Written by Amanda Searles, LVT
Even though summer is coming to an end, there are still many outdoor activities to be enjoyed this upcoming fall season. Trail runs and hunting are two great examples. Many trails are absolutely beautiful this time of year, the changing foliage and the mild temperatures are sure to entice people to get outside with their four-legged family members. I have recently started hunting with my husband and discovered that I have inadvertently disturbed a hunter or two over the years. A little awareness and a few simple adjustments before stepping into the woods will ensure safety for your family and pets while considering a hunter’s experience.
Wear orange; it is never out of fashion to be visible.
Not just for hunters, blaze orange or hunter orange, should be worn by all family members including your dog. While hiking trails or simply wandering the woods of your back yard, the vibrant color makes you visible from a distance. Canine orange vests can be purchased at local sporting goods stores.
Whistle while you walk.
Vocalizing or whistling every once in a while during your walk enables hunters to hear you if you are out of sight. Applying a bell to your cat or dog’s collar follows the same concept that your pet’s presence will be noted if he or she is not immediately seen.
You may smell.
Unless instructed, do not approach hunting stands, blinds or game cameras. Scent control is a common practice for many hunters. If you and your pet walk around these areas, your scent (think perfume, laundry detergent etc.) may deter approaching wildlife.
A leash goes a long way.
Leash your pets in wooded areas to prevent them from chasing wildlife or running out of sight. A pup may not be able to help himself if a deer bounds away from him. The sound of a gun shot may cause fearful dogs to run away and hide. Gunshot report is similar to the boom of fireworks. Lastly, there may be wild game traps in brooks and fields. Using a leash may prevent an accidental ensnarement.
Know the time and place.
Hunting is popular throughout the year along with trapping. Knowing where and when hunters and trappers recreate is helpful when scheduling your family’s outdoor activities. New Hampshire’s Fish and Game Department posts the schedules for hunting and trapping on their website http://www.wildlife.state.nh.us.
Alternatively, if you want to avoid hunting areas altogether, there are parks that prohibit hunting and trapping. New Hampshire Parks and Recreation has an excellent website to find the best state park for your excursion. https://www.nhstateparks.org/.
Amanda Searles, LVT
Amanda is a 2008 graduate from Great Bay Community College where she earned her associates degree in veterinary sciences. She then obtained her veterinary technician license through the state of Maine. She has worked for Port City Veterinary Referral Hospital for eight years and loves emergency medicine. Amanda enjoys all things outdoors including running, fishing and hunting. She resides in Eliot Maine with her husband Mike and their dog Hunter.