Lurking right around the corner is what a lot of people in Maine consider our fifth season. And being the wife of a game warden, I would be in deep trouble if I did not know that hunting season is nearly upon us.

Opening day of deer hunting season begins in the form of archery hunting, and goes from October 2 until October 31, with an expanded season in designated areas only from September 6 until December 13. Youth Deer Hunting Day is October 25 this year. Adult firearms deer hunting begins November 1 and runs through November 29.

With all that said, it is time to think about taking the extra necessary precautions to protect your pets from the dangers that come with this time of the year. It should go without saying that any time a dog is outside from now until mid December, they should have some form of blaze orange on their bodies to protect them from being mistaken for a deer. Mistaking a dog for a deer is more common than one would think, and it is because of this that blaze orange is as necessary on a dog as it is on a human being. The bottom line is to not underestimate the importance of dressing your dogs in this protective color for their safety.

If you do not already have blaze orange collars, harnesses or scarves for your dogs, now is the time to purchase them. You may find that waiting until the last minute to purchase this protection will result in pet stores or similar businesses being sold out.

Another danger that occurs during hunting season is when dogs are allowed to roam (or in some cases just get loose from their owners) and they get the scent of a deer. This results in further roaming and ultimately chasing deer. This is more prevalent during hunting season because deer are on the move while mating and also trying to avoid the many hunters in the woods.

Besides the terror caused to deer when dogs chase them, and the possible agonizing death of deer when dogs catch them, more roaming dogs mean more car/dog accidents. Not to mention, the owners of dogs caught chasing deer can be summonsed for this offense. To avoid the above scenarios, more attention should be spent on keeping your dog from running at large.

And on the subject of loose dogs, I have just one more point to make. Just last weekend, I came upon not one, not two, but three roaming dogs on the same day in the same town. I nearly hit one old gal who was walking up the middle of the road when I came over a knoll. If I had just one wish, it would be that all dogs are well taken care of and safe in their own homes, but after last weekend I realize we are far from attaining this.

So now I have another wish: that all dogs, at a minimum, have proper identification on them (name, address and telephone number) so that when people like myself see them roaming, they can help the dogs find their way safely home. Some pet stores, the Paris Farmer’s Union, animal shelters and most veterinary offices have tag machines and can imprint your dogs’ identification at a very minimal cost.

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