Did you run into deer hunters
This always scares me.
In my experience, deer hunters know it is illegal to hunt deer with dogs, and I think some of them then assume it is illegal to have dogs in the forest. They don't realize it is legal to use dogs on squirrel, rabbit, woodcock, duck, etc. That might make them more inclined to shoot.
My dog goes flying through the woods with a GPS antenna, a yellow and orange collar, and a blaze orange cape. Looks sort of like a superhero, Dog Wonder. At the very least, a deer hunter will have to know the dog belongs to someone, and maybe they will know that owner is nearby, and so if they shoot, there will be a reckoning.
Blanked, do you think muzzleloaders are any better? I find the woods get more crowded during muzzleloader season, and my one bad experience was with a muzzleloader. If we don't hunt deer or muzzleloader seasons, the woodcock season is -- what? -- maybe one week.