02-05-2012, 10:37 AM
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As an avid hunter, and budding horse addict, I can understand both sides of the equation, and respect both sides.
I am also a firearms instructor, certified by the NRA.
One of the basic safety rules is "know your target, and what lies beyond it", and another is "never point your firearm at anything you don't intend to kill".
Unfortunately, not all hunters observe and practice these basic tenets to safety.
Bells are good, blaze orange is good, making noise is good to an extent.
Deer and elk are curious animals, and are known to be attracted to strange sounds.
Chainsaws and weed whackers are both extremely noisy, and can be heard for great distances.
They also attract forage animals, like deer, as the noise is something they equate to fresh tasty food. Think about it - deer and elk are grazers, similar to horses. Mowing down weeds to expose fresh understory is like ringing the dinner bell!
Staying on roads is wise, bright colors are wise (definitely not brown or white-the same colors as bodies and antlers), and bells, are all smart moves.
Riding in larger groups is also smart. Deer may ber herd animals, but big bucks are generally solitary until the rut. Elk tend to congregate around the dominant bulls, especially during the rut.
You can find out when the rut generally happens by talking to the folks at the gun counter at the local sports shop.
I would use the time of the rut as a training time in the pasture instead of venturing out into the woods if possible. It lasts about a month from start to finish, but it's the most prime hunting time, and its when the boneheads that call themselves hunters are most prone to doing stupid things.
As an aside, I have only had one negative experience while hunting. A bowhunter, and I use that term very loosely, thought he saw a deer and let an arrow fly, which impacted about two feet from me. I proceeded to remind him of the basic safety rules, specifically of knowing what you're shooting at.
Long story short, I cut his bow season short by cutting his bowstring.
Darwinism doesnt always work itself out. Sometimes it needs a little push.