Sharing the Trail with Hunters: Riding Safety Tips for Hunting Season
- Posted by Emily
- On October 12, 2021
- 0 Comments
The best time of year for riding is officially here. The air is getting cooler, and the leaves are starting to turn; the sweaty days of Summer are behind us, and the crispness of Fall is settling in. The change in weather might have you wanting to hit the trail every chance you get, but do so with a dose of caution— with Fall comes hunting season. Here are a few tips to stay safe and courteous.
Wear bright colors. A blaze orange/yellow vest is ideal, but at least dress in bright colors if you don’t have neons handy. Consider outfitting your horse in hunting safety gear as well; think blaze orange saddle pad, saddle bags, etc.
Avoid riding 2-3 hours after dawn and before dusk. Deer move the most right around dawn and right before dusk, which means hunter traffic is the heaviest a couple hours before/after dawn and before dusk. While it might be tricky to fit in a trail ride during the week and be out of the woods two hours before dark, try to shoot for weekend trail rides in the middle of the day.
Remember trail safety. Hunting season is not the time of year to go trail blazing. Stay off game trails and stick to well-marked trails. Even if you know the area you’re riding well, stay on the trail; responsible hunters will position themselves away from trails.
Know the rules. If you’re riding on public land, make sure there are no restrictions during hunting season. You might be restricted to a certain area, certain trails, or even riding only on certain days.
Get your horse safe. If you’re riding during hunting season, you’ll likely encounter distant rifle sounds, ATV traffic, hunters on foot, a spooked deer, etc. How do you expect your horse will react? If you can’t say with uttermost certainty that your horse will be safe, it’s time to do some work! If you aren’t confident that you can get your horse desensitized to these things yourself, check out our business directory for trainers.
Ride with a buddy. While it’s always a good idea to hit the trail with a buddy, it’s even more important during hunting season. Deer don’t typically have conversations with one another, so chatting with your riding buddy will lessen the likelihood of human-deer mistaken identity.
Get familiar with the territory. No matter if you’re riding on your own property or have permission from another landowner, get to know the boundaries. Hunting season is not the time to wander onto a neighboring property where someone might be hunting.
Get insured. The woods are busy this time of year with equestrian and hunter traffic, which increases the likelihood of a horse-related accident. Don’t forget—our members get a great deal on equine personal liability insurance.
With a little precaution and planning, there’s plenty of room in the great outdoors for hunters and equestrians to safely enjoy the beautiful weather this time of year.