The fall foliage is beginning to emerge, and trail riding is more beautiful and enjoyable than ever this time of year. But with the fall also comes hunting season, which can bring serious safety issues to your trail rides. While it’s still possible to head out on the trails in the fall, you will want to take some additional measures to keep you and your horse safe.
If you frequently trail ride on lands where hunting is allowed, then it’s a great idea to post a calendar delineating the dates of hunting seasons in your barn. Make sure that riders are aware of when hunting seasons start so that they can be prepared when heading out on the trails. If possible, try to do most of your trail rides during times when hunting is not allowed, like on Sundays.
Dress for Visibility
Good visibility is key to keeping both you and your horse safe out on the trails. Stock up on blaze orange clothing and accessories for both you and your horse. Many equine supply retailers now make blaze orange saddle pads, quarter sheets, leg wraps, tail wraps, and even bridles for your horse. For yourself, be sure to wear a blaze orange jacket or vest, and put an orange cover or wrap on your helmet.
Make Yourself Heard
In addition to making it easy to spot both you and your horse, it’s a good idea to make sure that hunters can hear you coming so that you don’t surprise each other. Adding a bell or two to your horse’s saddle is a pleasant way to make sure that your approach can be easily heard. Just be sure to take plenty of time to accustom your horse to the noise before you mount up. Riding with a bell has the added benefit of alerting deer and other wildlife to your presence, meaning you’re less likely to surprise them and potentially have your horse spook.
Stay on Marked Trails
When riding during hunting season it’s particularly important to stay to the marked trails. If an area is used for walking trails, then hunters should be aware of the trails, which will provide you and your horse with added safety. If you’re riding near an area that allows hunting, then be sure to familiarize yourself with the property boundaries to avoid inadvertently straying onto hunting land.
Hunters and riders can coexist peacefully, but it’s important for you to stay aware and take extra measures to keep both you and your horse safe during hunting season.
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Origjnal Source: Trail Riding Safely During Hunting Season