Friday, November 04, 2005

Field Safety in Autumn

It's autumn here in Pennsylvania. It's also hunting season. As a matter of fact, dear hubby went out during muzzle-loader season and brought home two doe (properly tagged and butchered, of course).

The hunters are plentiful, and yes, they're mercifully thinning the abundant PA deer population so most of the herd doesn't starve this winter or get hit by automobiles. I still wrestle with "Bambi's mother" syndrome, though, even though I'm thankful for the venison. (That's another discussion for another day!)

I daily hear gunshots here during hunting season. And I worry about my canine kids. Especially Ridge, whose gorgeous coat color makes him a prime target for some mistaken hunter somewhere.

As a child, I remember my older brother having a dog named "Ajax"--a German Shepherd/collie mix of some kind who also had a deer-colored coat. Ajax went missing one fall, and my brother finally found him out in field not far from our rural home. He'd been shot through the neck. Poor Ajax. Poor Herm (my brother, who was a teenager at the time). I suspect now that some hunter shot Ajax by mistake, thinking he was a deer.

As I watched the "kids" play in the backyard this afternoon I wondered if the same could happen to them. Check out the photo I took today while they were romping:

If you look closely, this photo contains images of Elsie AND Ridge. Ridge is directly behind Elsie, a little to the right, but is comoflauged sufficiently to make him difficult to see. A hunter could mistake him for a deer.

Thankfully, we have a fenced yard (the brush in this photo grows up against the fence line). But if Ridge were to "escape" our fenced yard, he would be in danger of being shot.

So, for this season, we'll probably resort to his wearing a fluorescent scarf, safety vest, bell collar, or reflective collar until the snow falls, just so hunters don't shoot him by mistake.

For those of you interested in protecting your canines, check out this article at PetPlace.com. It has some great tips about keeping pets safe during hunting season.

Happy Autumn, and stay safe!

'Til next time,
Joan

3 comments:

LostinScotland said...

Would love to see more of PA in autumn. I'm a PA-ian living abroad and terribly miss this, my favorite season.

Joan said...

I'm sure you do miss PA autumns! I'm biased, of course, but I still believe PA is a beautiful state (born here and live here most of my life). I love the change in seasons. And like you, fall is my favorite time of year.

I will say, however, that times of drought in PA (and their accompanying brownness) make me wish we had the rich green hues of Scotland and Ireland. :o)

J.

LostinScotland said...

I don't miss the brown, balmy, muggy days of summer. It is at those times I wish I could export the greeness to my Mom and Dad after hearing their complaints.

Yes, Scotland has that going for it...and moderate temps throughout the year. But (sigh)...born and bred in PA (near Pittsburgh)...gives you a natural bias. I think the whole of New England, NY, PA etc. are very lucky to have that abundant color.