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Dove Hunts: How To Answer the "Can I Bring My Dog?" Question

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August 28, 2013

Dove Hunts: How To Answer the "Can I Bring My Dog?" Question

By Phil Bourjaily

With dove seasons opening and the rest on the way, hunters and their dogs are off the couch and back in the field. If you are putting together a hunt, you will have to face the question: “Can I bring my dog?” Eddie Nickens passed along this answer, which is, I think, the final word on the question. Here’s Eddie:
 
As my buddy Harold Cooley was planning on annual Southern-style dove hunt, he was asked if he would mind letting a few hunters bring along their dogs. Cooley wasn’t so sure about that, so he tossed the question over to his pal Lee Holder, a dog man, as they say around here, from the word “go.”
 
Holder’s response is near scriptural. For all of you dog owners thinking that a day in the dove fields—or duck blinds—is just what the doctor ordered for a pooch that’s been hanging out in the family playroom for the last 8 months, listen to these words of Southern wisdom.
  --T. Edward Nickens
 
Dear Harold--
 
A man with a trained dog who is allowed to bring the dog on your dove hunt will be a very, very happy man. He will have exponentially more fun than any other man there.
 
The man with the trained dog will delight in helping those around him find their birds. His trained dog will be a blessing to the other guys in the field.  
 
A man with a ½ trained dog ( or less)  will appreciate the opportunity to help his dog learn from this hunt, because he likes having his dog by his side. Sadly, he will be the only one who likes having his dog there.
 
A ½ trained dog runs across the field at ½ the birds that fall--yours, mine or anybody’s. His owner hollers. Now his owner is very embarrassed for everyone has now seen this disobedient dog he hasn’t trained. His owner wishes he never subjected those around him to this distraction from their hunt. His owner is convinced at each incident that the next time the lesson will have “taken” and the obedience and retrieve will be much better.
 
Likely it won’t. It is just too much wonderful excitement for the dog. This is heaven for the dog, but the owner hasn’t had enough private prayer sessions with the dog yet, and the whole experience is far from heaven for anybody but that dog.
 
Loving Christian men will feel and show mercy and grace. As part of their very nature they will plead with the Lord to help the man and his dog. The other part of their nature, the virile hopeful harvester, is muttering something ugly under his breath every time the dog breaks and the man hollers.
 
I pray that this treatise be termed discernment from 40 years in the good Lord’s dove fields. I pray it is not being judgmental.
 
He who has ears, let him hear.
 
Git down, heah dey come
 
--Bubba

 

Comments (16)

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from jjas wrote 33 weeks 1 day ago

If you don't want someone to bring their dog(s), a simple no should suffice.....

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from Anhinga wrote 33 weeks 1 day ago

Dove hunting is not "gentleman Bob" hunting. It's dove 'shooting'. Let the "wild", half trained, dogs run, let the dove shooting commence and have a good time. The "wild" dogs will run down quickly in the September heat heat. A "purist dove hunt" is an oxymoron in my opinion. Be safe, have fun, burn lots of powder and maybe get a limit of doves for dinner. My opinion.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from MReeder wrote 33 weeks 1 day ago

Have to side with Holder on this one. The only way an unsteady dog should be part of a dove hunt is if it's kept fully restrained, and that's really not a very good deal for the dog or the guy trying to hunt with him. I know; I've been there. You feel bad about leaving pup at home, but you feel a lot worse when you see him suffering from heat and over excitement and you find yourself spending more time tending to the dog than shooting. Letting him run wild may sound harmless, but all the pup's doing is ingraining bad habits and risking running into a column of shot from some other quarter of the field. Better to have him steady and locked into "whoa" and "stay." That's when he becomes a joy to have along, rather than an enormous pain in the keister...

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from Tim Platt wrote 33 weeks 1 day ago

Where I come from you don't bring your dog to someone else's hunt unless they ask. There are very few well trained obedient dogs when the guns are firing and birds falling everywhere. It is common courtesy. Dove hunts down south are more of a social event than a hunt anyway.

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from Safado wrote 33 weeks 1 day ago

True southern wisdom. Well said!

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from Teodoro wrote 33 weeks 1 day ago

Phil - I'm planning to hit a public area for doves sans dog on Monday. What's the protocol for retrieving dead doves?

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from philbourjaily wrote 33 weeks 1 day ago

Teodoro -- Someone else who hunts crowded public areas will have to help with this one. it's been so long since I have that I don't remember, but I think you retrieve your bird right away. So far I have managed to dodge the crowds when I have hunted public areas in Iowa. Doves blend into even the shortest cover so well you risk losing them if you don't pick them up as soon as they fall.

