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First Pheasant Hunt


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Copper (1.5 years) did well in ducks and geese now we are going to ND this weekend for another type of bird. I have a shock collar and hope I can keep him close. Any suggestions -- anything I need to remember?

How about protection for the dog and maybe a first aid kit for dogs -- what would that be?



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Good luck in ND! There are plenty of birds to be had. Others may disagree but I think for his first pheasant hunt to use the collar as little as possible. If he gets on a running bird, let him go and flush it.

Last year my 11 month old lab flushed more than a few birds over 100 yards away but she was so excited and having so much fun that I didn't punish her. I just wanted her to be excited about birds. I was hunting ducks on saturday with her and she flushed 4 roosters 10 yards from me and never strayed more than 30 yards without me even talking to her. Staying close will come... let Copper hunt, in my opinion.

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Good info GF -- thanks for ideas. I will let Copper have a little fun while we are there. wink.gif

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He will probably either want to run out about 100 yards, or he will want to follow you. If he runs, go to your HERE command. If he just wants to follow, then walk in a zig zag fashion to get him moving. Be positive, praise for good behavior, and be patient. Some labs get it right away, and others take quite a while. From what I hear, you won't have any problems finding birds, so hopefully he learns what he is looking for right away. Another common young dog problem is that he will want to chase birds after a flush (hens or missed roosters). Just call him back and try not to burn him for it. He will figure it out and stop doing it. If he costs you a bird or two, don't sweat it. That is part of the process. If your area is anything like mine, you will be done in under an hour. Also - watch it if it is warm out. Heat can kill a dog very quickly.

I am going to ND this weekend and SD the next. Life is good!!!!

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JDM makes a good point... Work on the NO BIRD command. It took a while for me but mine figured it out. I would just yell... no shocking because I didn't want her to associate the punishment with the flush of the bird. After a miss now, she comes back right away looking mad.

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From your other post you said your dog is pretty hard headed and the collar doesnt effect him very much so you hopefully wont have to worry too much about him getting bird shy from shocking. Last year i didnt use a collar for the first few outing of the season maybe six times or so. But my dog was also not introduced to the collar at that time. The first few birds I'd let him run and get excited it might screw up your hunting the first field or two but thats okay. Get him excited on the birds and give him lots of praise. Then you can use the collar. One thing you definately want to be carefull of is shocking him while he is on the scent of the bird you dont want to make him think it is bad to follow scent. If you get the chance go by yourself away from your hunting party. That will make it easier to judge how you dog is doing and will prevent people from influencing your decision on when to use the collar.

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I made a first aid kit for Digger. I found the forum earlier this year and printed a list from the items that others carry. Works pretty well. Fits in a nice small bag. Sits on top of his hunting box. Can't wait to get out in the field next week. He will be almost 9 months. Has done very well on his training. Am getting excited/nervous. Good luck evryone. grin.gif

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Here you go guy's. This is the list we use to compile our kits in our MN NAVHDA Chapter. I keep these items in a day pack that goes along for every dog outing for either training or hunting.

Emergency Dog First Aid Kit

1. Saline (use to flush eyes or wounds)

2. KY jelly (use to lube rectal thermometer or to fill lacerations to keep them moist)

3. Alcohol (put on paw pads if over heated)

4. Scissors

5. Needle nose and / or flat nose pliers with cutter (cut fish hooks, pull porcupine quills)

6. Tweezers

7. Rectal thermometer (over 103 degrees is a concern)

8. Roll gauze (can use as a muzzle if needed)

9. Medical tape

10. Latex gloves

11. Triple antibiotic ointment

12. Gauze pads

13. Telfa pads

14. Q –tips

15. Cotton balls

16. Vet wrap (also can use as a muzzle if needed)

17. Wound cleaner (any cleaner with chlorahexidine is preferred)

18. Fly ointment

19. Peroxide (use 1 or 2 oz to induce vomiting when needed)

20. Pad tough

21. Ear cleaner

22. Muzzle

23. Quick stop (for minor bleeding, torn or broken nails)

24. Dial soap – anti bacterial (can use as a wound cleaner)

25. Ice pack

26. Bottled water (good clean water source – can use to flush wounds)

27. Hydro cortisone cream (apply to bug bites, bee stings)

Good Hunting!


