So I got my first dog last fall and this will be my first ever season hunting and I'm wondering if some people wouldn't mind someone tagging along with them. I am not looking to steal spots, just looking to get experience and hopefully put my dog on some birds.
Have you thought about visiting a game farm? Great experience for shooter and dog. Some facilities will let you do a "trial" before joining. I have used these farms for three of my dogs and it 's a great place to train.
Assume you have introduced the dog to the gun...
Just reviewed the "Major Avenue Gun Club" web site; excellent habitat to train your dog. $25 for an all-day pass plus birds.
Since it's your first hunting season it would be a good idea to find someone with hunting experience to go with. However, for safety reasons some people may not be real interested in a newbie tagging along. But I sure hope that isn't the case. And also the fact that you have a young inexperienced dog doesn't help. Perhaps you might say a little bit about what experience you have with firearms and also what degree of training your dog has. I'm assuming that you are a younger person and we need more younger people involved in the hunting sports. Maybe post some pics of you and your dog. I do hunt SW Minnesota a few times a year as I'm originally from the Canby area. If the timing works out this fall you could sure tag along with me some day. I only have 60 years experience hunting pheasants. But I also have a young dog, a 13 month old Brittany. Good luck.
jonnyb's suggestion of a game farm is a great idea. They can provide the birds and also give you some pointers. If you would be interested I would be up for meeting you at the Minnesota Heartland Preserve by Granite Falls sometime in September as I really need to get my pup on some birds soon. I know the people there and they normally have both Chukars and Pheasants.
I have thought about hitting up game farms, figured I'd hit two or three this year, but they get expensive quick and when I went to a game farm this past spring the birds ran away instead of flying away.
My dog has been through gun and bird intro, been to several training days and goes to training for a month starting next Saturday, I've included a picture of her below.
Unfortunately I'm not that young at 34 years of age so I'm coming to this rather late and there don't seem to be a lot of introductory events for non youth. Last fall my wife and I decided to get our first dog, and since I thought it would be great to get my dad out hunting again and my wife wanted a goldendoodle, I bought her a patio set and got a hunting dog. Unfortunately due to some health issues my father will no longer be able to walk a field, though maybe he can do a really small game farm plot, so I find myself looking for people that I can learn from and maybe even find some hunting buddies. I'll certainly understand if people are hesitant to let an inexperienced hunter with an inexperienced dog tag along as there's the potential to ruin what might otherwise be a good hunt.
I am completely up for giving it a go with people at a game farm, though Greta won't be coming home until September 23rd.
get involved in a training group if you can through NAVHDA or something like that...meet some fellow hunters through the dog connection...start slow with a day trip to some public ground in SW MN...do it again but grab a motel and make it a 2 day deal....but again, use your dog to meet some folks...makes it easier....not saying this won't generate some contacts...but I go on 4 day hunts, and can't risk making a bad invite...no offense...I know that makes sense....I have made bad invites bringing guys I have known for years!!!!
"Training for a month." Your dog points and flushes, right? What does the month-long training look like? Are you participating in this? Are you seeking other hunters to give you and your dog training advice or hunting advice?
I think I would avoid hunting with others, until you and your dog are more seasoned. Often it's difficult to find other hunters that have the same motivation, style, safety concerns et al.
B. Banger has good advice regarding connecting with others...
I am vowing to hunt MN this year...I would attempt to hook up for day or the better part of a day...around Marshall perhaps...I like weekdays, if that works...one or two or three others...fun to make a few new connections. One rule...it is always OK to be proactive re: gun safety...no comment to another is a bad thing..and i have had many made to me over 30 years of hunting...I have had the tendency to put the gun on my shoulder and the barrel pointing backwards at times, but if you turn your torso, you are pointing the gun where you shouldn't be...I make an effort to not do that anymore.
Weekdays would be great but probably not realistic for me. Good luck hooking up with someone. I hope to take a couple trips down to the mecca of Minnesota this year. I say that every year but dammit, this is the year!
Dami - Sending your dog for a month of training has to be expensive. Wonder if using that cash for trips to a game farm wouldn't be more productive, unless you have no free time, then a trainer is probably necessary.
Greta is a pointer and my trainer did say I should avoid hunting her with flushers for the first year or two until her point is rock solid, as such it would be best to either hunt with other pointing dogs or split field time if I go with someone that has flushers.
I have not be training with NAVHDA, that was the original plan and I went to one of their first events of the year at Four Brooks but between getting promoted, my wife becoming anemic, and my appendix deciding it wanted out of this relationship there wasn't a lot of time left for training so that's why I decided on sending her to a professional trainer, also as she's my first dog I just wasn't confident I could do it. It is expensive but I had been saving and selling some things in order to afford the NAVHDA memberships, Kelly Farms pass, and then birds, so I had the money set aside. In case this question is asked later, she is going to West Country Kennels for her 4 weeks of training.
The trainer who did gun and bird did introduce the e-collar, I only use it for the come command, always two tones first, then a vibrate if she still isn't coming, and then finally to nicks until she sits next to me. The trainer only used the nick, I taught the tone and vibrate.
As to availability, weekdays are an option depending on work and if given enough of a heads up, 1-2 weeks, otherwise weekends are also an option.
West Country...have had two dogs trained by Brian and he's very good and a fine fellow. In addition, I could work with the dog free, after the training period - Major Ave. didn't charge - apparently Brian had an arrangement, not sure it that's still the case. Is he still at Major?
I have a Golden that points, however, he will pursue a bird if it decides to scamper. Maybe after a year or so your dog will be ready to join with another dog.
Sorry to hear about your collective health problems and hope they clear soon.
The money you're spending to get the dog trained properly is money well spent. Yes, you could just take her to a game farm and throw some birds at her but a professional trainer is going to train her not just to find birds but also to be mannerly. The fact you're willing to spend the money on properly training your dog should be a plus for anyone you hunt with. There's nothing worse than some guy talking his dog up as a bird finding machine only to find out it chases them out of the county. Spend the money on the game farm AFTER the dog has been properly trained by a professional. It'll have more benefit. There's nothing wrong with the realization that you don't have the time to train a dog. I've come to that exact conclusion, along with I've just decided to have a professional do it better than I ever could.
Though the game farm may do your dog some good eventually, it'll do you little good in learning how to hunt wild pheasants. I'd be happy to take a day and go with you. I'll bring you to some spots that should/have produced birds. I won't carry a gun or take my dog (he's a flusher anyway), I'll just walk with you. The land is public and have no special hold over it; so there'll be no hard feelings if you go back on your own. I'll private message you my contact info, it'll be up to you then.
Whether we end up taking a day to go hunting or not, I wish you luck. Upland hunting with one's own dog, I find to be truly one of life's greatest pleasures. Also, don't limit yourself to just pheasants. Minnesota is one of, if not the, best state/s for Ruffed Grouse and it has good Sharp-Tail hunting in the Northwest too.
Finally, you may want to invest in the Minnesota All-Outdoors Atlas for the pheasant range. When looking for places to go, look for clusters of public land. Avoid the piece of public land that's an "island."