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from Tim Platt wrote 33 weeks 1 day ago

In public areas you pick up any dove you see fall. First man there is the shooter, sad but true from my experience. Phil is right, retrieve your bird right away, and take your dog to harass the other hunters just to give you a little personal space.

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from keithjoyner wrote 33 weeks 21 hours ago

If I can't bring my dog, I'll hunt somewhere else. It's just a dove hunt for crying out loud. You don't even have to wear camouflage unless you're really gung ho. No dog = lost birds. Lost birds = poor hunter. It's not like a goose hunt, it's just a DOVE hunt! I'm taking not just my dog, but BOTH of my dogs. That wisdom you quoted sounds more like a fellow who runs a duck club, and there I'd definitely agree with him.

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from Dcast wrote 33 weeks 20 hours ago

I agree with this completely. If you are invited on a hunt you need to realize this was an invitation/privilege and if your dog is not fully trained then you should not bring it along or even consider asking. I myself would not care personally I look at it as a training lesson I suppose. However if the dog and owner are out the whole hunt running the field ruining my hunt and the others I would be thoroughly upset.

People should be more considerate, if you bring your kid or dog to any public or private event, place, etc... and they are being disruptive you should remove them and yourself immediately. I have two young kids and I do this all the time, if they even start to cause a scene I remove myself and them to a private area pronto. This should hold true with your pets also. The key is you being considerate to those around you!

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from Treestand wrote 33 weeks 16 hours ago

We have 40 Acres of planted Millet Dove field its by draw only, Who draws (10 men)opening day must wait 3 days before the first 10 men can hunt again,total of 30 Members hunt "No Dogs"Dove Season runs 30 days on our lease, Not all Doves are Found.some members at end of day try out their dogs but most dogs don't like picking up Doves.

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from Del in KS wrote 32 weeks 6 days ago

My old Brittany Belle was the life of the party at our public dove field. She would go into thickets a rabbit couldn't traverse and come out with your dove in her mouth every time. My current GSH is a great upland dog but we don't take her for dove because she doesn't like to pick them up. This year I will be taking a kid dove hunting for his first time. Suggest you guys give the same a try it can be much fun.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from FSU70 wrote 32 weeks 6 days ago

Not sure where Anhinga has done his dove hunting but in southeast Georgia and South Carolina you and your dog are expected to be a gentleman on the field and to know what you are doing. Several years ago I was given an opportunity to take a friends slot on an invited dove hunt in Burke County, Georgia. My friend made it very clear to me that my dog had to behave and not go to chasing and runing. That there were men on that field that had very well trained dogs and they expected you to control your dog and for your dog to act accordingly. I had a young Lab I was training and she did pretty good but she broke a few times on birds that were not hers and I had to "fetch her up." I would apologize to anyone who's stand she was near as her disturbance was flaring birds away from them. I got my limit and got the heck off that field. Went to the Gentleman that had planted the field and apologized for my dog. He was very gracious but I knew then that was not going to happen to me on a dove field again in the future. I work hard and pay good money to be in a dove club and to hunt dove fields, No one should expect to put up with others who are lacking in respect for other hunters.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from Ontario Honker ... wrote 32 weeks 5 days ago

I probably wouldn't go dove hunting if someone invited me. Not into the social hunting thing. At all. But that's just me. And I definitely don't hunt anywhere for anything these days without my dogs.

My dogs aren't perfect. They break at shot and I really don't care. Never have. Anyway, seems to me the doves would care less if the dogs are running around the field. I mean look at the hunters. They're standing out in the open with white shirts and blue jeans on. In a bird's eyes that's pretty much like wearing a neon sign. Doesn't seem to make much difference to them. They're going to go where they're going to go and if you're in the way, you get shooting. If not, move and get in their way. So who really gives a sh*t if the dog is running around? Not the birds obviously. Only the snobby overweight arsholes with their fancy guns. Now, for goose hunting in the field, it's a different story. When hunting from layout blinds one does not want the dog breaking in front of shooters. So I don't hunt from layout blinds. After the first couple of hours my dogs know where they are supposed to be when the honkers come. If they're out playing in the field (yes, I let them do that when traffic slows down) then suddenly come running in and park their butts in the hedgerow cover, I know geese are coming even if I can't hear them yet.

Anyway, it seems to me that dove hunting is a good opportunity to work the bugs out early in the season and everyone should acknowledge it and be patient. Lighten up and have a good time socializing. Seems that's what dove hunting is supposed to be about. Even if a dog could screw up the hunting what are you missing? A couple of infinitesimally tiny birds? Almost seems a blessing to me not to have to bother cleaning them. Taking dove hunting seriously almost seems an oxymoron. But that's just me I guess.

