September means back to school, back to lesson programs, the start of the fall show and competition schedules, cubbing AND the start of hunting season.  Soon, the White Tail Deer hunting season will be underway, and the Maryland Farm Bureau and Maryland Horse Council encourage their members and the public to be conscious of their surroundings and respectful of others during this traditional and recreational season.

Landowners, sportsmen, equestrians, farmers, and others commonly spend more time outdoors during this time of year. Respecting landowners’ private property rights and preventing trespassing while hunting or riding will avoid possible negative interaction among participants.

“Maryland farmers continue to face a growing problem of crop damage inflicted by wildlife, especially deer,” said Maryland Farm Bureau President Chuck Fry. “We encourage Maryland sportsmen to take full advantage of this year’s hunting season.  We also encourage the community to respect the rights of landowners and be considerate of other outdoor recreation while hunting.”

Maryland Horse Council President, Jane Seigler, said:

“Maryland horse farmers, like all Maryland farmers, struggle with the effects of deer damage on our farms. We applaud all truly effective methods to control the deer population. We encourage all Maryland equestrians to:

  • Be informed – learn the dates and details of the hunting seasons in the areas where you ride, so equestrians and hunters can avoid interfering with each other;
  • Stay in touch with the landowners where you ride, to find out if permission has been given to hunters so you can avoid interference, and so you can be the landowner’s eyes and ears for unauthorized use;
  • NEVER ride on land unless you have the owner’s permission, and ALWAYS stay off planted cropland.”

Maryland sportsmen and equestrians have many common interests and continue to be good stewards on the land. “We encourage all outdoor groups to respect private property and to always practice safe measures during hunting seasons,” Fry said.

The Equiery will add its own reminder: it takes only one bad apple to spoil the barrel.

Most trail riders and fox hunters respect property lines. Most trail riders ask for permission each and every time before riding on private land. But it only takes one bad apple, one arrogant trail rider or haughty fox hunter to tar us all. Never assume you have permission to ride on someone’s land – even if you had permission yesterday. And if you do have an “open invitation” to ride anytime, out of respect for that land owner, let him (or her) know when you would like to be there – because you don’t know who else has been given permission to be there by that landowner (or that landowner’s son or spouse).

Likewise, most hunters are responsible, but it seems that everyone remembers that one poacher or one irresponsible hunter, and then tries to paint all hunters the same. That is not fair to them. And “them” is us. Many horse people are also hunters – and not just fox hunters. Many horse people do hunt game with firearms or bow. Or they are married to someone who does.

We all share the land. We can, should – and most often do – get along.

To find out the hunting seasons in your area, click here.