View Full Version : Hunting with dogs.

05-30-2010, 10:34 AM
Hey guys, I was wondering whether any of you hunt with dogs. I'm talking about hunting upland game (pheasant, quail, chukar) and waterfowl. What has been your experiences hunting with dogs? Do they provide more advantages or can they be a disadvantage? Is a dog really required for waterfowl hunting?

Any help is appreciated,

05-30-2010, 11:16 AM
Required? No. Helpful? Yes.

I've been hunting over dogs since I was barely old enough to hoist a 12 gauge to my shoulder. I wouldn't have it any other way. But they're not just a 'tool', like a good shotgun. It's more of a working partnership that you have to be ready for.

05-30-2010, 12:03 PM
Well for wild pheasant hunting a GOOD dog will probably flush 20 birds to every 1 you flush. So id say if your are serious about pheasants id definately get one. For Waterfowl a dog is nice for retrieving but you can manage without one, although you will lose some birds .

05-30-2010, 2:08 PM
I have a couple shorthairs – my third and fourth hunting dogs. One is a pup. I used to evangelize about how great it is (and trust me, for some it really is a great hobby). Unfortunately, I have seen too many guys make a bad decision because they weren't clear about their situation or what they really wanted out of the deal or they couldn't get out of the way of their ego. In the end, its always the dog that pays the price.

Some guys get a dog and never bother to train it properly and those dogs are a PITA for everyone while hunting - and it is not the dog's fault. It’s the owner's.

Some guys think they want a hunting dog because, well, they're hunters and that's the kind of dog hunters get isn't? Except they aren't really hunters (or maybe they have no use for a hunting dog). They can't find wild birds or never seem to know where to go and never go alone just because they can. They like watching "Hunting with Hank" reruns and going to a wind up chicken place every once in awhile if all their buddies are going and they mostly wait around for somebody to invite them hunting. These guys are worse than the first type because they get a dog that needs a lot of exercise and a job and never train or exercise it. They just stick it in the backyard as a family pet (except they'll always tell you what a great hunting dog Fido is). A frustrated hunting dog is not a good pet. Go to a local (insert name of breed here) rescue and you will see of lot of these. Dogs are great pets, but this type of owner should go down to local pound and give a good mutt a new chance at a good home. They will both be happier.

Some guys live in an apartment or condo or travel frequently or work too many hours, have a demanding GF or wife, etc. If they want a hunting dog under those conditions, they are not thinking straight. They need to get an appropriate situation laid down first.

If you have a solid record of actually getting out in the field and hunting for birds some substantial number of days per year (I'd say 20 honest days in the field per season as a minimum) and you know you like hunting, have a list of places where you hunt each season, can find birds (and hit them at least half the time), and have some discretionary income and a decent backyard and some local areas to run a dog off-leash at least several times a week, then I’d say you’re a good candidate – but if you are what I just described, you can answer the question for yourself. If you are still unsure, spend some time hunting over someone else’s dog(s) and/or help someone train their dog and see if it’s for you. These are living beings with needs. It’s a 10-15 year commitment and you should have a pretty good idea how your life is going play out over that period. Stuff happens, but some guy’s lives are just in flux – they are still working out the details of careers, school, family, etc. You need to have established a fairly stable lifestyle or know how you have decided to live and know you’re not going to get deployed or transferred to New York City or somewhere.

What I have learned about hunting dogs is that you get into the deal thinking a dog will help you get more birds. What usually happens is that your focus changes and going hunting becomes more about the dog and less about the birds. A properly trained dog is an enormous investment of time, energy and money and the payback is watching them work and just the pleasure of being in the field with them.

A hunting dog is a year round deal. Not just taking care of them, but training and testing them and, after that, keeping them sharp. You really need to enjoy doing it or you wont ever find the time. Training costs money, either you pay someone or you do it yourself and spend the time, buy the gear, etc. If you opt to do it yourself, join a training and testing club such as NAVHDA or one of the retriever clubs if you get one of those dogs.

Anyway, that's my 2 cents and worth what you paid for it

05-30-2010, 2:45 PM
I hunt with labs. I consider a dog a requirement for upland and damn near one for duck hunting. It's a ton of work but very rewarding. I will hunt more this year than last since this season will be their first full time one.

I'd much rather let me dog get that sailed spoonie across the pond than wade out there and chase it around until it hits the bank and I can't find it.

A bad dog is a pita. The guy above me nailed it with his post.

05-30-2010, 3:02 PM
I had a beagle bird dog that would bird right on the spot.