Yep, that's true. At my duck camp NONE of the dogs wear an e-collar. And I often hear things like we couldn't find one of the two ducks we knocked down, but I took Fido out near the last one and we got it. So it cuts both ways.Hunt'EmUp said:However, I have been hunting with a great many poor mannered dogs that absolutely need an e-collar to be controlled on a hunt, or be semi-mannered companions in a duck blind at all. I'd hazard to say the vast majority of dogs I've hunted with, if the e-collar must be used to control a dog it is absolutely a crutch covering up either poor or inadequate training and not simply a personal bias.
As far as "hunting with a great many poor mannered dogs that need an e-collar often for control", you must be a very tolerant hunting friend. I solved that problem a long time ago by duck hunting mostly alone.
This is a huge issue with upland hunting. Many just don't get it. However, the approach that someone might misuse an e-collar in the uplands is not a valid reason for thinking about not wearing one at all. Playing it safe is a comforting way to avoid an issue. However, this tactic generally needs to be reinforced with justification.Gooser said:I don't want to burn dogs when upland hunting, especially when the dog is "hot" on scent and tracking a bird/birds. I don't want any negative association with finding birds.
I did quite a bit of upland guiding at a game farm in Wisconsin. My dogs ALWAYS went out wearing an e-collar. There was one area that had a 20 foot drop-off into a limestone quarry. If you hunt upland and have a dog hot on the trail of a running pheasant, instincts and adrenalin can easily over-ride the best of established standards. In reality, hunting can turn risky in the blink of an eye. For me the e-collar is not unlike the safety net used in a circus trapeze act. Sometimes there is a fine line between being brave and being naive.
This leads into the second “story”. One day I was guiding a group of four. We were hunting a vast area of waist high sorghum. On days when there is very little wind, you can keep track of a dog by watching for movements on top of the stems (kind of like the small predator dinosaurs in Jurassic park).
However this day was the exception....high winds. Taffey was suddenly just gone. We walked all over trying to find her with no luck. I tried calling her and avoided doing the “stupid” thing - enforcing “here”. This a mistake inexperience upland hunters fall into (as Gooser mentioned). She was either hot on trying to pin down a running pheasant or on point. "Juice" was the very last thing I wanted to use.
However, she was wearing what I call the “Ace in the Hole” - a beeper/e-collar collar combo. I really find having the beeper turned on all that time annoying and often times it seems to be kind of sonar beacon for the pheasant to move away from. So it was off. I returned everyone to the area we had first lost her, positioned them carefully and turned on the beeper (remotely). When the beeper went off a big rooster flushed up with a loud cackle. Taffey had pinned the rooster on point the whole time we were searching. The rooster “just lost it” when beeper went off. As I said, it is an irritating noise.
An e-collar....used properly....when hunting is nothing more than just another useful part of my gear. I know what my dogs are capable of doing....trained skills. I understand the limits of those skills and often times amazed at how much more they can do.
I, also, realize that when truly hunting there are intangibles lurking which may require all my tools. Canine instincts in the real world can be unpredictable (even for the well trained) and reality is very often unforgiving.