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Here is are the kit contents recommended by the breeder of my current pup:

Thermometer, anal

Hemostats, bent tip*

BP surgical blade or equivalent (for tracheotomy)*

Ringer bag and drip rig*

Skin Stapler


Vet Wrap AND Duct Tape

Puncture Flusher (proboscis hypodemic)*

Turkey baster*

Tourniquet: boot lace and tongue depressors or ½” dowel*

4x4 sterile gauze bandages, many cotton balls


Oti Cleans and ear antibiotics, vinegar and douser

Opti Cleans and eye antibiotics (cornea scratches)

Antibiotics: cephalexin & Baytril, pill form

Antihistamines: benedryl, liquid and pill form; claritan double child dose.

Hydrogen peroxide: emetic and sterilizer*

Ipecac, emetic

Saline solution

Iodine concentrate, 2 oz*

Glucose, chewable form

Analgesics: enteric aspirin, baby 81 grn; naproxene sodium; rimadyl

Skunk Kit: ¼# bake soda, quart hydrogen peroxide, dash of dish soap

2 gals rubbing alcohol AND

2 pints rubbing alcohol

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I guess I have to disagree with a few comments here.

IMHO, I will NOT allow my dog to run or chase birds. It is a bad habit that is simply not allowable to me, and I think it is bad manners to the rest of the hunting party. It is much easier to allow a dog to hunt further away from you (next year) but this year is a training year. Bad habits picked up now will be repeated for years until you break them.

I did not hunt my dog with other dogs or people until I was sure he knew what he was doing. He knows he works close, and does not range unless I give he the command, and then he continually checks back with me to make sure he is not too far. This year is the dogs year, not yours.

But I have a thing about dogs with bad manners and it is a pet peave of mine. Screaming at dogs, taking another dogs retrieve (dog that points or flushes it retreives it), and dog hunting out of range inferiates me. I grew up hunting for days to see a bird, and a limit was almost unheard of, so every bird was critical to not screw it up. My $.02.

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those are good points farmboy, but being out hunting to most is about getting out in the field and away from the everyday mundane life and to have a great time. It's always nice to come home with a limit of birds, deer tags filled, etc., but if that's the only reason for going hunting, why not go to a game preserve and have them put out a limit of pheasants or ducks, or whatever? Then it's pretty much a given to go home with a limit. I was raised that hunting is about being outdoors, having fun, enjoying the company around you and shooting something was secondary. That's why it's "hunting" and not "shooting." yes, it's great to hunt over well trained dogs and to watch them work, but enjoy the people around you, the sights that you see, and do shoot straight when something flushes. But it's more than just bringing home a limit......

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Farmboy... I agree with some of the stuff you said and if you are hunting with unfamiliar people or a large group then maybe a dog running ahead is a bigger problem for some people.

On the other hand, this is Copper's first time pheasant hunting so the experience should be positive. Also, it is ND and there are plenty of birds to be missed, flushed 100 yards and walked past. More birds is more fun for Copper and after he gets some experience, he can be molded into the close ranging flushing dog that many desire.

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I agree with kingfisher. Theres nothing better being on the praire on a fresh morning and listening to the roosters or hearing and watching geese fly. Having a couple of good hunting buddies there tops it off. Every season we always have a couple of good stories to tell our friends back in the cities who are stuck in their offices. We feel fortunate that we have an opportunity to even be out there in that beautiful country. Of course if we pick up some birds its a bonus.

