The season of Autumn brings the color orange to mind: Pumpkins and turning leaves, sweet potatoes in a Thanksgiving spread, and for some, that special bright orange worn by hunters as a safety precaution.
It’s hunting season in the Granite State again, and that means those pristine woods in back of your home, or along your favorite path are likely to resound with more than bird songs and leaf blowers.
The sounds of gunshots will be heard, and that calls for exercising extra caution when you’re in or near the woods – whether you’re aiming the gun or sipping coffee on the back porch.
Don’t take chances. For hunters, always be sure of your target, taking special care in knowing that what you see is really what you’re hunting. In other words, identify your target before you fire. Always. Make sure you take seriously what you learned in hunter education, and furthermore, take some form of hunger education before taking to the woods.
Know your weapon. The life you save may be your own or your neighbor’s as a result. And be certain you’re not trespassing in pursuit of your hobby. Be respectful of the land where you hunt, and the neighbors around you.
Know the rules. If the land has a “No Hunting” sign posted and you don’t have personal permission to hunt there, go somewhere else. Just as important is leaving the land you do hunt on as you found it – or maybe even in better condition, where possible.
Each year, both private and town-owned land is trashed and vandalized.
Whether it’s someone’s idea of a private shooting range, complete with spent cartridges and beer cans, trees cut down without permission, or ATV damage to trails, the “rotten apple” spoils it for everyone else, hunter or non hunter. Clean up after yourself.
For the rest of us, this is the season when we don’t want to be crashing around in the brush. Make it easy for the hunters and for yourself. Wear hunter orange when you’re in an area where hunting is likely and make sure your faithful canine companion is sporting a matching ensemble for his or her safety. If you enjoy wearing camouflage, perhaps for the time being it’s time to change your fashion choices.
Fall is a beautiful time to be in the woods, so long as we take literally the old adage that it’s better to be safe than sorry. We know the vast majority of hunters use common sense in the pursuit of their game, but in southern New Hampshire, woods and homes are close neighbors. On a clear fall morning, the sound of gunshots is a good clue that you’re not alone. Take care, and enjoy a beautiful fall.