The Hunter's Moon was just this past weekend, so it's no surprise hunting season is gearing up this time of year.

In Massachusetts there are different times of the year for different types of hunting and right now bow hunting season is open for business.

From now through the end of November deer hunters can be out in the woods using bow and arrow to catch big game, so you and your hiking crew need to be prepared.

I will never forget the time in my 20s while out for a hike with a friend hearing the distinct sound of a shotgun go off around us. Foolish me was wearing a brown coat at the time and the panic of being mistaken for a deer was too real.

And we were walking on a nature preserve, where no hunter had any business of being.

I learned that day that you can never be too safe when out in nature.

Though there are plenty of trails and paths on the SouthCoast where no hunting is allowed, you never know what can happen. Protecting yourself and your four-legged hiking buddies is easy to do and can offer some serious peace of mind.

Like getting an orange vest. Any bright orange clothing really. "Hunter orange" sweatshirts, vests, hats, even bandanas are sold plenty of places and are visible to hunters even in the thickest of woods.

Bring a human hiking buddy that you can talk with while you walk. Keeping conversation going on your hike will make plenty of noise and gives hunters the heads up that you're around.

Attach a bell to your dog's collar. If you don't have someone to hike with, let your dog make the noise as you move with a bell attached to them.

Don't let your dog run after wildlife. If a hunter is eyeing some prey that your pet has also spotted, your dog running after said prey could become the target of a hunter by mistake. Keeping pets away from other animals in the woods is your best bet for safety.

Bow hunting season will be open through November 30 and after that shotgun season opens from December 2-14, so be prepared for extra safety while out in the woods for the next few months.

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