Keeping Your Dog Safe During Hunting Season can be pretty dangerous, but that doesn’t mean you have to stay indoors.

If you live out in the country as I do, you’ll 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 the hunting season by following a few simple safety tips.

How To Keep Your Dog Safe During Hunting Season 

The most crucial safety tip to keep your dog safe is to keep an eye on them. Don’t remove the leash or leave alone outdoors during hunting season.

Dog’s need daily exercise, and for a lot of us, that includes outdoor walks. You can still go out and have fun with your dog during the hunting season.

Just make sure you stay with your dog and keep your dog safe during hunting season. 

The dogs most at risk are those that accompany hunters. You should take extra precautions when going outdoors with your dog. Even though hunters are encouraged to recognize their target shooting, accidents can happen.

Find Out When Your Local Hunting Seasons Begin & End

These vary by state; check with your rules 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 to find out when each hunting season starts.

Avoid Going Out in the Woods On Opening Day/Weekend

In many states opening day for certain hunting seasons is treated as a holiday. 

You’ll want to avoid being out in the woods on modern hunting days. 

Since you’ll encounter more hunters than usual during the opening of a successful hunting season.

Find Out Where Hunting is Permitted

Some public parks don’t allow hunting; it depends on your state’s regulations. There are 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 During Hunting Season

If you’re going to be walking out in many rural areas, it’s best to keep your dog on a leash. If you live near any public land that can be a hunting area, don’t leave your dog off the leash. 

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 to talk off after the game. If your dog has a tendency to chase or don’t have a reliable recall,  keep the leash during the hunting season.

Get Your Dog a Bright Orange Vest

One of the ways you and your dog can stay safe during hunting season is by making sure you stand out. 

If you’re going to be out in the woods, it’s a good idea to wear bright orange clothing to really stand out.

Hunters must wear ‘hunter orange’ by law in Michigan, and many other states have similar statutes. It’s one of the easiest ways to make sure you stand out and keep your dog safe during hunting season.

They sell “hunter orange” vests & clothing for dogs, but if your dog isn’t comfortable in a jacket, you could use a bandana. The orange is meant to be easily visible in all but the thickest of woods.

If your dog doesn’t like to wear vests you can opt for a bright bandana or collar.

When in the Woods You Should Wear Bright Colors as Well

Wear clothing that will stand out in the woods. Avoid neutrals or earth tones. And make sure you and your dog are easily visible. The last thing you want is to blend in with your surroundings during the hunting season.

Be Prepared for Declining Daylight

If you’re going to be walking your dog in the woods, remember that there are fewer daylight hours.

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.

Creation Core 3M Reflective Mesh Padded DogAttach 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 sound, 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 to make sure you get their attention rather than sneak around.

For Walks Choose a Park Where Hunting is not Permitted.

Mias and I still like to get in some good, long hikes in the fall. We found a beautiful park 4 miles away that doesn’t permit hunting so we can still get on some long walks.

Be Aware That Dogs Can Be Spooked by Gunfire

Dogs that aren’t trained to hunt may very well be scared of gunshots. 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 in limited light.

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 if You Follow a Few Safety Tips.

Mias and I change up our walking routine during the 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 checks out your local parks. Laika certainly doesn’t mind the change of scenery.

During the workweek, it’s a bit challenging to get out in the evening. It gets dark by the time I get home, so we’ve also found a ton of indoor activities for the fall & winter months to keep her active and mentally stimulated. 

We still do early morning walks every day, and our weekends include lots of outdoor exercises.

You don’t have to stay indoors with your dog during the hunting season. With some knowledge of your surroundings and effort, you can have a safe, active, and enjoyable autumn with your canine companion.

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