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What Are the Biggest Duck Blind Sins a Gun Dog Can Make?

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November 20, 2009

What Are the Biggest Duck Blind Sins a Gun Dog Can Make?

By David DiBenedetto

I’m feverishly preparing for my first duck season with Pritch. (Getting her used to decoys. Practicing pulling her in small boat. Etc.) I’m not expecting miracles, just looking to have fun shooting over my dog.

But I’m well aware of the problems that an unfinished dog can cause in a duck blind. I can already tell you that as soon as the guns go off or the ducks swoop close, Pritch will be whimpering with excitement. Still, if that’s all I’ve got to contend with then the Good Lord will surely be smiling upon me this season.

I’m curious what you consider the deadliest of all duck blind sins for a dog. Do you care if your dog drops the duck at the water’s edge and not in your hand? Does an unsteady dog send you over the cattails? Are you a stickler for a dog that has to come back on a straight line? Or how about the dog that retrieves your decoys?

What’s the number one no-no for a dog in the blind?

Comments (17)

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from shane wrote 4 years 21 weeks ago

Come back on a straight line? Serious? Who cares? If you want straight lines, go in there yourself. Yeah. Didn't think so.

Some people ask way too much of their dogs, when the dog is already giving more than any human ever would.

+4 Good Comment? | | Report
from Dave DiBenedetto wrote 4 years 21 weeks ago

shane, I'm with ya on that one, but I've run into a fellow or two who wanted nothing but a good line. -D

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from rweedin wrote 4 years 21 weeks ago

I had an old French Brittany (I know she's a bird dog but she liked to teal hunt with me until the water got too cold) Anyway, birds come in, we shoot, 2 or 3 splash dead and the rest keep flying... She would just run off, chasing the flying birds. C'mon.

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from bigjake wrote 4 years 21 weeks ago

dogs that bark at incoming birds is a big nono.Refusing to release,or hard mouthing birds are also a very undesirable habits

+3 Good Comment? | | Report
from hengst wrote 4 years 21 weeks ago

My dog Sam loves the water he gets so blasted antsy it is almost funny. I take it pretty light He will get a downed bird and after swinning in circles for a while (happy) he brings the bird back. He does on occasion grab a decoy and gets so caught up in swimming he is almost deaf or ignores me like my wife does lol. But I still love taking him as long as he doesn't start farting that is the #1 sin. Besides with being in Iraq all the time he does pretty good for the amount of training I have given him.

+3 Good Comment? | | Report
from kelmitch wrote 4 years 21 weeks ago

I guess if I were to field trial straight lines would be very important to me also for multiple retrieves,blind retrieves(which I hear happenes often duck hunting).Chances are if the dog cant retrieve in a straight line casting in straight lines is also out of the question.You cant expect a dog to retrieve multiple blind retrieves if it cant cast or retrieve in straight lines.The dog goes were we cant with boat,waiders,or even upland and we dont want to leave wounded or dead foul in the wetlands or even upland.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from OTMBoykins wrote 4 years 21 weeks ago

I think at this point the biggest no-nos would be things you do.
Leave your gun at home for the first hunt and show your dog what you expect.
Secondly, pup needs to be sleeping outside now. It is unfair for you to bring pup out to retrieve ducks in cold water when he has been conditioned to 68 degrees in the house.

Thirdly, don't go there and yell at your dog the whole time. It won't be fun for you or Pritch. Leaving your gun at home and letting others shoot will help you control the situation.

I agree with some of the other posts about behavior. A dog that barks at the birds or that starts the retrieve without being told to do so is not fun to hunt with. An agressive dog is not fun to hunt with (my dog was jumped by a female who thought the duck was hers).

Have fun and enjoy the beauty of the hunt.

John

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from Ontario Honker ... wrote 4 years 21 weeks ago

Straight line retrieves is not important except for showboat owners. A lot of young dogs will drop the bird at water's edge. Don't worry too much about that. Eventually they'll bring in a lively cripple that will scoot off everytime they drop it. Dog will figure out she's got to get it to you or it will keep getting away.

I don't do a lot of water blind hunting. It can be tough on the dog, especially with my house dogs. I do love to hunt with them over decoys on a field. Or jump shoot creeks and dugouts. Jump shooting keeps the dog moving and they can keep hunting even in extreme sub-zero weather. For those who want to hunt primarily over water, I would heartily recommend starting a pup hunting in a field over deeks. You can start them much younger, even before they are swimming. And they easily translate field deeks to water deeks when they start hunting on the water. One of the difficulties starting pups over water deeks is they relate them to the training dummy. A lot of dogs have trouble being steady when they start out hunting. A lot of this is immature exhuberance that will fade with discouragement (often disappear in the first outing). For a dog that just can't sit still or wants to bark as the birds come in ... I guess an e-collar might help if nothing else works. Usually, those dogs are either semi-neglected fulltime kennel/run residents or the wrong breed/breeding.

