Do you feel a chill in the evening air? If not, you probably will soon. Fall is just around the corner, as is hunting season.
Whether you’re a hunter or not, you’ll need to understand how to keep your dogs safe during the next six months. Hunters, both experienced and inexperienced, are prowling the woods, sniffing out game.
While most hunters are responsible, there are sadly quite a few who are happy to take a potshot at your coyote-looking or wolf-looking dog.
Hunting seasons vary, so it’s important to know the schedule for your area. These can be found at your state game and fish website. Remember that bow hunters often hunt at different times than those with guns. Check your area for both seasons.
In addition, there are different times for different hunts. For example, elk hunting varies from duck hunting season. Be sure you know what’s happening in your region.
If you live in an area that still allows trapping, it’s important to be aware of possible locations where they may be set. Minnesota is one of several states that still allows trapping.
If the website for your state isn’t clear on the dates, head on over to your local sporting goods store and ask. They will know!
Hunters are most active during dusk and dawn, which is when the game is most active. Avoid walking in the woods during these times of the day.
If you do find these times to be the best for walking, be sure to stay on trails and wear visible gear.
We know it’s hard to keep your dogs leashed while you’re in the woods, but it’s very important for their safety. That’s why we offer a variety of sizes and lengths of leashes for your dogs. Our 15-ft lead is an especially popular lead this time of year!
Even if your dog has a great recall, it’s too easy for hunters to see an animal without a human and mistakenly shoot them. Keep your dogs at your side during hunting season and avoid letting your dog explore heavy bush or trees.
Most dogs are sensitive to gunfire. Even if hunters are a mile away, a high-powered rifle can be enough to startle your dog. They may pull suddenly on the leash or even knock you down as they try to escape the noise.
Always keep a tight grip on the leash and stay aware of your surroundings.
It’s easy to relax in the woods, and you should definitely do that, just not during hunting season.
Don’t walk quietly during hunting season. It may be helpful to sing aloud, recite your favorite poem or just carry a whistle while you’re walking.
If you're into silent walks, consider adding a leather snap bell to your dog's collar. These are ideal for making some noise while you're in the forest.
Whatever you choose to do, stay aware of your surroundings.
Reflective gear helps hunters identify you and your dog. At the very least, your dog should be wearing a reflective collar. Our DuraFlect Synthetic Collar is not only waterproof and mold-resistant, it easily reminds hunters that your dog is not game.
Likewise, you should also make sure you’re wearing a bright safety vest. These are very inexpensive and can save a life.
Remember, while most hunters are responsible, it only takes one irresponsible hunter to take a life. Stay alert, stay visible, make plenty of noise, keep a tight grip on the leash and avoid active hunting areas.
We hope that everyone stays safe this hunting season!