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from Ontario Honker ... wrote 32 weeks 5 days ago

And who the hell cares if someone else's dog picks up the birds they have shot? Pfffft! As long as the bird gets picked up that's the important thing. If that guy happens to stick my bird in his bag, then it just means I can shoot longer to fill mine. Let that fool clean em if he wants em. When hunting boils down to a bunch of fancy rules to have fun, I think I'd rather be playing cards ... with myself.

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from FSU70 wrote 31 weeks 6 days ago

Well Ontario, you are a Honker. Substitue dove for where you have placed goose for goose hunting and place goose where you have placed dove. Then re-read your statement and see if the lack of respect for someone else's hunting interest still sounds like over weight, snobish arse's ?
Good hunting sportsmanship is practised according to any hunting not just on the particular game you like to hunt. It is apparent that you lack not only social grace's but an understanding of dove hunting. Yes, opening day you can get away with white shirts, running dogs and moving around but after a few dove hunts the dumb one's are in the freezer and the smart ones are the ones that are left. You won't be shooting many of those if you commit all the travisties that you mentioned above just like you wouldn't get any geese if you showed up in a white shirt, your dog running loose. etc.
You obviously don't know much about a season of dove hunting and don't much care. That's fine, but to trash another man's sport is like the old saying goes "rather to remain silent and thought a fool then speak and remove all doubt" You've left no doubt. So I think you should take your own advice and just play cards.

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from Tim Platt wrote 33 weeks 1 day ago

Where I come from you don't bring your dog to someone else's hunt unless they ask. There are very few well trained obedient dogs when the guns are firing and birds falling everywhere. It is common courtesy. Dove hunts down south are more of a social event than a hunt anyway.

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from jjas wrote 33 weeks 1 day ago

If you don't want someone to bring their dog(s), a simple no should suffice.....

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from Anhinga wrote 33 weeks 1 day ago

Dove hunting is not "gentleman Bob" hunting. It's dove 'shooting'. Let the "wild", half trained, dogs run, let the dove shooting commence and have a good time. The "wild" dogs will run down quickly in the September heat heat. A "purist dove hunt" is an oxymoron in my opinion. Be safe, have fun, burn lots of powder and maybe get a limit of doves for dinner. My opinion.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from FSU70 wrote 32 weeks 6 days ago

Not sure where Anhinga has done his dove hunting but in southeast Georgia and South Carolina you and your dog are expected to be a gentleman on the field and to know what you are doing. Several years ago I was given an opportunity to take a friends slot on an invited dove hunt in Burke County, Georgia. My friend made it very clear to me that my dog had to behave and not go to chasing and runing. That there were men on that field that had very well trained dogs and they expected you to control your dog and for your dog to act accordingly. I had a young Lab I was training and she did pretty good but she broke a few times on birds that were not hers and I had to "fetch her up." I would apologize to anyone who's stand she was near as her disturbance was flaring birds away from them. I got my limit and got the heck off that field. Went to the Gentleman that had planted the field and apologized for my dog. He was very gracious but I knew then that was not going to happen to me on a dove field again in the future. I work hard and pay good money to be in a dove club and to hunt dove fields, No one should expect to put up with others who are lacking in respect for other hunters.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from MReeder wrote 33 weeks 1 day ago

Have to side with Holder on this one. The only way an unsteady dog should be part of a dove hunt is if it's kept fully restrained, and that's really not a very good deal for the dog or the guy trying to hunt with him. I know; I've been there. You feel bad about leaving pup at home, but you feel a lot worse when you see him suffering from heat and over excitement and you find yourself spending more time tending to the dog than shooting. Letting him run wild may sound harmless, but all the pup's doing is ingraining bad habits and risking running into a column of shot from some other quarter of the field. Better to have him steady and locked into "whoa" and "stay." That's when he becomes a joy to have along, rather than an enormous pain in the keister...

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Safado wrote 33 weeks 1 day ago

True southern wisdom. Well said!

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Teodoro wrote 33 weeks 1 day ago

Phil - I'm planning to hit a public area for doves sans dog on Monday. What's the protocol for retrieving dead doves?

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from philbourjaily wrote 33 weeks 1 day ago

Teodoro -- Someone else who hunts crowded public areas will have to help with this one. it's been so long since I have that I don't remember, but I think you retrieve your bird right away. So far I have managed to dodge the crowds when I have hunted public areas in Iowa. Doves blend into even the shortest cover so well you risk losing them if you don't pick them up as soon as they fall.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Tim Platt wrote 33 weeks 1 day ago

In public areas you pick up any dove you see fall. First man there is the shooter, sad but true from my experience. Phil is right, retrieve your bird right away, and take your dog to harass the other hunters just to give you a little personal space.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from keithjoyner wrote 33 weeks 21 hours ago

If I can't bring my dog, I'll hunt somewhere else. It's just a dove hunt for crying out loud. You don't even have to wear camouflage unless you're really gung ho. No dog = lost birds. Lost birds = poor hunter. It's not like a goose hunt, it's just a DOVE hunt! I'm taking not just my dog, but BOTH of my dogs. That wisdom you quoted sounds more like a fellow who runs a duck club, and there I'd definitely agree with him.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Dcast wrote 33 weeks 20 hours ago

I agree with this completely. If you are invited on a hunt you need to realize this was an invitation/privilege and if your dog is not fully trained then you should not bring it along or even consider asking. I myself would not care personally I look at it as a training lesson I suppose. However if the dog and owner are out the whole hunt running the field ruining my hunt and the others I would be thoroughly upset.