Bolting after the shots is also common. I have never been too concerned about this. Probably should be more concerned than I am. Sometimes geese will swing back around if a leader has been knocked down. Sometimes they do this even if the dogs are in the deeks chasing a downed bird. Sometimes the flock is scared off. And the dogs have been in a better situation to make a successful retrieve if they have bolted after the birds. This is especially true for pheasants or geese that sustain minor damage and finally drop quite a ways off. If the dogs aren't on top of a pheasant that falls in the stinky sagebrush we might lose it. Same with geese that fall in the alfalfa a few fields over. I think it's more important for dogs in a blind over water to refrain from bolting. Don't want the dog getting unnecessarily wet especially on very cold days. It's too hard on them. Guess I would say that this is the #1 no-no. Second on the list is dogs that crunch the birds. Sorry, no advice on that. My dogs have always been beyond that. Right from conception.

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from Ontario Honker ... wrote 4 years 21 weeks ago

Incidentally, Canadian federal law now dictates that the hunter MUST use EVERY MEANS at his/her disposal to IMMEDIATELY retrieve and, if necessary, dispatch a downed waterfowl. So, it appears it would be illegal for me to restrain my dogs from bolting if a bird has fallen in the deeks and the flock is circling back. Can't object to that.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from Quackwacker wrote 4 years 21 weeks ago

Dave,
A dog that breaks before I release him makes me madder than anything. We were in Ark once and had 100 mallards bout to drop in the hole when a buddies dog broke at the first on that fell in. 100 mallards left with out a single shot. I want my dogs to be steady to the shot and only leave when I release them!

Also a good dove shoot can turn bad by a dog that want listen and trys and retrieves everyones birds! Then the owner screams at him all day and the dog never listens.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from Ontario Honker ... wrote 4 years 21 weeks ago

Quackwhacker, I have never hunted doves so can't quite figure out what your beef was in the incident described. The dog WAS NOT supposed to retrieve the birds? My dogs will pick up some other guys' birds if they're set up too close to me, but that's never been a problem. I keep the birds in a separate pile and return them once the flights settle down. The other guys have always done the same thing if my birds fall down over next to them. We meet, exchange birds and handshakes and then go our merry way. I mean, what's the fun in keeping someone else's birds? Fills your bag up early and then you have to go home and clean them. Only an idiot would enjoy that. Hey, if someone else wants to hog my birds, I could care less for the same reason. Means I get to stay out there longer and shoot more birds. Yay!

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from Dave DiBenedetto wrote 4 years 21 weeks ago

OTMBoykins-- As you know, I left my gun at home for Pritch's first dove hunt and plan to do the same for first few duck hunts. It's good advice. As for having fun, you can bet I'll do that. I figure anything Pritch does wrong is only a reflection on my training not on her. She's just a pup in my eyes...I'm probably way too forgiving, as is. Just ask Pam.

Quack-- I hear you. And have to agree. A dog that breaks early might be the biggest no-no...except for those that, as Ontariohunter mentions, eat the birds on the way back...crunch. But that's a longer story...

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from sihunter wrote 4 years 21 weeks ago

Steady to shot,no barking. Behavior that flares birds is a no no. Know who your hunting with and what they'll tolerant. I hate hearing some guy yelling at his dog all the time or blowing on a whistle when hunting public ground. Sometime the handlers more obnoxious than the dog.

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from Quackwacker wrote 4 years 21 weeks ago

Honker,

I want my dog to retrieve my birds no some dog that the owner cant control. My dog shouldnt have to sit and watch because some guy didnt put in the hours to train his dog.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from Ontario Honker ... wrote 4 years 21 weeks ago

Quackmaster, I think I understand now. It was difficult for me to figure out because I almost always hunt alone and very, very rarely with or around dogs other than my own. Obviously, breaking after downed birds is not going to be an issue in that situation. I did pheasant hunt with some other guys this past fall and one of their dogs was totally out of control. Cost us at least one bag limit (maybe two) in the first half hour. And it didn't get better. Also crunched a hen that it caught. That was a major problem and could have cost its owner some big bucks (no question that he had to put it in the bag and take it home). I also went pheasant hunting with a gent who had a wonderful setter. My poor labs could not understand why that dog should be able to run all over the place but they couldn't. Wasn't easy getting it sorted out (especially because it was the first day hunting) but in the end the experience was very educational for them and me. Thankfully, Dale was a patient fellow.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from benellireaper wrote 4 years 18 weeks ago

#1 sin of a gun dog in a duck blind in my opinion is being out of control. dog should be steady to shot and not be jumping around the blind,this is not only distracting but dangerous( loaded guns,heater,ect)

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from ScottyBee wrote 2 years 7 weeks ago

That's simple, it's when they run after the very first duck that's killed when you're still shooting at the flock. Stay put boy! We'll tell ya when to leave. www.duckcommander.com has some pretty good dog clips in their videos. Good if you're training I guess.

