Eventually, we want to stop training the hunting dog and actually get in the field and hunt with them. The list of stuff you need to buy, just to own a dog, can be daunting. Here are yet a few more things if you wish to go hunting with your hunting dog.
This is not a complete list. Help us all out and add to this list in the comments below.
First Aid Kit
My dog Shiloh is now 3 years old. I have had to get him stitched up on three separate occasions. When a hard-charging dog enters the field, there are a lot of things that can cut or scrape. A well stocked first aid kit is essential to keep in the car, and a mini first aid kit needs to be carried as well.
This is a good book on first aid. It doesn't assume that you are always 5 minutes from a veterinarian. It also has a good section as to what needs to be in a well-stocked first aid kit.
The reality of life is that we who hunt with dogs share the fields and woods with trappers. There is a very real possibility that a dog will get caught in a trap. Knowing how to release a trap and being equipped to do so is essential. Carrying a cord is essential to getting traps open. It can double as a tourniquet if needed. Here is a video on opening a trap with a cord:
Finding The Dog: Bells
The dogs that I focus on and train are pointing dogs. This means that they stop moving when they scent prey. If a dog stops moving in grass that is over his head, that dog is invisible. So, how do you find the dog? The low tech way is to put a bell on the dog. The hunter keeps track of the bell, and when the bell goes silent (i.e. the dog is on point), you walk toward where you last heard the bell.
Finding The Dog: Beepers
Some find the constant ringing of the bell as annoying. So, there is a techy version of this. It is the beeper. There are a lot of different styles of beepers. There are those that only go off when the dog is on point. Or they are attached to a remote so they only sound when signaled with a transmitter. Some are part of a shock collar. Others are separate.
A word of note: Wolves have been reintroduced into some areas where pointing dogs owners like to hunt. Personally, I avoid those areas, but the recommendation that I have heard is to run a pointing dog with both a bell and a beeper. The extra and artificial noise of the beeper allegedly helps keep the wolves at bay.
Finding The Dog: GPS or Telemetry
The ultimate high tech dog finding mechanism is the GPS. Garmin sells devices that allows you to track and find your dog via GPS. Not cheap, but nice.
An alternative version of this is telemetry. The dog wears a transmitter and the hunter carries a receiver. This setup does not require satellites; it is line of sight.
Recalling The Dog: Tone Or Vibrate Collar
Many e-collars or shock collars come with additional features which are nice, even if you choose never to use a shock collar to train your dog. One feature that I like a lot is the ability to vibrate the collar. I have trained my dog to come when he feels the vibrate feature. This is nice, because, as a hunting dog gets older and has had a lot of gunfire, he will begin to lose his sense of hearing. The vibrate is nice because it does not depend on hearing.
If this feature is too expensive, a cheaper version is a tone. This is simply a low volume tone that is built into some shock collars, which the dog can be trained to recall when he hears it.
Recalling The Dog: Whistle
The above talks about giving a remote recall command to the dog, but if the dog has lost track of you, the dog will run in circles looking for you. A whistle is nice because it can be heard further away than your voice. When out hunting, I've been known to simply toot the whistle occasionally...especially when I change directions and the dog may not be aware of this fact.
Keeping The Dog Safe: Dog Boots
My first dog was a wimp as far as snow was concerned. Whenever there was snow on the ground, I needed to boot the dog. If you are in an area with sand burrs or a lot of prickly pear cacti, or just have a wimpy dog like mine, boots can be helpful. If snow is really crusty, it can tear up dog pads. Having some boots on hand is often a good idea.
Some of the best dog boots can be fashioned from a motorcycle inner tube. Take a look here.
Keeping The Dog Safe: Dog Vest
There are a lot of different vests that can be purchased for your dog. There is the simple orange vest to keep the dog visible and to help keep the dog from being accidentally shot. Then there are vests available to keep the dog from getting tore up by barbed wire or thorn bushes. There are also neoprene vests available that can keep a dog warm if the dog will encounter cold water or cold and wet conditions.
A good hunt is when everyone comes home safe and sound. It is your job to make sure that Phydeaux finds his way home. All of this stuff can help in that endeavor. Again, if there are things on your list that I did not mention here, please add them to the comments below.
Type your email address in the box and click the "create subscription" button. My list is completely spam free, and you can opt out at any time.
Filed under: Uncategorized