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I agree with you guys on why you are in the field, I just can't stand to see a dog ruin a good hunt. I never had a dog growing up, and I would much rather hunt without a dog, then with a bad dog. For those reasons, I spent way to many hours working with my dog, always on real (not game farm birds), and choose to hunt by myself for one year to guarantee he knew what to do. That was a small price to pay for me to have a dog I knew I can count on. I think he is smarter then me grin.gif

Just my $.02. I guess if I were in your shoes, I would keep the dog kenneled for the main hunt with all your friends/family, and after limits are taken, take your dog out without guns, hunters, distractions, and work him on live birds. Great training, you can control the situation, dog does not have other people yelling for their dogs to distract him, etc. That would get your dogs training in high gear IMHO. I think it is very hard on a dog to hear numerous people giving dogs commands and not knowing who to listen to, and who not to.

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I, too, don't like a dog to ruin a hunt by consistently flushing out of range or ranging too far. One rule I always abide by when hunting over dogs is: Whoever owns the dog, controls the dog. No one else is allowed to give commands. It's easier for the dogs and everyone else. If the dog is trained, why keep him in the kennel during the hunt? Isn't that what you're training him to do? Why not put him to use while hunting? If you're going to bring him along for the hunt only to keep him in the kennel during the actual hunt, why even bring him along? When you get to the field, just let everyone know that you're the only one that gives the dog commands. And, have everyone carry a bottle of water for the dog and the dog only. It's just a small price to pay for the ability to hunt over the dog. When my son gets old enough to come with, he'll know that it's not just about how many birds you bring home or how fast you can limit out. It's about getting out into the field away from everything and the experience. If the birds are flying close and frequently, then great. Otherwise, the hunt isn't ruined just because you don't have a limit. that's my $.02

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Farm B. --

I am not as worried about my dog as I am my buddies dog. I did not know he was bringing his dog and I don't think that is good. His dog is a female from the same litter as my dog but has had no formal training and very very little informal training.

My buddy keeps telling me that the shock collar works for his dog and not to worry. He is for bull-headed than my bull-headed lab.

Do you guys think it is best to work an area away from him and his dog? I mean a long way away?


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GF --

That is how I am looking at it -- fun for me and fun for the dog -- if he misses something no big deal. I have missed plenty of birds myself in waterfowl. wink.gif

I am not going to be hard core, but I will keep him in line and still let him have fun.

My duddy is very hard-core and will be zapping the hair off of his dog and yelling at it so I think I will hunt in another part of the state. wink.gif

Thanks GF

Any thoughts about my goofy buddy and his dog coming along?

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My point is it is very confusing for a dog to hear numerous people giving commands. I know my dog is 5 years old and he still gets confused listening to lots of people calling their own dogs. My dog was trained to listen to a command from anyone and when my buddy calls his dog constantly, the dog is very confused and starts to think commands are not instantly followed. Very hard for a dog who does not understand the game yet to put them in this situation.

I know it would be very hard to leave the dog back for the hunt, but IMHO, I think a great dog next year, is better then teaching bad habits this year.

Again, no offense meant to anyone, I just did not want to do anything wrong with my dog and have to put more time into fixing a problem that became a problem because of something I did wrong. Not saying it would happen, but I am not willing to take that chance.

Good luck with your decision. Do what you think is best in the situation, I am not there to know the details you know. Let us know how it turns out, and a few pictures of the dog with a few birds would be appreciated grin.gif

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I am not talking about the dog flushing birds consistently at 100 yards or just letting the dog roam on its own. I am talking about the dog that gets on a running bird, follows on its heels for 100 yards and then kicks it up. If the dog is on a bird, let it go. If the dog is 100 yards out there and frollicking in the grass, bring it back. The majority of the time, it should be within 30 yards and flushing birds in that range.

I know it is a faux pas when hunting pheasants but I talked alot to my dog last year. I never used her shock collar but would remind her to "stay close." When she flushed a bird and wanted to chase it, I would yell "No bird, Bailey come." I would praise her and then say "Find Another" (a command I taught her using two bumpers during training). As the season progressed, I needed to remind her less and less to stay close. Last weekend while hunting ducks, she was pheasant hunting most of the time. She flushed 4 birds within 15 yards of me and only ranged more than 60 yards from me when she heard a rooster cackle 120-150 yards away(I was able to call her back before she flushed it).

