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Thread: When to go on his first hunt?

  1. #1
    Member brandon a's Avatar
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    Default When to go on his first hunt?

    I have a lab puppy that I am training for bird hunting following the smartworks system.

    I am going dove hunting this weekend and I was thinking about taking him with us if the hunting is slow.
    There will be about 3 or 4 shooters including me, but I will hold back on shooting to work with him.

    So assuming the hunting is slow (as in each person only kills 3 or 4), is there any reason I shouldnt bring him?

    He is 13 weeks old and has been introduced to birds and had guns shot over him before. He is making some good retrieves during training and we will be hunting in mowed pastures where the birds are easy to see when they fall.

    Thanks for the advice.

  2. #2
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    I'd leave him home. 3 or 4 shooters is a bit of noise. Also A 13 week old isn't going to have the attention span for very long. Let your puppy be a puppy and concentrate on the yard work like OB.

  3. #3
    Senior Member metalone67's Avatar
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    Please leave the pup home until he is trained, to many bad habits can be formed in one hunting trip. The chance of undoing all you have done so far is not worth a few birds now, that he'll have a chance at for the rest of his life.
    The foundation to a great retriever is obedience.
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    Senior Member BlaineT's Avatar
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    Maybe it's overkill but we don't hunt them till they are running cold blinds proficiently. And really know what sit means.
    HRCH Hudson River Drake (Possom)
    HRCH Hudson River Saying Grace (Gracie)

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    Senior Member krazybronco2's Avatar
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    dove hunting with such a young pup is not the best idea. may have retrieved birds and been shot over a few times but a dove has very little smell and even in a mowed field a dove can get in some cover and be hard to find. also not sure what distances your pup has worked at but a being able to mark a dove at 30-40 yards is like marking a duck or a big bumper at 80-100 yards and combined with very little scent you could have the pup end up loosing alittle bit of confidence in its marking ablity and possibly even its drive.


    it is hard to not want to take them but remember after your pup is trained (say 18-24mo) you still have at least 8 years of hunting with your pup.

  6. #6
    Senior Member HNTFSH's Avatar
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    JMHO - when people say let the pup be a puppy there's more value than just letting it be a puppy. You'll get way more value and benefit from a dog as an adult that was able to be a puppy first. There is zero value in trying to make a puppy a junior hunting dog at that age.
    We shoot dogs with a Canon

  7. #7
    Senior Member Hunt'EmUp's Avatar
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    Take Him, why not he's a hunting dog, you say your going to fore-go shooting, and watch him, which is what everyone says your supposed to do . He's been around gun-fire and on a slow day there shouldn't be too much to put him in overload. Take him out, he might get a few birds, but most importantly, he'll get out, get some exposure in a controlled situation and He can start learning how to wait. As a hunting dog he'll be doing a lot of that, might as well start good habits with it now. Nothing like having a pup fall asleep at your feet, after watching the lights come on for the first time, puppy's need to get out and explore (to gain confidence), why can't he do that and perhaps retrieve a couple birds as well?

    Puppies are Fun; I had the latest set out at the duck club @ 8 wks; they had a blast and learned so much about the duck club experience; even got to run off with a few birds . Had my older dog on Dove at 4mt, she brought back birds; Sure I had to watch her and make her behave but it was great times & memories I will treasure forever. Memories I wouldn't have if I had left the pups at home

    Others can put their dog in a box until their 1.5+yrs, finishing up Masters, or whatever; Mine will always be out in the field gaining experience. But to each their own.
    Last edited by Hunt'EmUp; 09-17-2013 at 03:02 PM.
    "They's Just DAWGS"
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  8. #8
    Member brandon a's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hunt'EmUp View Post
    Take Him, why not he's a hunting dog, you say your going to fore-go shooting, and watch him, which is what everyone says your supposed to do . He's been around gun-fire and on a slow day there shouldn't be too much to put him in overload. Take him out, he might get a few birds, but most importantly, he'll get out, get some exposure in a controlled situation and He can start learning how to wait. As a hunting dog he'll be doing a lot of that, might as well start good habits with it now. Nothing like having a pup fall asleep at your feet, after watching the lights come on for the first time, puppy's need to get out and explore, why can't he do that and perhaps retrieve a couple bird as well?

    Puppies are Fun; I had the latest set out at the duck club @ 8 wks; they had a blast and learned so much about the duck club experience; even got to run off with a few birds . Had my older dog on Dove at 4mt, she brought back birds; Sure I had to watch her and make her behave but it was great times & memories I will treasure forever. Memories I wouldn't have if I had left the pups at home
    Well, Im not leaving him at home, he will be coming with me for the weekend, but I may leave him in the trailer while we hunt.

    Might take him out by myself or something for a short walk around the field and maybe flush a dove or two to see how he reacts.

    Ill keep him out of the real action for now. Just let him run around with me during the day, maybe go on a few walks or something.

    Thanks for all the suggestions

  9. #9
    Senior Member HNTFSH's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hunt'EmUp View Post
    Others can put their dog in a box until their 1.5+yrs, finishing up Masters, or whatever; Mine will always be out in the field gaining experience. But to each their own.
    I hear ya. It's so danged situational, almost all situational on the guy that owns the pup.

    And you're right - it's all about being careful, what not to do and most of all managing ones own expectations (which all think they're good at and few are).

    Knothead RIP here at 4.6 months? First bird retrieved the Woodie. Dragged the certainly dispatched Goose back by the neck. Had little clue what he was doing but sure had fun.



    We shoot dogs with a Canon

  10. #10
    Senior Member Brettttka's Avatar
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    I think the hunting situation is based upon how you feel. I have a 2yo that had developed a gun concern and after a bunch of hours/poppers/talks with the pro I took him out for teal season and his first hunt. With 4 guns going off it didnt even phase him. Puts a smile on your face to watch them go out a retrieve the bird even if it wasnt the prettiest of retrieves. Marley Teal Hunt 2013.jpg
    Lone Oak's Marley Man.. (My first)

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