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Letter: Sharing the Woods During Hunting Season

To the Editor:

Fall is a wonderful time of year: running and playing in the woods with our kids and dogs, making leaf piles and having leaf fights ... it’s really a fun time for families to be outside.

Fall is also the time when many are chasing woodcock and grouse, and hunting deer. Last year 70,000 hunters took to Vermont’s woods, with similar numbers in New Hampshire. Hunters come from all walks of life. They are your friends and neighbors, doctors and grocers, carpenters and moms. We 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.

Most hunting activity is during the rifle deer season, under way now. Hunters are most active at dawn and dusk. Hunters wear blaze orange, which is also the best way for you and your dog to be seen! Blaze hats, bandanas and vests are available at many local stores. Stay away from white mittens and hats, which can be mistaken for the deer’s namesake white tail. A simple blaze bandana around your dog’s neck will make her stand out.

Hunting, like logging and farming, has a long heritage in our area. Hunters do not want to ruin your day; they work hard to not see 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.

Key points:

Keep pets in voice control or leashed.

Each person and pet should wear blaze orange.

Avoid brown and white clothing; these can be mistaken for deer.

Walk the woods in the middle of the day.

Use more popular areas; stay on the beaten path.

Share the woods; hunting season is just a few short weeks.

George Sandman

Norwich Regional Animal Hospital