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Backcountry Safety During Hunting Season

Fall arrives with a distinct scent in the air.  The landscape gives away to an ambient transition from green to yellow and orange.  It's a treasured time of year for all outdoor enthusiasts - a sense of wrapping up our adventures before nature settles into her winter slumber.  We saddle up our horses, load the saddle bags, and tie down our rain gear in anticipation of the ride ahead.  If you are not a hunter it could be easy to forget that with these fall changes, also comes hunting season.  The deeper we ride into the backcountry the more likely we are to happen upon hunters out there tracking game.   During this time of year safety is more important than ever. 

 

 Every year there is somber news of a beloved horse being mistaken for large game.  It may be easy to think, "it won't happen to me" - but safety is every one's responsibility.  Taking a few steps of precaution can greatly reduce the risk of injury to yourself and your horse.  By law, all hunters must wear blaze orange as a safety measure to make themselves visible to other people out in the wilderness.  Even though there is no law requiring recreationists to wear orange during the season - it is highly recommended for yourself and your animals.

 

Here are some ideas to help make you and your horse visible while out riding.  It is best to utilize more than one of these strategies:

For yourself: wear an orange vest, shirts, pants, or baseball cap.

orange hunting colors

     

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 For your horse / mule: Buy orange tack to use for hunting season (halters, lead ropes, saddle pads, stirrups, biothane bridles, saddle bags, manty covers, panniers, etc); you can also attach a safety vest or an orange raincoat to the back of your saddle so that it covers their rump.

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It is also a good idea to implement some orange that can stay on your horse or mule when they are untacked and tied; such as an orange halter and lead rope, orange surveyor tape in the mane and tail, or orange collars. It would be wise to cover both ends!

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Recreating isn't the only time to take precautions.  If you live in the country or mountains and your horse is turned out into a large pasture, there could still be risks.  You can utilize an orange breakaway halter, brightly colored tail wraps, or a bright colored turnout blanket / sheet to help keep your horse safe. 

 

This Fall, do not hesitate to saddle up and head out for the day or even the weekend. Enjoy those beautiful colors and play it safe.  Think orange!

 

    By Mountain Trekkers BCH

    September 20, 2019

 

Photos used with permissions.

Courtesy of (top row) Brooke Yoder, Dalton Brown; (second row) Wade Mauhl, Lynette May, Tiffany Langmack; (bottom) Mike Whitby

Mountain Trekkers

PO Box 493
Eagle, CO
81631

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