Bird dogs as a conservation tool
03/10/16 Filed in: 2016 Bird Hunting
Most hunters reading this blog might already use bird dogs to help them in their pursuit of upland birds. Not only is using a dog esthetically pleasing (i.e. the classic bird dog scene, where a faithful canine companion is coursing back and forth, in search of game in front of you), but taking upland game birds with a dog that you have trained over several years is immensely rewarding. Nevermind the countless numbers of birds that you'll find with a good dog working the cover thorougly, compared to the lone hunter on foot without a dog, or a group of hunters without a dog.
Another important point worth noting is how dogs help us recover birds that would undoubtedly be lost if not for their noses, thus bringing me to the conclusion that a well trained bird dog serves as a conservation tool, helping us recover wounded game that would be lost without their exemplary canine olfactory powers.
I had just such an occurrence today, as I winged a fast flying grouse that hurtled down the trail in front of me. It went down with the shot, but then I saw it scampering back in to the woods on my right. When Bode came in to search for it, he also seemingly lost its track and we searched aimlessly for fifteen minutes or so.
I was resigned to a lost bird, which is beyond excruciating for me, but then Bode bounded in to the cover on our left, and lo and behold … came happily out of the cover with the grouse in his mouth. He pranced, proud as a peacock, for a few minutes with that grouse in his mouth, circling me, and I praised him wholeheartedly. Apparently the grouse had run across the trail while we were in on the other side.
I never would have found that bird on my own, there is no doubt about that, and Bode made a lousy situation a great one with his fantastic nose.
Think of all of the grouse and woodcock that are needlessly lost without the help of a good bird dog!