Deer Season-What Do You Do to Protect Your Horses?

During deer season I like to keep my horses in a small pasture that is right by the barn and close to my house. I used to keep them in their stalls during the day but if I am home and can keep an eye on them, I feel comfortable keeping them in this pasture.

I do not allow hunting and have signs posted and try to keep an eye out as well for anyone that might be out in the woods. (I stay out of the woods during this time-I use binoculars.)

This year I have a large buck and some does that have bedded down in the pasture between my barn and the woods. I’m worried that if they continue to do this they might attract hunters as the buck is a good size. Surprisingly my horses don’t seem to care that the deer are there. Any tips on how to discourage the deer from hanging around? Also, what do others do to keep their horses safe during hunting season?

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Have you talked to your game warden?
They may have some ideas of how to keep deer away that are not disturbing wildlife in a way that you are not supposed to do and that will protect your horses.

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Not much you can do to discourage the deer; they tend to find safe places to stay on their own.

Is this all your own property? I’d absolutely be keeping an eye out for poachers and be ready to call the game warden - regardless of whether you have horses or not. Hunting on posted property is illegal, period.

I wouldn’t worry too much if your horses aren’t in the woods, but obviously putting brightly colored sheets/blankets on them is one easy way to keep them visible.

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During the rut, that buck isn’t going to stay on your property. He will begin to roam to find does.

I’d clad my horses in as much blaze orange as possible and keep them in if it isn’t broad daylight. Dusk and dawn in particular, they should be in.

You can discourage the buck and does by flushing them out of the area, too.

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I remember in Kentucky of horse owners writing on the sides of pasture horses with animal marker HORSE to protect them from the city deer hunters

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I am surrounded by tree stands and deer hunters. Seems a nightmare, but I make it a point to know my neighbors and make sure to keep on good terms with them --they allow me to ride the 3000 acres of land between us when there are no crops and it is NOT deer season.

I have yet to have a problem in 35 years. I do chain and padlock my gates on the back fence line that are not visible from the house --law allows hunter to dispatch a wounded deer on neighboring property. I don’t want someone carrying a deer carcass out of my property to leave the gate open or not close it properly.

Personally, I feel the horses and I are in farm more danger from the deer than the hunters. Many, many times, I’ve been on a quiet ride in the new snow, or falling leaves, or spring day and had 1-10 deer blast me at a dead run scaring both horse and me! And then there are the great flocks of turkeys who wish me dead . . .

So I allow hunting on my land and hope the hunters harvest a bunch of deer and turkeys.

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Thanks for all your replies. I used to allow a bow hunter to hunt on my property but he now has a place of his own to hunt on.

Hopefully the buck will move on and also not damage my trees with his antlers.

We have had over the years in our area, 3 horses that have been killed during hunting season. Maybe I will spell out “horse” on my horse’s blankets with reflective tape or get the bright orange blankets.

There is an old Ace Reid cowpoke cartoon that has Jake in front of his barn, that has a XXX brand over the door and two hunters carrying guns have stopped and asked him if he has seen a deer with an XXX brand run by, which way did it go? :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:

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During gun season I move the horses up to the sacrifice area, that is close enough to the road/houses/buildings that it would take a really rogue hunter to shoot there (and it would be very illegal). I have one horse that is very much deer colored. I also like having a sheet that is orange to toss on that horse.

Like others, I have someone I let hunt my land. I trust them. They let me know if they see anyone out there that is not supposed to be out there, etc.

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I have historically had a bigger problem with hunters coming into my pasture to track or claim their kill, especially when hunting birds.

Most of the time they are very respectful and I barely even know they were in the field. But every now and then, someone leaves something open or damages a fence.

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I did have a hunter ask if he could look for a deer he shot that ran onto our property. I said yes, I wouldn’t want the animal to suffer.

Just like the other thread where people are riding on the person’s hay field some people don’t respect other’s property. I also have people that look for mushrooms and ginseng without permission too. Very annoying.

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Depending on population pressures, the buck will move if he has been bedded down on your property during the summer.
My horses, and I, always wear blaze orange in the woods, year round. Partly due to hunting, but mostly due to idiots on the roads and trails. In CT, our idiots tend to be the ATV riders far more than the gun owners.
My husband is the only one hunting our property now. Previously, we had several other trusted friends who hunted it. We also know who should or should not be hunting our neighbors’ properties, and what their vehicles look like. And we are not shy about calling the game wardens. In this area, poachers are the problem more than general idiots, and they aren’t popular with anybody.
In general it is like any other trespass issue: post your property, make allies if not friends of any neighbors or law enforcement that you can. Not always possible, I know. As for riding in the woods, I just like tons of orange/reflective anyway. You should see what some UK riders look like for road safety!
@3PonyFarm, oh the mushroom/ginseng/rare plant poachers!! I Hate those people with a passion. I’ve never met one that hasn’t been an entitled @#$! trespasser. Also the snapping turtle trappers. Ugh.

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Where is deer hunting this bad? We have tons of hunters around here and never had a problem. Our property is very close to a state forest where hunting is allowed. Don’t most states have regulations regarding how close a deer stand can be to homes? What about property lines? I can’t understand how horses are getting shot on private property. What gun crazy state has people running amok with guns during hunting season? We don’t trail ride in the state forest during hunting season, but that’s about the only precaution we take.

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Our old farm had chanterelle mushrooms. We gave permission to a few people to hunt them because they were nice and asked.

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“Nice and asked” being the key words! As opposed to popping up in front of you, well and truly on your own property, and screaming about how landowners are filthy rich…true incident.

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Wow. That’s entitled.

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I don’t fully know hunting regulations but my experience with deer stands close to property lines is that it is very common. Mainly because here, land is so fragmented. So the stand goes up right on the line and the hunters “hunt” into their own land or lease.

I don’t worry too much about my horses getting shot in their own pasture. I think trail riding/being somewhere you’re not supposed to be is a slightly bigger risk.

My main problem with hunters is them upsetting my horses. I have a skitzo, half blind horse who doesn’t handle the gun shots or activity well. It’s easy to say she should just be conditioned to get over it, but she’s 27 now and still loses her marbles, and I don’t see that changing.

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I have not heard of anyone losing a horse during deer season in my part of the world, but to me it is not worth the risk since I have a deer colored horse and an easy way to avoid putting my horse at risk.

Heck, the idiot who owns the land next to me gets his truck stuck in the mud on his own property about 1/4 of the times he visits that property (mainly during hunting season, the only time he comes there). One would think after the third or 4th time he had to come beg us to pull him out with our tractor he would learn to not drive his vehicle across the mud (and crops planted by the farmer he leases it to), but no. He keeps doing it.
Why would I trust his brain to know the difference between a deer and my deer colored horse?

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Unfortunately two of the horse shootings were believed to be intentional. The other was an accident.
After the bow hunter stopped hunting on my property, we decided not to allow anyone else in part because there had been hunters killed in deer stand accident, one where the welds failed. I think the manufacturer is facing suits on that one.

I didn’t want the stands to be on the property and someone climbing on it and suing me if they got hurt.

I definitely agree that if people are courteous and ask it goes a long way with a homeowner. I allow some neighbors to berry pick because they were considerate and asked first.

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That makes it hard. Poor old girl! Would those horse ear plugs help her?

Our area is nuts over fireworks. Old Bubba, shirtless, drinking a beer and lighting off the big ones while sitting in his lawn chair (true story). Or, should I say Florida Man? At least I can give them something before New Years and the Fourth. You can’t drug your horse up all through deer season.