Outdoors Fall Dog Agility Safety

outdoors dog agility safetyHunting season isn’t just in the fall and if you live in an area that allows hunting you need to keep that thought in the back of your mind.  For those who live in rural areas or visit areas that are frequented by hunters, hunting season can be at the least an inconvenience and at worst it can be a disaster.

So if you hike, bike or live in areas where hunting is permitted you need to know the seasons and be prepared for you and your dog’s safety as well as for an emergency.  No one is out to shot you or your dog, but a stray bullet, well, could put an end to your training.  Areas that are going to be the most dangerous are the highly wooded areas and areas of tall undergrowth.  The best defense in these places is to stay on well marked trails and try to avoid dawn and dusk hours where visibility will be poor.  You and your dog should also wear bright orange vests, collars and hat.  The more color the better.

While hiking don’t stalk around trying to be quiet as you may not only startle a hunter, you may startle his quarry and if the hunter doesn’t know you are there, you could be in the line of fire.  And during peak hunting seasons, keep your dog on a leash.  It may be less relaxing, but it could keep your dog from being mistaken for a deer or other quarry.  It can also keep your dog from bolting if a gun goes off nearby and keep them out of special finds left behind by hunters such as gut piles.

Always carry a cellphone in the off chance that there is an incident as well as a whistle in case you have poor cell phone coverage.  You can also put bells on your dog’s collar or vest.  Cowbells work well as they are easy to hear and not too annoying to walk with.  This will help protect your dog in case they escape so you will be able to find them easier and they will be giving a warning sound to hunters as well.

The best protection is to find somewhere else to get your exercise during peak hunting days and seasons.  It can be frustrating to have to give up your back forty exercise area, but it is only for a short time and really isn’t worth the risk if you live or exercise in an area that sees high hunter traffic.  No one, including the hunters, wants you or your dog being hit by a stray bullet or arrow.  You are both out doing what you love, we just have to learn how to keep each other safe.

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