It’s here – hunting season on Cape Cod. And if you didn’t think hunting was a big sport on Cape Cod, think again. Ask around and numerous dog owners will recount close encounters with hunters while out for what they expected to be a carefree hike in the woods. Ashley (Hot Digs co-owner who most of you know) recounts walking young Coop in the woods a few years back and meeting a hunter. “Good thing you had an orange collar on the big brown one (dog)”, he said. “I would have thought it was a deer.” Yikes!
The fall is way too perfect a season not to enjoy outside with your pups, but with hunters among us, please keep these safety guidelines in mind!
Wear Bright Colors
Time to break out that neon orange sweatshirt! Even more importantly, make sure your dog is brightly attired, since he’s the one more likely to be mistaken for a deer (Coop is case in point). We absolutely love and endorse (and of course, carry) the Corky’s Reflective Gear line, which includes vests, jackets and overcollars. They use a special Scotchlite™ 360° enhanced visibility material which can be seen up to 1,000 feet! The comfy, fleecey coats are also wind resistant, repel water and machine washable. The overcallers, which easily slip on and off your dog’s regular collar, are especially awesome for extra furry dogs whose regular collars may be buried and undetectable.
Know the Hunting Areas
Your safest bet is to avoid hunters all-together by knowing where hunting is and is not permitted. Here are two websites showing hunting locations and dates for Cape Cod:
That being said, keep in mind that sometimes private land where hunting is permitted abuts public, non-hunting land…putting you unknowingly in a danger zone. Some areas of Nickerson State Park abut private hunting lands, for example.
Sing, whistle, talk to your dog, talk to yourself, it doesn’t matter as long as you’re making noise that will alert a hunter to your presence! As an alternative, put a bell on your dog’s collar.
Make Yourself Known
If you see a hunter, call out to him and be sure he knows that you’re in the area and that you have a dog. The worst thing you can do is try to sneak around him.
Keep Your Dog on Leash
This is especially important if they’re scared of loud noises and may bolt at the sound of a gunshot. Or if they’re prone to chasing wildlife. As much as we love to see our pups romp freely, if you’re in a hunting-permitted area, it’s just not worth the risk.
Go enjoy the glorious fall weather outdoors with your pups, but stay safe, friends!