Trail Riding Safety During Hunting Season

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Riders who board their horses near the city and stay on relatively urban trails probably never have to worry about riding during hunting season.? However, if you ride your horse in a shared use area that is open to hunters, you must take measures to ensure that you and your horse are not confused with a hunter?s target.? Although it is the hunter?s responsibility to confirm his prey before pulling the trigger, mistakes can happen and every year horses and people are shot by mistake.? Here are some tips on keeping you and your horse safe during hunting season.

  • If at all possible, avoid areas that are well-known hunting locations.? It is best not to take the risk that you or your horse will wind up catching a stray bullet.
  • Wear bright colors to help hunters distinguish you from their prey.? Fix brightly colored flagging tape to your horse?s saddle and bridle, and be sure to wear a bright cover on your helmet and bright clothing.? If you don?t have a brightly colored shirt or jacket, try using flagging tape to make armbands.? Bright orange or lime green are probably your best options.
  • When your horse moves through the brush, he will make noise in the same fashion as large game.? To make sure that hunters don?t mistake the sound of your horse, try a large cowbell attached to the saddle or halter.? This will make a very distinctive noise that will carry quite far.? If you can?t find a cowbell, take bear bells and either talk or sing loudly.
  • Stay on designated trails, as these are unlikely areas for hunters to be active.
  • Try riding at midday, as most hunters are out in the early morning or early evening.? Also, your bright colors will be at their most effective in the midday sun.
  • Avoid heavily forested areas wherever possible.

Remember, not all hunters are law abiding and follow the rules.? Even when hunting is not allowed, be prepared for poachers.? Any time you ride out in the bush, make sure you and your horse stand out.

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