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Hunting season? Blaze orange for your dog

Each state has its own rules about hunting (in the case of migratory fowl, the states cooperate with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to regulate hunting) and the dates of hunting seasons for different prey change a bit from year to year. Here in Washington there’s a spring wild turkey season (in about April and May), bear hunting begins in about August, and then nearly every kind of hunting is available from September to December. Some hunting, however, can happen year-round, e.g., hunting for mountain beaver, European rabbit and gophers.

If you’re going hiking or camping in the woods, therefore, you need to think about whether you’re likely to encounter hunters, and protect yourself and your dog accordingly. We used to strap a spare safety vest around our St. Bernard when I was growing up on a wooded Pennsylvania farm, but now there are safety vests made just for dogs. They’re generally sized for bigger dogs than Chloe, but Guardian Gear makes an inexpensive blaze orange safety vest with reflective stripes that will fit small dogs. The XS size is 8″ long, fits necks 10″-14″ and chests 12″ to 16″. The S size is 12″ long, fits necks 12″-16″ and chests 16″ to 18″.

An even cheaper option is the one I chose for Chloe: I bought her a blaze orange handkerchief for $1.99 plus shipping, and when it arrived I was pleased to find that it will easily tie around her neck and provide orange coverage on her shoulders. It’s not a perfect solution — no doubt she could shuck herself out of it with a little effort — but we aren’t serious hikers or campers and would likely only use it for casual hikes on trails. If your dog is likely to be running for some time off-leash in the woods, you would probably want to purchase a product that fastens more securely around neck and body, like the Guardian Gear vest.

Amazon links:
ORANGE – X-SMALL – Guardian Gear Bright Reflective Safety Vests
ORANGE – SMALL – Guardian Gear Bright Reflective Safety Vests
Camouflage/Hunting Cotton Bandanas