Fall means hunting season throughout much of the United States. Many animal lovers also love the outdoors. Whether you let your cats out by the woods, go hiking with your dogs, go out hunting with dogs, or live by a hunting area, autumn is a great time to remember how to safely share the woods while protecting pets.
In Vermont upland bird hunting opens this weekend. It is important to make sure pet owners take appropriate safety measures to keep their pet out of harms way.
- Wear brightly colored collars/bandanas on your dog when they are outside
- Put bells on their collars
- Wear tags both registration and rabies
- Keep them secure in your yard or on leash when outside
- Stay on well traveled roads/path when walking and make sure you are wearing bright orange vest or hat
- Have veterinary hospital number programmed in your phone in case of emergency and/or carry a smal pet first aid kit.
- Do not let dogs chase deer regardless of the season. If your dog has this inclination, leashing at all times or reliable voice control is necessary.
- Wear a vest or bright clothing yourself. Avoid earth-tones. It is best for both of you to be very visible.
- Make sounds when in the woods. Whistle or sing as you walk. If you hear shots, shout to make sure hunters know you’re there.
- Consider avoiding hunting areas altogether. Take this opportunity to check out urban parks or take walks through the village and sharpen your dog’s heeling skills.
- If your property borders hunting areas, do not let your dog off-leash in your yard unless they are under close supervision.
- Do not let pets eat carcasses. Dogs allowed to roam in hunting areas often find remains of deer carcasses and can become ill from ingesting them.
- Consider pets’ fears. Some pets become very anxious from the sound of guns. It’s best to keep such pets away from areas where they’ll hear gunshots. If this occurs near your home your veterinarian may prescribe medication to help keep your friend calm.