When September arrives, so does hunting season. Many of us begin each season with a dove shoot on a warm September afternoon, this is always a fun time filled with comradely and fellowship. We see old friends and make new ones. Dove shoots can be some of the most fun hunts you’ll have all season whether you kill a limit or not. When we pick up that shotgun and go back out into the field each September, we know that Fall is a little bit closer and we are back where we belong.
As we go back out into the field, many of us bring along our favorite, four-legged friend. This is a great warm up for bird dogs as they can begin the year with some new marks and scenarios to hunt in. But as fun as this is, it comes with a great amount of responsibility. Many of us are blessed with dogs that have tremendous drive and will stop at nothing to retrieve a downed bird over and over again. So when you’re out in the field with your dog this month, be sure to keep the following things in mind.
- Perform a pre-hunt and post-hunt physical. Dogs will often have to find a bird in areas that are still thick and grown up where they are more prone to scratches and debris. Areas of focus should be eye lids, ears, paws, and any exposed skin.
- Bring water for the dog while you are in the field…water in the truck five hundred yards away won’t keep your working dog hydrated
- Try to find a some nearby shade for your dog to work from
- And have fun! It’s the first time they’ve been retrieving downed birds in months, so don’t worry if a few cobwebs need to be knocked off.
One last trick I’ll share with you is one I learned from a retired police officer. Keep some rubbing alcohol in your truck. If your dog overheats, you can apply rubbing alcohol to the dog’s exposed skin around their hind legs. The rubbing alcohol will evaporate, pulling heat away from the dog. Hopefully dogs won’t be overheating, but I’d rather have it and not need it than need it and not have it!
Best of luck to everyone this September!