.
During hunting season, Trail users might decide to ride only certain parts of the Trail, and hunters are asked to be extra careful near it, he said.
"It's a balance," Nimrod said.
When a Trail goes through the country, regardless of where it is, there's always a chance a user could encounter a hunter, cattle, dogs or a falling tree.
"You're not protected all the time," he said.