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

That sucks. Did they catch the shooter?

I never heard if they did. Hopefully they did. One was a child’s horse.

I forgot that many of you guys live in places where the land next door might be a recreational property. Our area just isn’t wealthy enough for that to be an issue.

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We also get people shooting those explosive targets.Those things sound like a bomb going off.

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Oh, my part of the world is not wealthy. No recreation. Just a piece of land bought by someone to build a house on, and they have not built a house on it yet (because they can not afford to build a house on it yet). The lease it to a farmer to lower the taxes and come out during deer season to hunt on it, since they currently live in the city.

He would be the perfect neighbor (never there) if he was not so stupid when he is there.


My Mustang was terrified of gunshots at first. She has an old shrapnel wound in her neck which was there when she was rounded up. I guess some people think it’s fun to shoot at Mustangs. She has calmed down quite a bit, but we have a neighbor with an honest-to-goodness homemade cannon! I still hate those window rattling booms. It was never very frequent, but then he started doing cannon firing as a tribute to neighbors who died of Covid. And, well, DeathSantis…


Ear plugs she just shakes or rubs out. Drugs work for fireworks because I can usually predict when they will happen (though it’s getting harder and harder these days with everyone and their brother shooting off illegal fireworks).

Hunting season is tougher because while you know the dates, you can’t really predict when there will be a lot of activity nearby. Deer season isn’t much of an issue; dove and waterfowl seasons are far worse for her because of the continuous pow pow pow pow pow. Plus they are more likely to have dogs with them and enter the pasture.

Only once have I ever had a hunter give me a heads up on the exact day they would be hunting. And it wasn’t even a courtesy, it was more of a warning: “We are having a big youth dove hunt tomorrow and the game warden will be on site.” (Aka don’t even try to call and complain). Nothing like a bunch of kids unloading their guns over your pasture all day.



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It’s more likely that the poor areas have recreation owned properties IME. Groups of city guys who like to hunt will purchase a tract of land together just for hunting season. Slap together a hunt camp and voila - they have a yearly “boys trip”. They aren’t going to buy super $$$ land, they just need some wildlife activity.

Lots of tracts for sale like this in KY for dirt dirt cheap.


In my area schools will let students take off during deer season. I wonder if the kids who don’t hunt say they are going to so they can get out of school.

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We are a wildlife preserve, has not been any hunting here since 1957, when it was designated as one, have signs posted and all kinds of no trespassing ones along with the preserve ones no trespassing, hunting or fishing.

Have caught a few trespassers over the years and still some people ask if they can hunt? :roll_eyes:


Here in VA the general rule is a minimum of 100 yards away from roads. The same for structures occupied as dwellings or where public may gather. To the best of my knowledge there is no state level law enumerating distance from property lines. Locally: Halifax Co prohibits the discharge of any rifle bigger than a .22 rimfire from an elevated stand within 100 yards of property lines except with written permission of the landowner or tenant; Stafford Co has some vague language about private roads within subdivisions with parcels of 10 acres or less.

That’s about it based on my quick perusal of the VA DWR’s pamphlet. It’s fairly common for people to situate blinds on that 100 yard line to the road so as to have the bulk of their land to fire into. While most of the hunters I know are intelligent, considerate people & would take care to avoid property lines and/or ask if it was ok to be near it, I wouldn’t bet my safety on all hunters doing the same.


We posted new no hunting/trespassing signs ahead of this year’s deer season and someone took two of them down already. :rage: I would put up trail cams but I’m afraid they would be stolen. I’m going to see if the game warden can keep an eye on it if they aren’t stretched too thin with manpower.

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When we first moved here, I also used to bring my horses up to the front pasture by the barn. Then I retired and can keep an eye things all day.

That said, the pastures are bordered are three sides by landowners who are hunting savvy and do not “cotton” to strangers with guns climbing over their fences. They and me would start shooting:)

Right before we settled here, a truck that wasn’t local ended up with tires and wheels missing when the hunting trespasser got back back to the truck.




I’ve not had much issue with hunters. Nor am I anticipating issues this season. Both of my horses are accustomed to artillery fire (I swear they are shooting some ridiculously powerful guns on the acreage behind me). In my location, the culture is to feed deer at home for viewing and to either hunt at clubs in more remote locations or to hunt over row crops.

It’s possible the farmer behind me might hunt on his acreage. As he is a cattle farmer, I’m fairly confident he won’t mistake my horse for a deer. I’m also confident that if he was hunting his land he wouldn’t be near our mutual property line as his house sits near there.

Trail riding through public lands that allow hunting seems too risky for me (during the season). Others wear Orange and stay on the marked trails.

I have seen people take some sort of paint / chalk and make big Orange patterns on their horses. Here in FL it’s often too warm to utilize an Orange blanket. While not very attractive, if I was worried about my horses I’d probably paint em up!

Locally, deer don’t get quite as big as they seem to in other places. Perhaps that reduces the chance my 1200 lbs horse will be mistaken for a deer.

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I think most of the hunters in my area are responsible and respectful, it is just that small number that aren’t that annoy me. Fingers crossed for a safe season for all of our horses.


Luckily my horses are surrounded by other horse farms so I don’t have to worry about hunters where I’m at.
But I have in the past. My best suggestions are:

  1. electric fence that is hot hot hot around your perimeter. Nothing says ‘go away, we mean business’ quite like a big shock.
  2. no trespassing signs every 20-40 feet. No way they can say they didn’t see them. They have some pretty menacing ones that essentially warn that you will be shot if you come on the property. As long as you don’t mind being looked at as the crazy people, go with those.
  3. signs saying the property is already claimed for hunting. (Even if it isn’t) Hunters rarely want to get into an argument with someone who is likely hidden in a blind somewhere with a weapon. They also tend to have more respect for other hunters over us lowly horse people.
  4. keep the horses near the house during hunting season. It’s very illegal to shoot towards a house in pretty much every state I know, and anyone with two brain cells will know not to risk it.

As a child, our horses were pulled from the back pasture to the front pasture as deer season crept up. We were strictly NOT ALLOWED to ride the field perimeters or the farms in the area, both for our own safety and so the permitted hunters on same land wouldn’t have their prey ran off by kids on ponies.

Our barn allows for one man to lease-hunt on the land our trails are on. And he’s allowed to hunt early morning only - when no one would be out there anyways. He’s savvy and our riders are smart so it’s low risk. It’s the trespassing poacher I’d be worried about - and was also probably why my mother limited the riding during hunting season.

Strangely, out of all the parental orders I disobeyed as a child, I always followed hunting season rules. The thought of my (palomino) (who would misconstrue a palomino with a deer?) getting shot was worse than the devil to me.