If you've always been an avid hunter but have only recently begun training your pup to safely retrieve your prey, you may be excited at the prospect of heading out to the woods for your first tandem hunt. However, preparing your retriever for action can go beyond simply learning verbal commands. Read on to learn more about some of the protective gear you'll want to utilize during your dog's first hunting trip, as well as a few gadgets that can make your experience much more rewarding.
What equipment may your hunting dog need?
1. Safety vest (and life preserver): Due to their short stature and tendency to blend in, hunting dogs (including retrievers) will need to wear bright-colored or reflective safety vests to prevent them from inadvertently finding themselves in the sights of another hunter's rifle.
In the context of hunting water fowl, you may opt for a safety vest that does double duty as a life preserver or life jacket. Choosing a safety jacket that can be manually inflated, rather than one containing water-repellent foam or other buoyant material, can allow you to deflate the life preserver while you're away from the water, improving your dog's comfort and ability to move quickly.
In addition to providing a bright and reflective surface that can protect your dog from being caught in crossfire, these safety vests often include chest and even tail protectors, keeping your dog safe from briers or stinging nettles, bits of metal machinery, and other objects (both natural and man-made) that may stand between your retriever and his or her prey.
Because there's little that can ruin a hunting trip more quickly than an injury to your companion, a canine safety vest is often the most important piece of hunting gear you can buy.
2. Training whistle :Even experienced hunting dogs can benefit from a corrective (or instructive) whistle, and for dogs who are fairly new to the game, bringing along a training whistle or two is crucial to keeping your pup in control while you're in the woods.
Using a training whistle can also help you get out of the habit of yelling commands at your dog, which can be a surefire way to give up your location and ensure game will steer clear of the area until you've left.
3. Dog blind: When hunting small game, you'll want to remain concealed; often easier said than done after you've outfitted yourself and your pup in bright orange vests. You may be reluctant for your pup to accompany you to a duck blind or hunting stand because of the potential for distraction – so what better option than your dog's own pint-sized blind?
These blinds are portable and can be placed near your own or close to the water, giving you the choice to keep your pup close or allow him or her to be nearer the action. If you find that your dog's mere presence near the water is enough to send game scurrying (or flying), investing in a blind can keep your companion well-concealed until his or her help is needed.
What else can help you improve your hunting performance?
After you've invested in some safety and camouflage gear for your hunting companion, you may also want to purchase some duck whistles. These whistles simulate the mating call of a mature duck, which can serve as a siren song to just about every opposite-sex duck within earshot.
If you've never used a duck whistle before, you may want to talk to other hunters in your area to see which brands they prefer, as the effectiveness of each variety can vary widely depending upon the most predominant duck breeds in the region.
For more information on these and other types of hunting equipment, contact companies like Lion Country Supply.