Wednesday, 20 November 2013

Dangers of Crete (1)...with your dog

Van with hunting dogs 
While Crete is a wonderful place to live and travel with your dog, there are a few things it's best to be aware of, in order to keep your dog safe. Today I want to post about hunting, after seeing at least 3 vans with hunters and their dogs, last weekend while on a nature trail (in Cyprus, yep, happens there too!).

A few weeks ago, while still in Crete, I'd planned to go for a hike up to the mountain Petsofas in East Crete. It was a Sunday in early September. Luckily I had arranged to go with a friend, who gave me a timely warning: it was the first day of the legal hunting season, and the hunters were out in force. We decided to start out on the hike, and see how we felt along the way. Along the road leading to our trail up the mountain, we were passed by 3 or 4 vans, full of excited, barking dogs, at least 4 dogs per van. I struggled to keep Sage calm, and we continued a bit further, down through the olive groves.
As we were nearing the mountain, the barking intensified, and sounded like it was coming from all directions. Looking up, we saw the silhouette of a hunter, with a large rifle, and several hounds running at his side, walking along the ridge of the mountain.

At this point, sitting in a kafeneio with a view of the mountain and a glass of wine seemed like a better idea than risking a run in with a pack of hunting dogs. So that's what we did.

There are official dates for the hunting season each year, which I have not managed to find on-line. I'd appreciate any feedback on this! I found a useful site in English on the hunting laws and restrictions:  The hunting season starts from early September, and continues through the Autumn. Hunting is permitted in designated areas, on 2 days per week - Wednesdays and Sundays.
Van with hunting dogs

I don't want to give any opinion on the ethics of hunting here. I just want to pass on the advice that I have been given to avoid any possible accidents:

  • Where possible, avoid hunting areas during the Autumn, particularly on Wednesdays and Sundays
  • During hunting season wear bright colours if you are out walking in areas of hunting activity
  • Keep your dog on the leash 
  • Try to keep your dog still and calm if you hear hunting dogs close by
  • Be aware that people will hunt in areas of wildlife, despite signs etc that forbid it

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