Pets Shouldn’t Be Left Unattended Outdoors During Hunting Season
It’s hunting season and it can be a pretty dangerous time for pets. If you live out in the country like I do you’ll probably want to take some extra precautions when taking your dog out this fall. You can still go out and enjoy the great outdoors with your dog during hunting season by following a few simple safety tips.
The dogs most at risk are those that accompany hunters but you should also take some extra precautions for your family pet. Even though hunters are encouraged to recognize their target before shooing accidents can happen.
Dog’s need to get daily exercise and for a lot of us that includes outdoor walks. You can still go out and have fun with your dog during hunting season. There’s a few steps you can take to protect your family pet this season.
Know your local hunting seasons
These vary by state; check with your states hunting or wildlife agency to find out when the season officially begins. If you live in the United States check out this list of Fish & Wildlife services listed by state to find out when your season begins.
Find out where hunting is permitted
Some public parks don’t allow hunting; it depends on your state’s regulations. There’s a few metro parks in my area that don’t allow hunting but the state parks do. These rules can change depending on current deer populations. Check with your local wildlife service to find out what lands near you allow hunting.
Keep your dog on leash
If you’re going to be walking out in any rural areas it’s best to keep your dog on leash. If you live near any public land that can be used for hunting the last thing you want is your dog wandering off or chasing after a deer.
Discourage your dog from chasing wildlife
During hunting season you don’t want your dog talking off after game. If your dog has a tendency to chase or doesn’t have a reliable recall don’t allow them off leash during hunting season.
Get your dog a bright orange vest
They sell “hunter orange” clothing for dogs. If your dog isn’t comfortable in a vest you could use a bandana. The orange is meant to be easily visible in all but the thickest of woods.
If you’re out with your dog you should be wearing bright colors as well
Avoid neutrals or earth tones; make sure you and your dog are easily visible. The last thing you want is to blend in with your surroundings during hunting season.
Be prepared for declining daylight
Consider some reflective clothing if you’re going to be outdoors in the early morning or evening. For dogs there’s a wide variety of reflective collars and leashes available. Carry a flashlight if you’re going to be out after dark.
Attach a bell to your dogs collar
The bell will make it easier for you and others to keep track of your dog. If you don’t want to use a bell don’t be afraid to make some noise – making yourself known to hunters.
If you spot a hunter make yourself known
Don’t assume that the hunter sees you first. The safest thing to do when you spot a hunter is make sure you get their attention rather than trying to sneak around.
If you want to walk in the woods pick a park where hunting is not permitted
Laika and I still like to get in some good, long hikes in the fall. We found a nice park 4 miles away that doesn’t permit hunting so we can still get in some long hikes.
A lot of dogs are scared of gunshots
Dogs that aren’t trained to hunt may very well be scared of gun shots. Keep them on a leash to prevent them from running off.
Avoid walking on trails in the early morning or late evening
Both you and hunters will have a harder time distinguishing what they’re seeing.
Stay on well traveled roads
You’re less likely to run into any hunters following a well traveled road.
Don’t leave your dog unattended in the yard
This is especially true in rural areas where your land might back up woods where people are hunting. Just because an area is marked private property doesn’t mean everyone will follow the rules. Some hunters have been known to climb fences to hunt on private property.
You Don’t Have to Stay Indoors
Laika and I change up our walking routine during hunting season. Instead of walking the woods around our house we go to local parks and stick to the road. There’s plenty of parks that don’t allow hunting. If you’re not comfortable walking your dog near hunters check out your local parks. Laika certainly doesn’t mind the change of scenery.
During the work week it’s a bit challenging to get out in the evening. It gets dark by the time I get home so we’ve also developed a list of some indoor activities for the fall & winter months to keep her active and mentally stimulated. We still do early morning walks everyday and our weekends include lots of outdoor exercise.
You don’t have to stay indoors with your dog during hunting season. With some knowledge of your surroundings and effort you can have a safe, active, and enjoyable autumn with your canine companion.
This post originally appeared on PuppyLeaks.com.