Others may disagree with this philosophy but it worked better than I could imagine. Over 100 pheasants were shot over Bailey last year (I basically was a "guide" for alot of my college buddies and my dad's friends so don't chastise me for limit stuff because I never exceeded possession and this was in ND).

Farmboy, I agree that it is tough with multiple dogs. About half the hunting I did was with just Bailey. Like yours, Bailey is trained to listen to everyone (including my soft-voiced fiancee) but when we hunt, she listens to me and only me no matter who is yelling. I tell people that I hunt with that I control the dog unless I release her to them when a bird is down.

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Here is an idea for hunting with your buddy... Find a longer crick-bottom or field and have him start at one end and you start at the other. You will push the birds towards each other but still will be able to work with your respective dogs without interference.

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Gf --

Yeah we need to be a little ways apart I think.

If we work on different sides and push together won't we be shooting at each other?

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We do "pinches" all the time. You would only be shooting at each other if you pull the trigger!

When we do pinches, all birds flushed and flying dead ahead are left to fly. Only birds angling off to the side (the majority of birds) Or ones that go up over ahead or behind are fair game. It is effective! It really confuses running birds to have hunters coming from 2 directions. We find a lot more roosters will hold tight than run in these instances. Way more effective than posting.

Good Luck!


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Not if the birds fly to the side or fly high. A friend of mine has a yellow lab so we always work towards each other. It prevents birds from running and when you meet in the middle... birds fly from every where and its a huge rush. I havn't got peppered doing this yet. Surrounding a slough hunting ducks and has proven much more dangerous/scary for me by far.

When I come back to Moorhead to shoot those ND birds later in Nov., I'll drop you a line and we can head out a day or two if you are down with that.

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Granted my dog chased away a fair amount of birds opening weekend. But even with the mishaps We were able to get a limit the first day and were 3 birds shy on our 2nd. Sure it made a couple people mad when he ran off but he also found 3 birds that older more expirenced dogs gave up on. This first year is not about you bagging limits. And if your hunting partner is in the same boat then I really wouldnt worry about it too much. Its about getting the dog excited about hunting. I'd try to get out to an open field or park wear you can let him run around off lead, work on the ranging before you go. Hopefully you can associate the shocking with not being close enough to you and not trailing birds. Again I wouldnt worry if he chases after the first couple birds no shocking just lots of praise after that. If you think he is understanding that birds are good, ranging is bad then I wouldnt be afraid to shock him. I have always been told that if a dog is doing something bad but then stops and comes to you after a "NO" and "COME" that is a good thing and they deserve praise.

Another thing. I dont know if you have your dog wistle trained but It helps immensly while pheasent hunting. I have my dog trained to sit/attention on one wistle and come on multiple wistles for what ever reason he react much quicker to the whistle and it will save you from losing your voice which is pretty much garenteed the first year.

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I know it is a faux pas when hunting pheasants but I talked alot to my dog last year.

I see no issue what so ever with this. Especially with a lab. I should have added to my post that I use the following commands all the time when hunting pheasants:

Hunt em up - gets them moving, lets them know it is ok to do it or break a heel command

Too far - not "here," but tells them they are to far away from me and should hunt back into range

No bird - stops a young dog from running after a flyer

deadbird - looking for a downed bird or cripple

over - handling into cover

Whistle commands - especially in high wind or at a distance

It is OK to have your own, just try to be as consistent with them as possible. I am so pumped for pheasant season. I just ran my dog. He is in terrific condition and in his prime. Good luck to all and be safe.

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JDM... I use basically the same commands I just had to use them a little more than I wanted to last year, especially the "stay close" and "hunt 'em up" or "find a bird."

I am hoping this year she knows the program and I will be using mostly the "dead bird" (if I shoot well) and "no bird" (when I miss).

I also attempted to whistle train her this summer so we will see what happens. She does well at the park and did okay duck hunting so hopefully it works out this weekend.

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