Tips to Keep Your Dog Safe During Hunting Season


SpotOn's Operations Director, Chelsea, gets ready to walk in the New Hampshire woods with pups Sammy, Jesse, and Opie.

These pups are ready for hunting season. Are you?

With leaf peeping at its best, fall is a great time for colorful hikes & enjoying the outdoors. Most pups - and some people - will be invigorated by the cooler air and raring to go!

But before you venture into the great outdoors for a hunt, hike, camping adventure or weekend getaway during hunting season, make sure you’re prepared to protect your pup. Even though your dog does not look like a deer, turkey, bear or other wildlife, you still want to take precautions to stay safe. Follow our dog hunting safety tips to keep you and your pup away from danger.


When Is Hunting Season?

The timing of hunting season varies by state and region, and there are different seasons and different regulations for different types of hunting. So whether you live in a rural area or are just visiting, do your hunting season homework to research where and when hunting is allowed near you. Once you’re armed with this info, use these tips to stay safe. 

Dog Hunting Safety Tips

Even for the most experienced and prepared, hunters and hunting dogs are exposed to a variety of hazards, both natural and man-made. It is important to take steps to avoid injury and risks while they are out in the field. Here are our top safety tips for hunting with dogs.

1. Safety vests

Wondering does my hunting dog need a vest? For the health and safety of your dog, vests are recommended and there are many options available to accommodate different conditions, types of cover, terrain, and climates. Neoprene vests remain the top choice for cooler and wet conditions and for warmer conditions, there are lighter-weight designs that provide high visibility and chest protection, without the bulk.

2. Eye protection

Eye injuries and abrasions can be quite painful and from thorns to seeds, harsh brush to aggressive waterfowl, there’s plenty of risks. So how do you protect your dog’s eyes when hunting? Luckily, protective eyewear for dogs has come a long way with various sizes, lens types, and materials that can allow you to find a comfortable fit for your dog. A few tips for purchasing the right eyewear for your hunting dog:

  • Be sure to search for options with breathable material to reduce fogging in water.
  • High-quality lens that offers clarity, wide field of vision, and enough space for whiskers
  • Durable, impact-resistant materials
  • Adjustable straps

3. Hearing protection

Many dogs experience hearing loss over time, especially among hunting dogs that may be exposed to the higher decibel of hunting rifles. There are quick steps you can take for dog hearing protection while hunting: create distance between the dogs and the shooters, reduce the number of hunters shooting at a given time, improve your shooting accuracy, and more. You can also invest in hearing protection devices. You’ll find over the head/ear models and in-ear options in a range of sizes and styles.

4. Keep your dog in safe boundaries

Help keep tabs on your dog while in the field by using a wireless GPS dog fence, like SpotOn. Once your dog is trained to understand the alerts and tones issued by the collar, the system is completely portable. With the app, you can set up new fences in just a few minutes with acreage limits. For those who hunt near private property, this can help ensure your dog doesn’t inadvertently roam into territories where they may not be welcome. It can also help you keep your dog away from certain areas where you may not want them to explore.

Hunting Season Safety Tips for Non-Hunting Dogs

Not a hunter, but enjoy spending time outdoors? Here's are our suggestions for how you can protect your dog during hunting season while hiking, exploring, and relaxing outside. 


1. Timing is everything

Avoid the first day, weekend or even the first week of hunting season. New hunters, or hunters new to that area, may not yet be aware of the boundaries. It’s best to also avoid walking or hiking in the early morning & early evening (just before sunset), which are prime hunting times.

2. Containment is key.

It’s always important to keep your pet contained, but it’s crucial during hunting season depending on where you live. Don’t let your pup wander off alone unprotected, or even leave them outside unattended if you live in a rural area near hunting boundaries.  Try a GPS dog fence, like SpotOn, to let your dog roam safely in the area you designate.

3. Go orange & get visible.

Orange or other bright colors and reflective materials will make sure you & your pup are not mistaken for wildlife. There are many orange and reflective vest options. We love the Cuga Dog Vest from Orvis. Lighted collars, like these from Illumiseen and this bold orange reflective collar from Two Salty Dogs are also good options. A bright bandana or even a bright piece of fabric will work if you don’t have anything else. Carrying a flashlight and clip on lights for your pup can also help with visibility.

4. Keep your dog on a leash.

Keep your pup close on a leash to keep them safe and prevent them from chasing wildlife. Dogs can be easily spooked by gunfire or other loud noises, so leash for this season.

5. Walk smart.

If you and your pup regularly hit the trails, it may be wise to shift your walking regimen to mid-day (as we mentioned above) or to the roads. Be sure to walk on well traveled and well lit roads, and avoid dim lighting to stay visible. Even better, take leashed walks in parks and areas where hunting is not permitted.

6. Get Noisy!

You’ve heard the expression ‘with bells on’? Well... a bell for your dog, a whistle for yourself or other loud noise making accessory will ensure that you are heard — as well as seen — by nearby hunters.

Whatever you do and wherever you go during hunting season, keep your pup close by and on a leash, stay aware of your surroundings, and make sure both you and your pup are decked out in orange or other bright colors to stay visible.

Beyond hunting season, containment still remains key. To let your dog live life unleashed with easy containment at your fingertips, SpotOn’s wireless GPS fence can contain your dog in your backyard and on the go, with custom shape and instant perimeter fences.

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