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Old 01-02-2013, 04:00 PM
 
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Hello,

The fall in NY is a beautiful, scenic time to be outside hiking with my dog. As a new resident, I am looking forward to many hikes ahead. I am worried about hunters and accidental/stray bullets for myself and my dog. I plan on putting a reflective vest on her but it doesn't cover her completely. My dog stays within 40' of me, usually closer, but is typically off leash. I worry that an over zealous hunter will shoot her (and me for that matter) mistaking her for prey. Most hunters, I have to believe, are capable of exercising caution but it only takes one person to cause a horrible situation. As a former hunter, I was properly taught about safe shooting, saftey always being paramount. But what about those that don't care to? I don't want my pup to be shot.

How do others handle this? Do you avoid hiking in the fall altogether, despite it being the best time of year for it? Has anyone had any close calls? I'm hoping my caution is for naught.

Anything you have to add would be appreciated.
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Old 01-02-2013, 04:34 PM
 
Location: North Idaho
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I don't hike in the woods during hunting season and I certainly would not allow my dog off leash in the woods.

If you are going to take the risk, you and the dog wear hunters orange. Do not let the dog off leash, and either wear some really loud bear bells or sing loudly. You need something that screams "human activity here" or you really might get yourself or your dog shot.

99.9% of hunters are very responsible, but that .1% might be out there while you are.
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Old 01-02-2013, 04:41 PM
 
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O.K. I'll get the joke out of the way.. "Just hike during a Bills game."

I also live in WNY and love our Autumn hikes. Using bright orange reflective vests on both yourself and your dog is a great idea. The more coverage the better (meaning not just an orange collar on the dog but a full doggie jacket type garment. These come in mesh if you think your pooch will get too hot in a coat.) Avoid wearing natural colors yourself, meaning colors that would blend into the natural surroundings.

Choosing your hiking spot wisely is of course also advised. There are areas with good hiking that are not popular with hunters, so those would be the safest locations. Maybe you can even pick a preserve where hunting is not allowed.

As with many things in life, there is some risk involved with Fall hiking. I've heard gun fire in the distance while out in hunting season. I weigh the benefits of hiking my dogs vs. the risks and do my best to make the wisest decisions for my dogs. For example I'd probably just opt for a walk through the neighborhood on opening day of the hunting season instead of a hike through the woods.

All of that said, I've never heard of an incident involving a hiking dog being accidentally shot by a hunter around where I live, which is a rural-ish area outside of Buffalo. It may have happened, but I can assure you it is unlikely you'll have any trouble at all.

I wish you and your dog happy hiking!
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Old 01-02-2013, 05:45 PM
 
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Thanks for your replies. Hiking during the game is a good idea in general; less people out. I'll target Sunday afternoons.

The other concern I have is snakes. Are they a major concern to be aware of? We've been fortunate here in CA (I'm moving to NY in 2 weeks) and haven't had any run ins with rattlers although they are prevalent in the areas we hike. I'll consider rattlesnake aversion training if it looks like to might be a problem in NY but would prefer not to.
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Old 01-02-2013, 05:50 PM
 
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We just had a 12 year old child accidentally shot by his uncle this past weekend while they were hunting. The child died and it was pretty much, as far as we've been "informed", a case of mistaken identity.

Never, ever walk during hunting season, bright orange hunters vest, reflectors or any noise deterrents can ever bring this child back and these were allegedly seasoned hunters.
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Old 01-02-2013, 06:02 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kgbnsf View Post
Thanks for your replies. Hiking during the game is a good idea in general; less people out. I'll target Sunday afternoons.

The other concern I have is snakes. Are they a major concern to be aware of? We've been fortunate here in CA (I'm moving to NY in 2 weeks) and haven't had any run ins with rattlers although they are prevalent in the areas we hike. I'll consider rattlesnake aversion training if it looks like to might be a problem in NY but would prefer not to.
Heavens no snakes are not a problem at all in WNY. You might encounter a harmless garter out on your hikes, but probably not even that.

Snakes of New York
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Old 01-02-2013, 06:14 PM
 
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This might also be useful for you kgbnsf: Rifle, Shotgun, and Bow Areas - NYS Dept. of Environmental Conservation

Apparently there is a bow-only zone right in Monroe County. Is that where you are?

And of course you can always look for areas where hunters are either not allowed or are unlikely to hunt to increase your safety.
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Old 01-02-2013, 06:22 PM
 
Location: Raleigh, NC
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I used to live in Western NY and my husband is a hunter. When I would hike with my dog, both of us would wear orange to let people know we were in the woods. Hiking during a Bills game is a good idea, but with they way they've been playing...

Snakes are not a big deal in WNY...too cold!
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Old 01-02-2013, 11:34 PM
 
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Thanks for the hunting links and info. I picked up some hiking books and I'll cross reference the trails. I've got some time on this.

I'm moving to Rochester in two weeks driving two cats and a dog from CA to NY. Thought we'd wait until winter really sets in before we make the trek across :-). The dog is going to hate me for this. She is a California dog, spoiled, needs a sweater when it drops into the 50's and won't go out in the rain.

Fun times ahead.
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Old 01-03-2013, 06:10 AM
 
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We have some hunting season or another most of the year and coyotes and pigs are open season all year, I think.

I would avoid morning and evening and make sure you dog does not run any game. Also check to see if the lands you are hiking on are posted no hunting (I know that is no guarantee) and the orange stuff and bells. You used to hunt so you know game trails etc. and be hypervigilant and realize accidents happen but there are also crazies places year round
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