Early Season Thoughts

  Here it is the early fall and around the country seasons are opening for upland hunters. As we head out into the uplands whether it is for dove in the south or Sharptails in the Midwest we need to be aware of some things that we need to look out for.

  We all hunt in areas that are full of hazards for us and our four-legged friends. While we are able to use reason to avoid most of the hazards to us. We need to assist our dogs in avoiding these hazards. Whether we handle them away from danger or they receive training to gain the understanding of certain dangers.

  Recently I was able to get my dogs into a snake aversion clinic that was finally presented within a reasonable distance from my home.

Copperhead Snake. Picture from the Internet. 


  This training in theory is pretty simple. You bring a dog up to a cage with a snake in it and as soon as the dog sees or smells or shows interest in the snake, he gets some stimulation from   the e collar. This is at a very high level to make it seem to the dog that it was the snake that caused the pain and thus he will ignore snakes in the future.

   The important thing to remember about this training is that the timing in giving the stimulation to the dog is the most important aspect in assuring that the training is successful. If your timing is off, then all you are doing is shocking your dog and creating confusion and that is not what you want.

   I hope this training has stuck with the dogs and that the hazard of a snake is one less thing I have to worry about now.

  Another hazard that we all have to deal with this time of year is the heat. Most dog owners know about Exercise Induced Heat Exhaustion and if you do not then please look it up and help keep your hunting buddy safe.

   I am not going to go into too much detail about this as I have spoken about it before, and it has been covered extensively.

   If you are heading out west to the Dakotas and Montana and such, make sure you are prepared to deal with Porcupine quills.

Porcupine. Picture from the internet.


  For some reason these critters are tempting to our bird dogs, and it usually leaves the dog needing quills removed from his face and mouth. More important than that is if one gets down his throat. That can lead to a set of problems that are detrimental to our dogs. 

   Make sure you have a good set of pliers to pull what you can and then get to an emergency vet to make sure you got them all. 

  Speaking of tools that you should have in your vest is a good set of cable cutters. Why cable cutters. If your dog gets caught in a snare that has been set by a trapper your Leatherman will not get that cable cut and it will end tragically for you and your dog. 

Snare Trap. Picture from the Internet


 One last thing I want to mention is the habitat itself. Our dogs run through some of the nastiest habitats out there.

Thick grouse and Woodcock Cover. Picture from the internet.

  Whether it is the cliff faces in Chukar country or the thick briars of Ruffed Grouse and Woodcock. There are injuries that range from a cut pad all the way to something that is even more severe such as an impalement from a stick or something like that.

   I am not trying to put an air of doom and gloom on the uplands and make people feel overly cautious, I just want people to prepare themselves for something that may happen and keep it from turning into something tragic.

  All that being said, get out there, enjoy the time in the field with your best buddy and make the memories that the uplands are famous for, and I hope to see you out there.

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