Bow and musket hunters need to get quite close to their prey (with the exception of cross bows, which aren’t allowed in many areas). There are few pets or non-target animals killed by bow and musket hunters. However, shotguns and rifles have a much longer range. Even knowledgeable hunters can accidentally injure a pet with these weapons.
It’s important to always keep pets inside unless they are out with you. Plan your walking routes with care and stick to parks where hunting is not allowed. Some state parks do allow hunting; so always check on a particular park before you go to hike there. Follow leash laws so you remain close to your dog and don’t hesitate to make noise if you are walking on a path through the woods.
In addition, it is smart to wear bright clothing yourself and put a hunting safety vest on your dog. Safety vests for dogs are usually blaze orange and may have neon yellow or reflective tape on the sides. A brown dog that might look like a deer at a distance is easily distinguished when wearing a safety vest.
Many vests attach securely to your dog’s collar and have a velcro band around the belly. Some have a collar area built into the vest with leg straps to help hold the vest securely. Even with a vest on, your dog should be with you and on leash.
Many hunters go out at dawn and dusk, so try to avoid those times. If you need to walk your dog at these times, carry a flashlight and put an LED light on your dog’s collar.
With some sensible precautions, you can safely enjoy your late autumn walks.