People should be more considerate, if you bring your kid or dog to any public or private event, place, etc... and they are being disruptive you should remove them and yourself immediately. I have two young kids and I do this all the time, if they even start to cause a scene I remove myself and them to a private area pronto. This should hold true with your pets also. The key is you being considerate to those around you!

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Treestand wrote 33 weeks 16 hours ago

We have 40 Acres of planted Millet Dove field its by draw only, Who draws (10 men)opening day must wait 3 days before the first 10 men can hunt again,total of 30 Members hunt "No Dogs"Dove Season runs 30 days on our lease, Not all Doves are Found.some members at end of day try out their dogs but most dogs don't like picking up Doves.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Del in KS wrote 32 weeks 6 days ago

My old Brittany Belle was the life of the party at our public dove field. She would go into thickets a rabbit couldn't traverse and come out with your dove in her mouth every time. My current GSH is a great upland dog but we don't take her for dove because she doesn't like to pick them up. This year I will be taking a kid dove hunting for his first time. Suggest you guys give the same a try it can be much fun.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Ontario Honker ... wrote 32 weeks 5 days ago

I probably wouldn't go dove hunting if someone invited me. Not into the social hunting thing. At all. But that's just me. And I definitely don't hunt anywhere for anything these days without my dogs.

My dogs aren't perfect. They break at shot and I really don't care. Never have. Anyway, seems to me the doves would care less if the dogs are running around the field. I mean look at the hunters. They're standing out in the open with white shirts and blue jeans on. In a bird's eyes that's pretty much like wearing a neon sign. Doesn't seem to make much difference to them. They're going to go where they're going to go and if you're in the way, you get shooting. If not, move and get in their way. So who really gives a sh*t if the dog is running around? Not the birds obviously. Only the snobby overweight arsholes with their fancy guns. Now, for goose hunting in the field, it's a different story. When hunting from layout blinds one does not want the dog breaking in front of shooters. So I don't hunt from layout blinds. After the first couple of hours my dogs know where they are supposed to be when the honkers come. If they're out playing in the field (yes, I let them do that when traffic slows down) then suddenly come running in and park their butts in the hedgerow cover, I know geese are coming even if I can't hear them yet.

Anyway, it seems to me that dove hunting is a good opportunity to work the bugs out early in the season and everyone should acknowledge it and be patient. Lighten up and have a good time socializing. Seems that's what dove hunting is supposed to be about. Even if a dog could screw up the hunting what are you missing? A couple of infinitesimally tiny birds? Almost seems a blessing to me not to have to bother cleaning them. Taking dove hunting seriously almost seems an oxymoron. But that's just me I guess.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Ontario Honker ... wrote 32 weeks 5 days ago

And who the hell cares if someone else's dog picks up the birds they have shot? Pfffft! As long as the bird gets picked up that's the important thing. If that guy happens to stick my bird in his bag, then it just means I can shoot longer to fill mine. Let that fool clean em if he wants em. When hunting boils down to a bunch of fancy rules to have fun, I think I'd rather be playing cards ... with myself.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from FSU70 wrote 31 weeks 6 days ago

Well Ontario, you are a Honker. Substitue dove for where you have placed goose for goose hunting and place goose where you have placed dove. Then re-read your statement and see if the lack of respect for someone else's hunting interest still sounds like over weight, snobish arse's ?
Good hunting sportsmanship is practised according to any hunting not just on the particular game you like to hunt. It is apparent that you lack not only social grace's but an understanding of dove hunting. Yes, opening day you can get away with white shirts, running dogs and moving around but after a few dove hunts the dumb one's are in the freezer and the smart ones are the ones that are left. You won't be shooting many of those if you commit all the travisties that you mentioned above just like you wouldn't get any geese if you showed up in a white shirt, your dog running loose. etc.
You obviously don't know much about a season of dove hunting and don't much care. That's fine, but to trash another man's sport is like the old saying goes "rather to remain silent and thought a fool then speak and remove all doubt" You've left no doubt. So I think you should take your own advice and just play cards.

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