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  • January 30, 2013

    Gun Dog Gear: An All-Purpose First-Aid Kit Worth Buying

    By Chad Love

    Some of us (myself included) put together our own canine first-aid kits based on unique needs, dogs, hunting styles, geographic locations, etc. But many of us probably don't have the time or inclination to assemble these customized kits. Instead, we're looking for one we can buy that will be adequate for the vast majority of canine medical issues we're apt to face while in the field hunting.

    I've been using one such all-in-one kit this season: the Sporting Dog First-Aid Kit from Creative Pet Products. This compact, well-stocked kit comes with pretty much everything you need to administer basic first-aid to your dogs. If you encounter an in-the-field medical emergency that you can't, at least temporarily, doctor with the contents of this kit, then you need a vet, and fast.

  • January 28, 2013

    What Word Sums Up Your Gun Dog Season?

    By Chad Love

    In most of the country, bird and waterfowl seasons are either over or are starting to wind down, which means it's time to take a quick breather, then start thinking about goals for the off-season. I still have a little over two weeks of quail season in my home state, and I have one more late season out-of-state bird hunting trip (Texas quail) planned for next month, but other than that, I've put a fork in my 2012-13 hunting season. What one word summed it up? What theme permeated the entire season? I'd have to say... Finally! Yep, Finally!

  • January 24, 2013

    2013 Pheasant Fest and Quail Classic: SHOT Show for Gun Dog Owners

    By Chad Love

    I attended SHOT Show for the first time last year. While I came away amazed by the spectacle of the show itself, I have to admit I was a bit underwhelmed by the amount of dog and wingshooting-related items on display.

    I didn't attend SHOT this year, but I did ask fellow blogger David Draper to keep an eye out for any new or interesting items while he was there. Unsurprisingly, David didn't find much dog-related stuff at this year's show, either. Garmin/Tri-Tronics, SportDOG and Dogtra released new e-collars this year (new collar round-up forthcoming) but the truth is, if you want to find gundog-related items and vendors, you're largely not going to find them at an event like SHOT.

    You will, however, find them in spades at a show like the Pheasants Forever/Quail Forever 30th Anniversary Pheasant Fest and Quail Classic which is by far the nation's largest upland hunting and conservation event.

  • January 22, 2013

    AKC Canine Health Foundation to Fight Bloat in Dogs

    By Chad Love

    If there's one thing that both mystifies and terrifies dog owners, it's the little-understood, often fatal condition known as bloat. This is when a dog's stomach fills up with an abnormal amount of air, fluids, and/or foam, causing it to swell and twist on itself. This can lead to low blood pressure, shock and damage to internal organs. Unless it is noticed and treated quickly with surgery, it's almost always fatal—often within hours. Any dog can develop bloat, but it is common in large-breed and deep-chested dogs like retrievers.

    I lost Lewey (pictured here)—my beloved dog-of-a-lifetime, a four-year-old male chess—to bloat. There isn't a worse, more horrible feeling in the world than finding a perfectly healthy dog dead in his kennel, knowing he died in that manner. So I was thrilled when the AKC Canine Health Foundation announced The Bloat Initiative, an effort to research and battle bloat, in a press release.

  • January 14, 2013

    Gun Dog Training: Bad Habits

    By Chad Love

    Porcupines are a fact of life for many of us, especially if we spend enough time in the field or have the bad fortune to own dogs with an unhealthy interest in them. Take my two setters, for example. My female loves porcupines. She's fascinated with the damn things and will point them with as much style and intensity as any bird. And as you may recall, I've had some porcupine troubles this year with her.

  • January 8, 2013

    When Hunters Trash Public Land

    By Chad Love

    To the alleged duck hunter(s) who visited the east side of Fort Supply Reservoir in Woodward County, Oklahoma on or around the weekend of December 29-30th: I'm sure you don't give a damn, but I picked up all the empty shell boxes, used wet wipes, plastic bags, candy wrappers, pop cans and other assorted garbage you left strewn across the parking area this past weekend. You're welcome. That was right classy of you.

  • January 2, 2013

    Taking Your Old Gun Dog for Granted

    By Chad Love

    Sometimes, through poor planning, you find yourself in the unenviable position of having two dogs vie for the majority of your attention, but for very different reasons. Such is the case with me. I have a young setter pup that desperately needs as much wild bird contact as he can possibly get in his inaugural hunting season. But I also have an old retriever for whom it's looking more and more likely that this will be her penultimate full-time hunting season.

    So do I concentrate on grooming the young prospect, or do I honor the old-timer by giving her as much time as possible in the sunset of her career?