“Don’t learn safety rules simply by accident.” – unknown
Fall has arrived bringing the cooler weather, autumn colors and HUNTING SEASON. Still, it’s a perfect time to hit the trail. If you love to hike and ride through the fall foliage, take extra precautions to ensure that both you and your horse can be seen.
During hunting season, it’s important to be visible in the woods. The best way to protect yourself, your equine and canine companion is in the clothing and accessories that you wear and the places you choose to go.
Wear vibrant orange — the more square inches of orange, the better. Lightweight, inexpensive orange jackets and vests that can be worn over your regular riding attire are recommended. Helmet covers are available in a variety of bright colors, including neon yellow and blaze orange. Orange safety vests are available for dogs in all sizes as well as bright orange halters for your horse — better to be safe than sorry.
Avoid wearing anything brown or white. A flash of white can easily be mistaken for the white flag of a deer’s tail. You don’t want to look like a deer by wearing either color.
Consider a bell on you, on your horse, or on your dog, especially when riding alone. It is also crucial to let someone know where you are going and when you plan to return. Take your cell phone along. It might come in handy to call out if needed, or to use as a GPS system.
Responsible hunters generally know where hiking and riding trails are located. It’s a good idea to stick to established trails and limit off-trail excursions at this time of year. If possible, choose trails in areas where no hunting is allowed or on days of the week when there is no hunting. Sometimes it’s best just to stay home. The first day of rifle season is a good day not to venture out. Know the hunting season dates and rules for your state and local areas.
A little extra planning and preparation will help to ensure a safe and enjoyable outing. Always be courteous and respectful to hunters and non-hunters alike so everyone can share and enjoy the woods together.