The Star-Herald

Hunting safely with your dog

One Sunday morning, relaxing with my coffee, I mentioned to my husband that I had to come up with a new article, maybe something for this time of year.  My husband suggested I do an article on hunting safety tips for dogs. What a great idea.  

He loves to go bird hunting and take our two fur babies with him, and they love to go.  I get their breakfast ready and their lunch packed, their orange bandanas on and off they go.  I think the best part for them is lunch, when my husband cooks on the back of the pickup — hot dogs and hamburgers on the Coleman stove.  They all come home tired and happy. So I decided this would be a great time to write about a few safety tips.

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, hike or hunt with dogs, or live by a hunting area, autumn is a great time to remember how to share the woods safely  while protecting your pets.

Outfit your dogs with bright clothing.  Many sporting goods stores have blaze orange reflective vests for dogs. Or you can tie brightly colored fabric such as bandanas around your dog’s neck.

Do not let dogs off-leash in areas where hunting or trapping occur, especially if you do not know the area.  Shooting mistakes can happen, and some states allow body-gripping traps.

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.

Make sounds when in the woods, whistle or sing as you walk; if you hear shots close by, shout to make sure hunters know you’re there.

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 your pet’s fears.  Some pets become very anxious from the sound of guns.  It’s best to keep such pets away from areas where they will hear gunshots.  If this occurs near your home, your veterinarian may prescribe medication to help keep your friend calm.  

Be sure to stay on well-traveled roads.  Also consider attaching a bell to your dog’s collar.  

If you are looking for a fur baby to love, check out the Central Aroostook Humane Society located at 26 Cross Street, Presque Isle.  We are open Tuesday through Saturday, 10am to 4pm.  

Be responsible: spay and neuter your pets.

Gail Wieder is a member of the board of directors of the Central Aroostook Humane Society.

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