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Why you should hunt with a dog - - - 6 messages. Showing 1 through 6.
CrappieKeith
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Daily Subscription Msg 1 Posted: 04:15 PM 09/19/06 (CST)
I saw this & had to post it.My sentiments exactly & susinctly put.
Hunting Dogs: For hunters, a good retriever means more birds in the bag

By Sam Cook
Duluth News Tribune
DULUTH, Minn. (AP) – Bob Owens remembers when he first began duck hunting in northern Minnesota in the early 1960s. Something about it didn’t seem right.
“For the first two years I hunted up here without a dog, I’ll bet you we didn’t recover half the birds – divers and mallards,” said Duluth’s Owens. “I thought, ‘Wow, this is just not right.”’
So Owens bought a black Lab, and he’s been hunting with them for more than 40 years. Like most hunters who use dogs in hunting, Owens feels good knowing that he recovers most of the birds he shoots.
Owens, 68, began breeding Labs in 1975 and is on his fourth generation, many of which are at work for hunters in Duluth and northern Minnesota.
Hard data on the value of retrievers in recovering game is difficult to come by. But Steve Cordts, waterfowl specialist for the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, knows firsthand how much difference a dog makes. Cordts, of Bemidji, uses retrievers in his own waterfowl hunting.
“If you get a (downed) duck in vegetation, if it’s dead, you have a fair chance of finding it,” Cordts said. “If it’s not dead, you’re never going to retrieve that bird yourself. Your only hope is the dog.”
A good retrieving dog can get into cover – dense cattails or other aquatic vegetation – where it’s difficult for humans to go. And a dog’s nose is usually much more reliable than a human’s eyes in locating a wounded or dead bird.
Duluth’s Ron Nelson, 71, has been hunting for 60 years, 55 of those over retrievers. He wouldn’t be without his black Labs.
“If you’re going to be hunting areas where there’s lots of cover – swamps, sloughs, heavy brush – which is common in duck habitat, there’s no way you can physically retrieve those birds without a dog,” Nelson said.
Nelson recalls a time many years ago when he was jump-shooting on a winding river from his canoe with a Labrador retriever. He had downed a drake mallard and thought he knew where it was. He sent his dog into the area three times, but each time the dog wanted to leave the area and cross to the other side of the river.
“I said, ‘The heck with you’ after three times,” Nelson said. “He went across the river, thrashed around in there and came back with that greenhead in his mouth. That’s one instance where the dog was smarter than I was.”
Most hunters have at least one story like Nelson’s, illustrating the superior ability dogs have to track down wounded game.
Duluth’s Tim Gross was spring goose hunting in South Dakota one March when he wounded a goose that sailed far away. His black Lab didn’t see it fall, but Gross could see it.
“It was just a speck in the field,” he said.
He lined up his retriever and sent it to the bird. The dog had to cross three fences en route. Gross stood up on a set of railroad tracks so he could direct the dog by whistle and hand signals.
“She got that bird,” Gross said. “It was at least a half-mile away.”
Retrievers are especially valuable in waterfowl hunting, because ducks and geese can be hard to kill.
“Most ducks are not dead when they hit the water, no matter who’s shooting,” the DNR’s Cordts said.
Some die soon after, but some do not. They often swim for heavy cover or make repeated dives to avoid capture. Some are never recovered.
Federal surveys of waterfowl hunters put the wounding rates at 15 to 20 percent of birds recovered, Cordts said. Those rates may be low because hunters don’t want to admit how many birds they don’t recover, he said.
In studies where hunters are observed by researchers, waterfowl wounding rates approach 33 percent, Cordts said.
In the Mississippi Flyway, hunters killed and recovered 5.3 million ducks last fall, Cordts said. If one-quarter of those ducks weren’t recovered, that represents 1.3 million birds.
In Minnesota’s September goose hunt for Canada geese last fall, hunters reported in a DNR survey that they killed 95,000 geese and failed to retrieve another 9,000, Cordts said.
Wounding rates have been cited by animal-rights groups as a reason to ban hunting. Surveys have shown that most of the general public supports hunting, but some hunters worry about hunting’s image.
“I’m concerned that we lose hunting unless we demonstrate to the general public that we’re skillful, that we’re ethical and that we’re more interested in the resource than we are in maximizing killing birds every time we go out,” said Duluth’s Dave Zentner, a member of the Duluth chapter of the Izaak Walton League.
That’s why Zentner and others are emphasizing the importance of retrievers in recovering game at the upcoming Youth Waterfowl Clinic.
Beyond the conservation benefits of hunting with a good dog, hunters often speak of the bond that develops over years with a good dog.
Once he began hunting with retrievers, Owens found out how rewarding it was to train and work with his dogs all year.
“I realized there was a lot more than just a four- or six-week hunting season to be with your partner, your dog. That became more important than just retrieving four ducks for the day,” he said.
For Nelson, as for a lot of hunters, the dog has become an essential part of the hunt.
“The shooting isn’t everything,” he said. “It’s the work of the retriever, watching them do a good job, coming back with a big greenhead out of the tules. It’s impressive.”
Nelson remembers just one year that he hasn’t hunted. His Lab, in its prime, had died, and he didn’t have another dog to hunt with. So, he just didn’t hunt.
“I’d rather hunt with a dog than a gun,” Nelson said. “If I had to give one up, I’d give up the gun.”



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Bobber Down
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Daily Subscription Msg 2 Posted: 04:16 PM 09/19/06 (CST)
Good one!


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CrappieKeith
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Daily Subscription Msg 3 Posted: 04:33 PM 09/19/06 (CST)
I did the same thing like the mallard guy who after 3 times let the dog go acroos the river.
Buck's 1st goose comes flying by at around 50 yards out.I smoked the bird or so I thought.It folded hard and went down in waiste high grass on a floating bog.The only marker was a scrub pine 5 foot tall.It almost hit the tree.So I get over to it & I'm going "hunt it up Buck ,over & over.Next thing I knew was the dog was gone.Now I going hell.,well it took awhile for me to spot the dog 50 yards away.All I could see was his tail arched & then I said to myself what is he doing.I get over to him & low & behold he is standing on the goose that is still alive.
I rung it's neck quickly & he drug it all of the way back to the boat by the neck. I was so proud that day.I still get a tear recanting the story.
Dogs that are trained are such a joy to be with.I think anyone who hunts should have one if at all possible.They need alot of time & attention ,but the pay off is overwhelming.



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ryanc
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Daily Subscription Msg 4 Posted: 07:30 PM 09/19/06 (CST)
Your sig is to small ck! smile smiley






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CrappieKeith
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Joined 03/27/2006
Posts:3862

CrappieKeith's blogs, pictures and recent posts
Daily Subscription Msg 5 Posted: 08:07 AM 09/20/06 (CST)
It was too big & for now this is fine Ryanc.I'll play with it so you can read it later.



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IF IT'S WET...IT'S CATCH'N FISH
CrappieKeith
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Joined 03/27/2006
Posts:3862

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Daily Subscription Msg 6 Posted: 01:41 PM 10/06/06 (CST)
Yesterday my 1st wood cock fell in chest high grass mixed with tags.I'd have never found it without buck.Oh do they pay off.



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IF IT'S WET...IT'S CATCH'N FISH
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