Female dogs, or any dogs for that matter, are one of the best ways to help harvest wild game as well as fend off the liberal neighbor in the conservative hood. Whether it’s a dog that was bred for security or hunting, put that dog to work!
I first entered into my journey of dog training on Father’s Day in 2012, when I came home with my 8 week old German Shepherd. My wife always wanted a German Shepherd, whereas I always wanted a black lab mixed with a golden retriever… the perfect water and hunting dog! We (I) compromised and ended up with a black shepherd, and a LOT of training ahead of me.
Meet Diesel. He’s more of a 2-stroke in the picture to the left, but fast forward to today, and he has proven to meet my every expectation as a fearless hunter. I carefully walk the high-wire balancing act of owning a retrieving defense dog, and running a full time bird-training business. Admittedly I’m a walking, talking, training oxymoron, who lives with constant consideration of the fact that I may just one day face the inevitable… Yes, Diesel may go all defensive and retrieve a yuppy from the local anti-gun rally, but more importantly, he may go after one of my parrots.
So I started training… I quickly gathered a rainbow sweater from the local Goodwill, and covered it in incense and hemp oil. I taught him how to smell a gun grabber from a mile away. Then I picked up a duck, grouse, and pheasant decoy from the local hunting store, some scent, and came home ready to train.
It was important to me that he realized a friendly from an enemy at an early age. So on one side of the room I had my pets; 3 macaws, 2 rose breasted cockatoos, 1 african grey, 1 toucan, 3 sun conures, 1 black cat, and a partridge in a pear tree. On the other side of the room was the enemy; ducks, pheasants, rainbow sweaters, and grouse.
Without boring you about the 8 months of constant training, allow me to sum it all up. Training a dog to flush a pheasant out of a bushel of grass, or jump into near-frozen water is not only incredibly rewarding, but it will also keep you dry.
Having already completed his first duck hunt at 6 1/2 months old, I found a local pheasant hunting ranch in Florida, picked up my dusty pheasant, and started training again.
I began by juicing up the duck decoy with duck scent, and the pheasant decoy with pheasant scent. I’d make him station (fancy trainer talk for lay on your bed), and I’d go hide the duck and the pheasant randomly in our cozy 1,700 square foot house.
A word of caution… duck scent smells oddly reminiscent to the ominous odor of feline urine. So if you don’t want your house smelling like the crazy cat lady from the Simpsons for the next year and a half, be sure to hide the duck on a hard surface… the pheasant however might as well go under your pillow.
Once he mastered this in the house, we took him to the dog park so he could be faced with greater distractions… like yippie little ankle biters, and pugs that would hump anything that walked… or that resembled a tree stump… or a rock… or hopefully poison ivy… and I would hide the duck and pheasant while giving him the cue to go find one at a time.
Like a true champ, he ignored the hemp scented pug, and came back with the pheasant time and time again, right on cue.
Game day finally came on the national day of resistance 2-23, so I called up my good friend, Orlando’s master photographer Daniel Kuykendall [Kai-Ken-Doll], to document the event – and shoot his first pheasant as well.
I had no idea what to expect, so I consulted the 12 year old experts on YouTube for advice… and no I don’t mean 12-year veteran pheasant hunters… I mean that annoying new reality that 12-year-olds know more than everyone and post their expertise on YouTube. Irregardless of this, we set out for the hunt.
The first thing I learned was that the dog is suppose to enter the brush and flush out the pheasant. So ladies and gentlemen, children of all ages… without any further ado, I bring you to, Diesel’s first incredible hunt!
So ok, apparently he out foxed the pheasant… but just this once. After this, it was all smooth sailing. The next flush went much more smoothly as the pheasant actually avoided the German jaws, and fled to higher, safer, and a much more immediate death.
The day continued like this, pheasant after pheasant, shot after shot. That poor farm lost most pheasants than liberals at an HIV rally, but nothing went to waste. These feisty pheasants will make one heck of a feast.
It was Daniel’s turn to step up to the plate. So I quickly went over the rules of the fight. Lock and load, keep your finger off the trigger until you’re ready to shoot, don’t shoot the dog… the usual.
What I didn’t tell you is that this 30 year old master photographer is also a master bow-man and a master baiter. OK, that may not have come out right but those baited-pheasants came right in, he pulled back on the bow and arrow, and sent that hen right to the rotisserie, Gangnam style. Yes, admittedly I don’t even know what that means but whatever it means, it’s catchy and someone should do a song about it… and Daniel is one hell of a shot!
So what? I might be a bit jealous that he’s older, wiser, better looking, and a better shot than I am, but I can still out run him and take cheap shots from the web… that’s about it.
So why put your dog to work and train it how to hunt? There are a ton of reasons.
1) Dogs don’t work for labor unions
Yeah… that’s really the only reason. They won’t go on strike as long as you feed them. They’re always ready to assist you without question. And a trained dog always comes back.
It was an incredible day full of shitguns, dog shot, and cleaning birds. (Did I mention I’m slightly dyslexic?) We had an amazing time! At the end of the day, my dog had proven himself on the battlefield of grass and feathers, Daniel out-shot me, I only stepped in one dog crap, and one cow pie. Given that the odds were against us, coming home with 10 birds and a crusty boot really wasn’t all that bad.
Now that my dog and I possess the ability to hunt and gather our own food, I know that I stand a better chance at surviving a SHTF scenario of any kind as long as I bring Daniel after Obama bans lead.
Please note: All the good photos were taken by Daniel Kuykendall at DKplus.com