0 Good Comment? | | Report

Post a Comment

from shane wrote 4 years 21 weeks ago

Come back on a straight line? Serious? Who cares? If you want straight lines, go in there yourself. Yeah. Didn't think so.

Some people ask way too much of their dogs, when the dog is already giving more than any human ever would.

+4 Good Comment? | | Report
from bigjake wrote 4 years 21 weeks ago

dogs that bark at incoming birds is a big nono.Refusing to release,or hard mouthing birds are also a very undesirable habits

+3 Good Comment? | | Report
from hengst wrote 4 years 21 weeks ago

My dog Sam loves the water he gets so blasted antsy it is almost funny. I take it pretty light He will get a downed bird and after swinning in circles for a while (happy) he brings the bird back. He does on occasion grab a decoy and gets so caught up in swimming he is almost deaf or ignores me like my wife does lol. But I still love taking him as long as he doesn't start farting that is the #1 sin. Besides with being in Iraq all the time he does pretty good for the amount of training I have given him.

+3 Good Comment? | | Report
from Dave DiBenedetto wrote 4 years 21 weeks ago

shane, I'm with ya on that one, but I've run into a fellow or two who wanted nothing but a good line. -D

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from rweedin wrote 4 years 21 weeks ago

I had an old French Brittany (I know she's a bird dog but she liked to teal hunt with me until the water got too cold) Anyway, birds come in, we shoot, 2 or 3 splash dead and the rest keep flying... She would just run off, chasing the flying birds. C'mon.

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from Ontario Honker ... wrote 4 years 21 weeks ago

Straight line retrieves is not important except for showboat owners. A lot of young dogs will drop the bird at water's edge. Don't worry too much about that. Eventually they'll bring in a lively cripple that will scoot off everytime they drop it. Dog will figure out she's got to get it to you or it will keep getting away.

I don't do a lot of water blind hunting. It can be tough on the dog, especially with my house dogs. I do love to hunt with them over decoys on a field. Or jump shoot creeks and dugouts. Jump shooting keeps the dog moving and they can keep hunting even in extreme sub-zero weather. For those who want to hunt primarily over water, I would heartily recommend starting a pup hunting in a field over deeks. You can start them much younger, even before they are swimming. And they easily translate field deeks to water deeks when they start hunting on the water. One of the difficulties starting pups over water deeks is they relate them to the training dummy. A lot of dogs have trouble being steady when they start out hunting. A lot of this is immature exhuberance that will fade with discouragement (often disappear in the first outing). For a dog that just can't sit still or wants to bark as the birds come in ... I guess an e-collar might help if nothing else works. Usually, those dogs are either semi-neglected fulltime kennel/run residents or the wrong breed/breeding.

Bolting after the shots is also common. I have never been too concerned about this. Probably should be more concerned than I am. Sometimes geese will swing back around if a leader has been knocked down. Sometimes they do this even if the dogs are in the deeks chasing a downed bird. Sometimes the flock is scared off. And the dogs have been in a better situation to make a successful retrieve if they have bolted after the birds. This is especially true for pheasants or geese that sustain minor damage and finally drop quite a ways off. If the dogs aren't on top of a pheasant that falls in the stinky sagebrush we might lose it. Same with geese that fall in the alfalfa a few fields over. I think it's more important for dogs in a blind over water to refrain from bolting. Don't want the dog getting unnecessarily wet especially on very cold days. It's too hard on them. Guess I would say that this is the #1 no-no. Second on the list is dogs that crunch the birds. Sorry, no advice on that. My dogs have always been beyond that. Right from conception.

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from Dave DiBenedetto wrote 4 years 21 weeks ago

OTMBoykins-- As you know, I left my gun at home for Pritch's first dove hunt and plan to do the same for first few duck hunts. It's good advice. As for having fun, you can bet I'll do that. I figure anything Pritch does wrong is only a reflection on my training not on her. She's just a pup in my eyes...I'm probably way too forgiving, as is. Just ask Pam.

Quack-- I hear you. And have to agree. A dog that breaks early might be the biggest no-no...except for those that, as Ontariohunter mentions, eat the birds on the way back...crunch. But that's a longer story...

