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New England fall foliage season precedes the hunting seasons in the various states, and gun laws in Connecticut and Massachusetts, in particular, should be reviewed before you head up to hunt. Connecticut has some of the toughest gun laws in the country, and are subject to change as new guns are added to the banned list. We strongly recommend that you familiarize yourself with the laws in whichever state you are planning to hunt to make sure you’re in compliance. Connecticut’s laws are the toughest, not only in the region, but the country. Vermont’s laws are the least restrictive, but you should always check ahead of time.

As leaves fall to make the new layer of forest floor, it's a great time for hiking, except that if you do so in November into December in some states, you could find yourself on the wrong end of a bow, hunting rifle, shotgun or muzzle loader. Responsible hunters will always make sure that they're aiming at a deer, moose, bear or birds. Others, however, anxious to bag anything, could shoot you if they see movement in the woods.

Make sure that if you’re going hiking that you wear a blaze orange jacket and hat. Anything brown or dark can be considered fair game. You can buy jackets and hats at any sporting goods store, and the cost is well worth it. Hunters good or bad won't shoot at regulation orange. Also, if you bring a dog hunting, put a long and wide, rubber, orange ribbon around his or her neck so they don't get shot.

All of the states mandate wearing blaze orange vests and/or hats so you’re not mistaken for wildlife.

We also recommend that you take a hunter safety course and take your certificate of completion with you if you plan to buy your license in one of the New England states. Some require proof that you have taken a course before issuing you a license.

For dairy farmers, hunting season can be a nightmare. Cows are lost to hunters every year, especially in Maine, New Hampshire and Vermont. Some hunters just can't wait to pull the trigger, and if something moves, they can and often will fire on it. That means that they shoot anything from squirrels to dogs to cats and cows.

Farmers have found inventive ways to protect their cows, the best I have seen was in Vermont. I was walking down a country road not far from pastureland on which a dairy farmer had a herd of Holsteins. The cows were grazing about 100 feet away, but I was surprised to see that they didn’t look much like cows. It was one of the funniest signs I’d ever seen, crudely made, but it got the point across to hunters.

As I looked more closely, all of the cows were wearing sandwich boards held together by leather straps. In big, red, quickly scrawled letters was the word "COW!" on each. It's a true story and a good lesson.

On another occasion, during bird hunting season, my family and I were sitting on our front porch when we were suddenly pelted by buckshot falling from the sky. We found out later that two drunken hunters had been caught and arrested in our woods. They had failed to get our permission to hunt there. They told the warden that they were frustrated by not finding any woodcocks hiding on the forest floor, they decided to start firing their 12-guage shotguns into the air. They'd obviously never taken physics. What goes up must come down. If you get frustrated by a lack of prey, please remove your shotgun shells or rounds from shotguns or hunting rifles before dry firing into the sky.

Importantly, if you are hunting on someone’s property, ALWAYS get the landowner's permission before you hunt there, and never hunt on Posted land without getting the owner’s consent. Failing to get to do so or hunting on posted land could get you arrested for trespassing and/or sued by the landowner.

Below are links to the hunting seasons in each state. If you wander around the woods without the bright orange garb, you could very easily become a target or get arrested for not having some baize orange on you. Either buy the jacket and hat or wait until hunting seasons are over is over.

StateHunting Information
2014 Hunting and Trapping Field Guide

Maine 2014 Maine Hunting Season and Bag Limits

2014 Hunting Information

New Hampshire2014 General Hunting Season Dates

Rhode Island2014 Big Game Hunting Season

Vermont2014 Vermont Department of Fish and Wildlife Calendar


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