ENJOYING THE AUTUMN WOODS
Sharing the woods: walkers, runners, and hunters
George Sandmann, Norwich Regional Animal Hospital
Fall is a wonderful time of year. The woods are spectacular, with beautiful light reflecting through autumn leaves. Running and playing in the woods with our kids and dogs, making leaf piles and having leaf fights: Autumn is really a fun time for families to be outside.
Fall is also the time of year when many take to the woods for more solitary pursuits, chasing woodcock and grouse, or hunting deer. Last year 70,000 hunters took to Vermont’s woods, with a similar number in New Hampshire. Hunters come from all walks of life, and are an integral part of the Upper Valley’s fabric. They are your friends and neighbors, doctors and grocers, carpenters and moms. We all share the woods for a few weeks, and with a little planning we can share the woods in peace.
Many people are concerned about walking during hunting season, fearing for their safety and that of their dogs. Accidents are exceedingly rare: the vast majority of hunters are careful, considerate, safe, and ethical.
Hunting seasons start in September with bow season, and firearm hunting starts in October, running into December. Most activity is during the rifle season for deer, traditionally held during in the second half of November. For exact dates, visit vtfishandwildlife.com and wildlife.state.nh.us.
Although hunters are in the woods at all times of day, they are most active at dawn and dusk. Bow hunters may be in camouflage, but rifle hunters often wear blaze orange. If blaze is the best way for hunters to see each other, it is also the best way for you and your dog to be seen! Blaze hats, bandanas and vests are available at Dan & Whit’s, LL Bean, and other local stores. Stay away from deer-like colors, especially white mittens and hats. These can be mistaken for the deer’s namesake white tail. Some opt to put a bell on Nellie and Sam (the dogs, not the kids) –available from the same stores. A simple blaze bandana around your dog’s neck can really make her stand out!
Hunting, like logging and farming, has a long heritage in our area. Hunting is an integral part of our cultural fabric. Hunters opened up the Green Mountains back when this area was the wild frontier. Hunters do not want to ruin your day; frankly they work hard to not bump into you at all. With simple planning, we can share and enjoy the woods during hunting season as much as we do during the rest of the year.
- Keep pets in voice control, or on a leash
- Each person and pet should wear at least one blaze orange item
- Avoid brown and white clothing, hats, and mittens: these can be mistaken for deer
- Walk the woods in the middle of the day, between 10 and 3
- Use more popular areas, at this time of year stay ON the beaten path
- Share the woods: hunting season is just a few short weeks!
www.danandwhits.com: blaze clothing and pet supplies
www.llbean.com: blaze clothing and pet supplies
www.uvtrails.org: trail information
www.vtfishandwildlife.com : Vermont hunting seasons
www.wildlife.state.nh.us: New Hampshire hunting seasons
Norwich Regional Animal Hospital
Just 1 Mile South of King Arthur Flour!
13 Fogg Farm Road, White River Junction VT 05001