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Thread: Cactus!

  1. #1
    Member Clebba's Avatar
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    Default Cactus!

    Well, being relatively new to Texas (from Western New York originally) and out walking the pup in the field, I discovered a problem I never had to deal with. Threw a bumper and pup took the straight line, ignoring obstacles (proud of him for THAT) and ran right into a patch of cactus. Upon his discovery of what cactus is, he froze in the middle of the patch. Thank God he didn't sit down. He had a good amount of needles in his paws. Luckily, I had my Swiss Army knife on me and finally had a use for those tweezers (which, by the way, really don't work all that great). I got most of them out. Had to put him on his back straddle him to keep him still while I plucked them out.

    so my question, to all you who live in areas with cactus is: how do you deal with this? Is it just one of those things you learn to accept? I really do not want yo put my dog in boots. Will pup eventually learn to avoid? Any tips and/or tricks for removing them would be appreciated as well.

  2. #2
    Senior Member BonMallari's Avatar
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    One other thing to watch out for around cactus are rattlesnakes, they will be out shortly when the weather warms up, friends of mine are already finding them in SE TX
    All my Exes live in Texas

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    Senior Member The Snows's Avatar
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    You know now that I think about it .... Snow, ice, mosquitos and black flies don't look so bad now!!
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    Member Clebba's Avatar
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    I knew someone was gonna jump in on the rattlesnakes. Yeah, I plan to attend the snake-proofing training (whatever you call it) when they offer it at the local club. Though, I have only ever seen one rattlesnake in my 8 yrs. here. What about scorpions? Do those pose much problems to dogs? I thought I heard someone once say that dogs are not affected by them. Don't know the voracity of that.

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    My dogs hunt live in from Alaska ( no cactus) but when we hunt Wyoming and Montana. They learn real quick. When I lived in Arizona my dogs had very few run in's with the prickle bush. Don

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    Senior Member Wayne Nutt's Avatar
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    Dogs learn quick to avoid them. I recommend the rattlesnake vaccine. It is pretty cheap.
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    Senior Member Dave Flint's Avatar
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    It's for this reason that I like to take my very young puppies for exploring walks where there is cactus before they can run very fast. They get a few needles & learn to avoid it rather than hitting a bunch w/ a head of steam & really get hurt.

    That being said, you need to find areas without cactus to train if you want your dog to run straight lines.
    "The bird hunter watches only the dog, and always knows where the dog is, whether or not visible at the moment. The dog’ nose is the bird hunters eye. Many hunters who carry a shotgun in season have never learned to watch the dog, or interpret his reaction to scent."
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  8. #8
    Senior Member JDogger's Avatar
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    Cactus is omnipresent in the SW, and even in areas not considered the SW
    When training I try to avoid areas with heavy ground level cactus. They learn to see and avoid the cactus that grows higher, ie prickly pear and cholla.
    My dog kit contains cactus removal tools, including a hemostat, heavy duty tweezers, needle-nose pliers, and an afro rake to flip loose large chunks of cholla.
    My snake kit contains a .410 snake charmer, though I've only used it once in twenty years. I see very few rattlers. All dogs in the field recieve annual rattle-snake vaccinations. Not a guarantee, but better safe than sorry.
    One cannot reason someone out of something they were not reasoned into. - Jonathan Swift

  9. #9
    Member Clebba's Avatar
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    I didn't intend to throw the bumper toward the only cactus patch in the general area. It took one of those crazy football style tumbling bounces. I was impressed that he was going to blast through what I thought was a brush pile. By the time I realized there was cactus in there, it was too late. But there's a lesson for myself that I take full accountability for. And lessons learned. Will be carrying a bit more stuff on our field walks from now on.

    Here is another concern, as I plan to someday hunt the coastal marshes near near Houston. How do you deal with gators?

  10. #10
    Senior Member HPL's Avatar
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    As to gators, don't hunt your dog in areas where they are active. We have lots of cactus and my last dog seemed impervious to almost any type of thorn so often ran right through pear patches. He was a yellow and our typical routine after afternoon of dove hunting was to lay him on the floor and carefully run our hands all over him with and against the lay of his coat. Sometimes it took the better part of an hour to get most of the thorns. I also keep my dog vaccinated with the rattler vaccine. Won't hunt where I know that there are gators. No duck is worth my pup.
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