There are many great benefits of hunting as a hobby. In addition to the chance to breathe fresh air and get some physical activity, the time spent in nature is also great for your mental health. As good as it is for you, it is even better for your dog as your companion also gets a chance to stretch their legs and enjoy the challenge of the hunt.
With that said, it is important to protect the health of your furry companion. Even if you are an experienced hunter, it is always a good idea to take a moment to refresh your mind on the best safety practices. We have created this guide to remind you of some necessary pointers.
Follow Proper Rules and Etiquette
Although you are out in the wilderness to have a hunting adventure, you still need to follow the rules for the safety of you and your pet. Keep an eye on all signage in the area, including those that require you to have your dog on a leash. Even the most well-trained pooch can be startled or lash out when they are scared, so the leash could be a lifesaver.
While you are walking about the wilderness, it is also important that you practice trail etiquette whenever you cross the paths of other hunters or hikers. In addition to picking up your pet’s droppings when necessary and obeying leash laws, you should also make it a point to move to the side of the trail when someone comes near you and to stay off of private property.
You also need to keep your dog in sight at all times. In some states like Alaska, if a park official sees your dog running wild and you aren’t around, they are within their rights to capture the dog if they are acting viciously or harassing the wildlife.
Keep Your Pup Safe From The Elements
While you may know the woods back and forth, your pup can still get into trouble if you do not protect them from the elements. If you are hunting among the long grass or heavy vegetation, there is the risk of ticks, fleas, and other pests, so it is important to be proactive. Before you leave for the hunt, make sure that you either bathe your dog with a shampoo that has ingredients that kill ticks on contact or apply a tick dip the morning of the trip.
It is also a good idea to stop periodically during the hunting trip to properly check your dog and remove any ticks you may find. To do so, put on gloves and comb through your dog’s hair with your fingers. If you find one, use tweezers to grab the tick’s head and smoothly pull it up and out. Then, cleanse the area with an antiseptic.
Since you will be in the wilderness, you should also be cautious of wild animals that might be on the prowl. It is not rare to see coyotes or other predators that can cause harm to your dog, so beyond researching and being cautious of the area, it may come down to using your firearm to dispatch the threat before your dog can be harmed.
If you have never brought your dog on a hunt before or it has been a while, it is a good idea to brush them up on their training, so they aren’t startled and cause a ruckus. For instance, it is wise to get your pup used to the sound of loud gunshots, which you can do by practicing drills in a safe space like your backyard or a friend’s field and firing your gun, so hearing the sound is like second nature to your dog.
Your companion should also be used to sitting still for some time so they don’t get overly excited while you are waiting for that duck or quail. You could get hurt if your dog jumps up while you are trying to concentrate. To avoid the risk, take some time before your hunt to train your companion to sit for a predetermined time so you know he will behave during the trip.
Most importantly, don’t rush the process. If you can tell that your dog won’t behave, or they may run away and jeopardize their safety or your own, then you should delay the hunt or go without your companion until they are ready. Remember that hunting is supposed to be fun, so make sure it stays that way.
In the end, it is important to follow the tips and guidance discussed here so you and your faithful companion can have a successful hunt. We wish you the best of luck on your next endeavor.