I can’t believe it is already July 21st. In a little over a month I will be waiting for the sun to come up over a field in North Texas. As my plans get finalized, I thought I would put together a checklist to get you ahead of the pack come opening day.
- Determine where you are going to hunt. It may be that you go to the same place every year, but if not, make this choice within the next two weeks.
- Scout, scout, scout. Did I mention scout? Probably the most important item on the list. By beginning early you will allow yourself time to find another lease if your first choice turns out to be a dud. For more tips on scouting go here.
- Practice. If it has been a while since you shot anything but a coral snake in the front yard (took me three rounds), it would be wise to squeeze in a few rounds of skeet. Shooting skeet works out the bugs that can develop after a few months of inactivity. I might also mention that shooting skeet really gets your engines revving for opening day. For some tips on shotgunning go here.
- Make the necessary purchases. Things like a hunting license, public land permit, your lease, shells, mosquito spray, shooting glasses, ear plugs, and any new accessories you would like to add to your arsenal. By starting early, you can spread the expenses out over a few pay checks, instead of postponing September’s mortgage payment.
- Lodging arrangements. Don’t wait to the last minute on this one or else you might be crashing in your pickup. If you are hunting with a dog, make sure where you stay allows them. It can get expensive if they don’t.
- Exercise fido. If your dog has laid around for eight or ten months, you probably want to break out the old decoy and get him a little exercise before you ask him to go retrieve in the 100 degree weather.
- Clean your shotgun. For me this is a night before ritual, but it definitely needs to be done. A cleaned and oiled shotgun performs much better than one that hasn’t been taken care of.
If you knock these things out early, all you will have to think about the night before is who is going to get their limit first.
When you think about it, there is a lot of items that need to be accumulated to have a successful dove hunt. I’ve made a checklist to help make sure you don’t forget anything before opening day. Print it, and check it off before you leave, you’ll be happy you did.
- Place to hunt
- Place to stay
- Spare Shotgun (just in case)
- Gun oil
- Hunting license
- Dog kennel
- Electric collar
- Dog treats
- Dog’s water bottle & water
- Dog food
- Camo clothes
- Hunting boots
- Shell bag
- Game bag
- Shooting glasses
- Ear plugs
- Extra clothes
- Snacks for the field
- Water bottle for the field
- Cooler for birds
- Cooler for drinks and food
- Mosquito spray
An electric collar can be an effective tool when training your hunting dog. E-collars can be used to reinforce commands and keep your hunting dog from getting into a bad spot. Today’s collars have many features and levels of stimulation to help control your dog in any situation. Remember, e-collars are only a tool, not the only way to train your dog. Your dog should have a basic grasp of the simplest commands before introducing them to the collar. After introducing the collar , use it to aid in training, not hurt your dog. The combination collars that have both stimulation and beep, are extremely helpful with training. Select a model that fits your dog and is easy to use and you’ll have much less stress on your next dove hunt. Your hunting dog will be right beside you, doing what the both of you love, looking for dove.
There are several new models from various manufacturers. Let’s look at the top picks for 2009.
- The Remington Sidekick Training Collar takes top new collar in the bang for the buck category. This is a new product in Remington’s arsenal. The sidekick retails for about $190 and features nine levels of push button stimulation and patented “Consistent Reliable Stimulation” technology. This feature gives the ability to apply steady stimulation, which could save fido from getting in a lot of trouble. The sidekick does give up a little range at only 400 yards. I’m a big Remingotn fan, so I give it a thumbs up.
- The Dogtra 2500/2502 T Series Electronic Dog Training Collars take the award for best all around collars. Dogtra has become one of the top manufacturers of e-collars. All Dogtra collars come standard with durable, lightweight, easy to activate collar receivers and hand-held transmitters with simple controls. The 2500 model offers 127 levels of nick and constant stimulation. The beeper activates up to 400 yards out and the stimulation has a range of 1 mile. The price range is around $380 for one dog and $540 for two dog collars.
- D.T. Systems SPT 2400 Series Electronic Dog Training Collars have the best new feature. They come with a ‘Jump’ button that automatically increases stimulation as long as you hold the button. This feature allows you to quickly get your hunting dog under control. D.T. offers the best warranty of all manufacturers of e-collars, lifetime warranty on parts and one year on labor. The collars of 50 levels of stimulation with three beeper modes and a 1.3 mile range. Prices range from $380-$600.
- Tri-Tronics has three new models out. The Classic 70G3EXP, Field 90G3EXP, and the Upland G3EXP. These are probably the simplest e-collars to use . The old style tube transmitter with single push button controls take all the confusion out of training. The ‘EXP’ models allow the use of multiple collars. The Classic EXP can control up to six collars and the Field and Upland EXP control up to three. All three models have a one mile range and can be fully recharged in two hours. There prices are roughly $320, $360, and $520 respectively.
In an article in Wildfowl Magazine, they listed the top ten guidelines from professional trainers for choosing and using e-collars. These were a consensus of advice given by several experts.
- Use an e-collar to gently, not painfully reinforce lessons in canine obedience as taught by traditional hands-on methods.
- Calibrate e-collar stimulation power at the lowest level that is effective.
- Set e-collar stimulation to higher levels to stop your dog from committing dangerous or self-destructive acts.
- Know how to use the e-collar before putting on your hunting dog.
- Use your e-collar while training and hunting, i.e, be consistent.
- Choose an e-collar that is easy to use, because the timing of stimulation is key.
- Pick an e-collar to fit your dog’s temperament and hunting style, e.g., a running dog will need a collar with longer range and higher stimulation levels.
- Determine your need for an e-collar by counting the number of times you give your dog commands for basic obedience. Sometimes it helps to have a friend count, as you are not as aware of how much repetition you have with your dog.
- When shopping for e-collars pay close attention to warranties, expected lifetimes, and how quickly they can be repaired.
- Learn to love your e-collar because they are one of the most effective way to training your hunting dog.