Shooting & Hunting Dog Tips

When a dog fails to find a bird you hit and saw fall, call the dog to heel and move around to the downwind side of the fall area and send it to retrieve from this new angle...

Field & Stream Online Editors

Shooting

Make Your Own Plug
If your shotgun's magazine doesn't have a plug to prevent it from holding more than two cartridges, you can make one using 1*2-inch-diameter wooden dowel. Measure the length of the magazine. Subtract 6 inches if your barrel is chambered for 23*4-inch shells; 61*2 inches for 3-inch shells; or 71*2 inches for 31*2-inch shells. Cut the dowel to the length of the remainder and sand it smooth. Unscrew the magazine's end cap and place the plug inside the coil spring.

Tips for Sighting
To sight in a rifle that is mounted with open sights, move the rear sight in the direction you want the bullet to go. Move the front sight in the opposite direction. If your sights have to be moved by tapping, use a nylon-tipped drift and a small hammer that won't damage the metal finish. And tap gently!

** To Bore-Sight**
To bore-sight a scope-mounted 12-gauge shotgun barrel, remove the primers from a spent 12-gauge shell and a spent 20-gauge shell. Put the open 12-gauge shell in the chamber and insert the open 20-gauge shell in the muzzle. Secure the barrel in a vise or sandbags. Sighting through the barrel, line up the primer holes on your target. Now, simply adjust the scope to put the crosshairs on the same spot.

Adjustable Rifle Sights
Mounting adjustable front and rear rifle sights on the ventilated rib of the shotgun you use for turkey hunting will allow you to center your shotgun's pattern exactly on target. Pattern your shotgun by shooting at a bull's-eye rifle target to see where your gun centers its pattern now.

Rising Birds
If you have trouble hitting rising birds, the problem may be your shotgun's stock: A stock that is too long tends to make you shoot low and restricts your ability to swing with a bird; a stock that's too short makes you shoot high. Have a gunsmith check your stock and adjust it to fit your physique.

Knocked Out Rifle Scope?
If your rifle scope is knocked out while you're hunting and you don't have access to a place where you can shoot at 100 yards, you can get a fair working zero at 25. If your bullet develops 2800 fps or better, sight it to hit dead center at 25 yards. Your bullets will hit just about dead-on at 100, and an inch or two low at 200. Beyond that, don't shoot.

Hitting Quail
If you have trouble hitting quail when a covey explodes into the air at once, don't shoot. Stand with your gun ready; then take a step or two. A few birds usually hold when the covey flushes and are easier to hit when th fly as singles, without the distraction of other targets all in the air at once. Hunting Dogs

** Teach Him New Tricks**
Don't try to teach a dog commands that you are not in a position to enforce. If you give a command and your dog ignores it, continuing to shout the command will only teach the dog that there are times when your commands mean nothing. Only attempt to teach commands when you have a check cord on the dog and can control its responses.

A Hot Dog
Your dog will perform better if you give it tasty rewards for obeying your commands instead of only punishing it for disobedience. Sliced hot dogs, carried in a small plastic bag, are ideal. Dogs love them and always want more. When your dog learns it can make hot dogs happen by obeying, you will see a marked improvement in its behavior.

Stay, Spot, Stay
When throwing objects for your dog to retrieve, don't let the dog retrieve every time. Frequently make the dog stay. Then walk out and pick up the thrown object yourself instead of sending the dog for it. The dog will recognize that sometimes it isn't sent to retrieve and will learn to wait for your command before it runs out. This will make it easier to keep the dog steady when you are hunting and the temptation for it to break is high.

Temperature vs. Retrieval
Scent rises when the earth's surface temperature is warmer than the air temperature, making it easier for bird dogs to catch bird scent from farther away and for hounds to trail game faster. When the soil temperature is cooler than the air, scent tends to cling to the earth. When that occurs, bird dogs must get closer to birds before they can locate them and hounds trail game more slowly.

Watch Your Dog's Eyes
When approaching a dog on point, pay attention to the dog's eyes. It will be looking at the spot where the scent is coming from. As you move toward that spot, try not to step between the dog and the bird, for doing so breaks the dog's connection with the scent and blocks its view. This may cause the dog to break point.

**A Hot Dog Might Work **
If your dog wants to hold on to objects it retrieves rather than letting you take them, have ready a food treat such as a slice of hot dog. Trading a food treat for a retrieved object will quickly help overcome the dog's reluctance to give up objects that it brings to you.

Teaching Your Pup to Sit
To teach a pup to sit, hold a treat over its head toward its back. The pup will follow your hand with its nose and will fall backward into a sitting position. Simultaneously, say "sit," and let the pup have the food reward. Repeat this procedure several times. Soon the pup will anticipate your action and sit as soon as you begin to extend your hand.

"Making Game"
When a bird dog breaks from a ground-eating lope and begins to circle, sniff, and show vigorous tail action, it is called "making game." When this happens, move close and advance with the dog so that you will be in position to act quickly when the dog locks up on point.

Catch That Scent
When a dog fails to find a bird you hit and saw fall, call the dog to heel and move around to the downwind side of the fall area and send it to retrieve from this new angle. When they move into the wind, dogs tend to sweep the area from side to side, and are more likely to catch the scent of fallen game.

Let the Dog Go Alone
When you knock a bird down, do not rush in with the dog to help find it. Instead, stay back a bit and let the dog do its job alone. Dogs often seem to shut off their noses when the area is all tracked up with human scent.nto a sitting position. Simultaneously, say "sit," and let the pup have the food reward. Repeat this procedure several times. Soon the pup will anticipate your action and sit as soon as you begin to extend your hand.

"Making Game"
When a bird dog breaks from a ground-eating lope and begins to circle, sniff, and show vigorous tail action, it is called "making game." When this happens, move close and advance with the dog so that you will be in position to act quickly when the dog locks up on point.

Catch That Scent
When a dog fails to find a bird you hit and saw fall, call the dog to heel and move around to the downwind side of the fall area and send it to retrieve from this new angle. When they move into the wind, dogs tend to sweep the area from side to side, and are more likely to catch the scent of fallen game.

Let the Dog Go Alone
When you knock a bird down, do not rush in with the dog to help find it. Instead, stay back a bit and let the dog do its job alone. Dogs often seem to shut off their noses when the area is all tracked up with human scent.