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from sihunter wrote 4 years 21 weeks ago

Steady to shot,no barking. Behavior that flares birds is a no no. Know who your hunting with and what they'll tolerant. I hate hearing some guy yelling at his dog all the time or blowing on a whistle when hunting public ground. Sometime the handlers more obnoxious than the dog.

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from kelmitch wrote 4 years 21 weeks ago

I guess if I were to field trial straight lines would be very important to me also for multiple retrieves,blind retrieves(which I hear happenes often duck hunting).Chances are if the dog cant retrieve in a straight line casting in straight lines is also out of the question.You cant expect a dog to retrieve multiple blind retrieves if it cant cast or retrieve in straight lines.The dog goes were we cant with boat,waiders,or even upland and we dont want to leave wounded or dead foul in the wetlands or even upland.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from OTMBoykins wrote 4 years 21 weeks ago

I think at this point the biggest no-nos would be things you do.
Leave your gun at home for the first hunt and show your dog what you expect.
Secondly, pup needs to be sleeping outside now. It is unfair for you to bring pup out to retrieve ducks in cold water when he has been conditioned to 68 degrees in the house.

Thirdly, don't go there and yell at your dog the whole time. It won't be fun for you or Pritch. Leaving your gun at home and letting others shoot will help you control the situation.

I agree with some of the other posts about behavior. A dog that barks at the birds or that starts the retrieve without being told to do so is not fun to hunt with. An agressive dog is not fun to hunt with (my dog was jumped by a female who thought the duck was hers).

Have fun and enjoy the beauty of the hunt.

John

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from Ontario Honker ... wrote 4 years 21 weeks ago

Incidentally, Canadian federal law now dictates that the hunter MUST use EVERY MEANS at his/her disposal to IMMEDIATELY retrieve and, if necessary, dispatch a downed waterfowl. So, it appears it would be illegal for me to restrain my dogs from bolting if a bird has fallen in the deeks and the flock is circling back. Can't object to that.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from Quackwacker wrote 4 years 21 weeks ago

Dave,
A dog that breaks before I release him makes me madder than anything. We were in Ark once and had 100 mallards bout to drop in the hole when a buddies dog broke at the first on that fell in. 100 mallards left with out a single shot. I want my dogs to be steady to the shot and only leave when I release them!

Also a good dove shoot can turn bad by a dog that want listen and trys and retrieves everyones birds! Then the owner screams at him all day and the dog never listens.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from Ontario Honker ... wrote 4 years 21 weeks ago

Quackwhacker, I have never hunted doves so can't quite figure out what your beef was in the incident described. The dog WAS NOT supposed to retrieve the birds? My dogs will pick up some other guys' birds if they're set up too close to me, but that's never been a problem. I keep the birds in a separate pile and return them once the flights settle down. The other guys have always done the same thing if my birds fall down over next to them. We meet, exchange birds and handshakes and then go our merry way. I mean, what's the fun in keeping someone else's birds? Fills your bag up early and then you have to go home and clean them. Only an idiot would enjoy that. Hey, if someone else wants to hog my birds, I could care less for the same reason. Means I get to stay out there longer and shoot more birds. Yay!

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from Quackwacker wrote 4 years 21 weeks ago

Honker,

I want my dog to retrieve my birds no some dog that the owner cant control. My dog shouldnt have to sit and watch because some guy didnt put in the hours to train his dog.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from Ontario Honker ... wrote 4 years 21 weeks ago

Quackmaster, I think I understand now. It was difficult for me to figure out because I almost always hunt alone and very, very rarely with or around dogs other than my own. Obviously, breaking after downed birds is not going to be an issue in that situation. I did pheasant hunt with some other guys this past fall and one of their dogs was totally out of control. Cost us at least one bag limit (maybe two) in the first half hour. And it didn't get better. Also crunched a hen that it caught. That was a major problem and could have cost its owner some big bucks (no question that he had to put it in the bag and take it home). I also went pheasant hunting with a gent who had a wonderful setter. My poor labs could not understand why that dog should be able to run all over the place but they couldn't. Wasn't easy getting it sorted out (especially because it was the first day hunting) but in the end the experience was very educational for them and me. Thankfully, Dale was a patient fellow.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from benellireaper wrote 4 years 18 weeks ago

#1 sin of a gun dog in a duck blind in my opinion is being out of control. dog should be steady to shot and not be jumping around the blind,this is not only distracting but dangerous( loaded guns,heater,ect)

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from ScottyBee wrote 2 years 7 weeks ago

That's simple, it's when they run after the very first duck that's killed when you're still shooting at the flock. Stay put boy! We'll tell ya when to leave. www.duckcommander.com has some pretty good dog clips in their videos. Good if you're training I guess.

0 Good Comment? | | Report

Post a Comment

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