Dogs Hunt, Humans Shoot?

June 16, 2011 | By | 1 Reply More

We like to hunt. To us that means getting out there and walking (hard), seeing some birds fly, putting some of them on the ground.

That’s equally true whether we’re hunting without a dog or over a dog. As we say in Serious Grouse Hunting, Book 1, a dog is only as good as where you put it, and no dog finds every bird – meaning anyone or anything walking through a decent piece of cover has a shot at putting up a bird.

One way to put it is: We like to find birds, and aren’t content to let the dog do all the finding (which seldom has happened anyway).

Here’s what prompted theses thoughts: “Dogs Hunt, Humans Shoot.” That’s the title of an article written by Setter training master Dick Weaver. Here’s what he says about it:

> Hunting with a dog is entirely different than hunting without one, changing the role of the human involved.

> When hunting without a dog you zig-zag, kick brush and do whatever it takes to flush desired game. You also must hustle to retrieve downed birds, especially cripples. When hunting with a dog you no longer work to produce game or to make retrieves. Your job is to simply shoot game and accept retrieves. The purpose of the hunt is to allow the dog to do the job it was bred and trained to do, and to revel in the moment when they do.

> Observing your dog’s performance is a full time task if you wish both to appreciate it fully and to make appropriate adjustments in its training. Once the game is found and shot you must also allow your dog to find downed game and complete the retrieve. Competition with your dog will again send the wrong message, and pup will not likely ever be a sure, confident retriever.

> Equally critical is preparing yourself to do your part which is to shoot and to shoot well. Not only are dogs ruined by hunters interfering with the dog’s work, but also, by hunters who consistently miss shots, thus failing to do their part.

Makes sense, and while we’re sure we’re not half the hunters Dick is, we like to see dogs as hunting partners rather than they’re the hunters and we’re the shooters. Where do you fall on this continuum?

Category: Dogs in general, Tips

Comments (1)

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  1. LRR says:

    I believe the relationship between hunter and dog is a partnership. Success breeds success. The more you help your dog to be successful, the more he’ll learn, the harder he’ll hunt, and the more success the two of you will enjoy. A hunter should always work as hard for his dog as his dog works for him.

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