Sporting Dog First Aid Kit

We often bird hunt hours away from the nearest veterinary clinic.  Snake bites, gashes from barbed wire fences, porcupine quills in a dog’s muzzle, cactus and weed seeds in ears, eyes, paws and various other places, among other injuries are all common place where we hunt.  But, all owners, trainers, and dog handlers should be knowledgeable of basic first aid care for hunting dogs. We ask our dogs to hunt and work over varied terrain and conditions, in various Western and Midwestern states, therefore numerous emergency situations can be encountered.

Anyone taking a dog afield should have a well-equipped first aid kit available. Do not wait until an injury occurs to gather the necessary items. I find a large tool box/brief bag will carry the most frequently used items. It should be non-locking to provide for easy access to the contents. Label the outside of the box “K-9 FIRST AID” for easy identification.

At a minimum we recommend that you have the following on hand for small animal emergencies:

A copy of Advanced Canine First Aid for Sporting/Outdoor Dogs
Antibiotic ointment, water-soluble
bandage scissors
vet wrap, elastic and/or ace bandages
roll gauze, at least 2 (1 for fashioning a muzzle if necessary)
3″ gauze sponges
cotton bandages
telfa pad
povidine-iodine prep pads
cast padding
waterproof tape
telfa pads
white adhesive tape
vet wrap
3M Nexaband veterinary super glue (super glue can be used in an emergency)
rectal or instant thermometer
table salt (to induce vomiting)
blankets or solar blankets
magazine or newspaper to use as temporary splint
board to carry animal if back, pelvic, or leg injury is involved
Gentocin ophthalmic ointment for prevent or treatment of infection and atropine ophthalmic ointment for pain control or […]

By |May 18th, 2011|Wingshooting|Comments Off on Sporting Dog First Aid Kit

Mighty-Lite Shotgun Shells Are a Thing of the Past

Modern factory shotgun loads are often labeled in “drams equivalent” or “dr. eq.”   A dram of black powder is 1/16 of an ounce.  Dram equivalent means the powder charge in the shell is supposed to produce the same shot velocity as the listed dram equivalent of black powder. So if the box is labeled 3 drams, that means the velocity will be the same as a black powder shell containing 3 drams of powder.

In 12-gauge, 2 1/2 dr. eq. s is a very light or low recoil load, 3 is typical for skeet and 3 1/2 or more is common for high brass hunting loads.  This does not include shells greater than 2 3/4″ in length, which is a whole ‘nother story.  In 20 gauge, 2 1/4 dr. eq. is a standard load. 

For the past 15 years, I have been shooting, nearly exclusively, the Mighty-Lite target load from Estate Cartridge Company, which is the shell favored by Buz Fawcett in his Wingshooting Workshop.  Since graduating from the workshop, this has been the shell in my cartridge bags.  As luck would have it, Estate Cartridge was a small Texas specialty loader and they were sold to a larger competitor who abbreviated all of their lines.  My favorite shells are now a thing of the past, but I was not immediately affected, as we purchased these shells by the pallet, so I had plenty on hand for some time and had first bought them at $3.50 a box (1997), and thought they were expensive when then had gone up to $5.  They were excellent for patterns, with high velocity, low deformity, and low recoil.

The Mighty-Lite in 12 gauge, was a 2 3/4″ shell, with 2 1/2 dr. eq., 7/8 oz. of shot in #8, at […]

By |May 17th, 2011|Uncategorized, Wingshooting|Comments Off on Mighty-Lite Shotgun Shells Are a Thing of the Past

Snake Breaking

Bird dogs are usually interested in chasing anything that moves, which can include rattlesnakes.  The first sequence shows a dog who hears, smells, sees, and then tries to chase a rattlesnake which has been defanged for use in this specialized training.  The dog suffered no pain, as there were no fangs in the snake and, after being bit, he went right back to trying to chase it again, so the bite itself is not a future deterrent.






The second sequence shows a dog being trained to avoid snakes.  The tape flags mark an e-collar around the dog’s neck, as they train multiple dogs at the same time during these sessions.  The dog is corrected when he clearly hears, smells and sees the snake.  Usually this process takes just 1-2 corrections and they won’t even look at a snake again (and will avoid one if they hear or smell it), as shown in the third photo where the handler is trying to get this Brittany to walk near the snake, but he wants nothing to do with it.

By |May 11th, 2011|Wingshooting|Comments Off on Snake Breaking

Favorite Pages about the Uplands

Being a voracious reader, I am often asked about my favorite books for upland bird hunters.  All books by Jim Fergus, such as A Hunter’s Road and A Sporting Road, are among my chief favorites.  And,  I enjoy reading Mike Gould again and again, especially Plateaus of Destiny.  But, I have to confess they all feature Brittanys, so that may be part of the allure for me. 

Gould’s Labrador Shooting Dog (it features pointing labs, but this training method works for all pointing dogs and is the method I follow, having studied under Gary Ruppel.  And  Bob Wehle’s Wing and Shot features the more traditional methods and is well written.  If you had to stop with just these few, you really wouldn’t need any more to become fully educated on pointing dog training, especially for Gary Ruppel’s natural method of dog training, which is not focused on the electric collar and force breaking methods.   The others mentioned above will show you what you can accomplish with this training method.

But if you will not be satisfied knowing that there are so many more books out there to read, one could move on to all of the books written by the late, great Bill Tarrant would be next to add.  Bill was a gentle soul, a voracious writer and focused heavily on learning from and writing about professional trainers.  He praised most, both in his writings and in his conversations with me, Mike Gould and (his protégé at the time) Gary Ruppel, for the “new school” of professionals.  Some of Bill’s books are more how-to, others are more interviews, and some are fictional.  The titles tell you which way they go, there are about 8-10 of them all together.

Then you could add one more book directed at Brittany lovers, which features a very natural method but a bit more directed to what […]

By |May 11th, 2011|Wingshooting|Comments Off on Favorite Pages about the Uplands

Paper Shells

Most think that paper was the original casing material to be used in shotshell making, but this is not the case. Paper came as a close second, making it onto the scene in the 1870.  Paper shells were preceded by brass shells, which would last forever, but were difficult to machine and expensive to manufacture, even back then.

Paper hulls are wound into tubes, impregnated with wax.  The center fire mechanism was evolved from the pinfire mechanism by a Frenchman.  Most agree that paper shells shoot “softer” (with less felt recoil) than their plastic brothers.  They even smell better, which is a tribute to the slightly different powder used by most manufacturers and they don’t litter plastic wads everywhere.  The only downside, which is a serious one, is that paper shells are waxed but not waterproof, which can create swelling and safety issues, and have a short reloading life.

You still find some shooters who use paper constructed shot shells, but numbers are dwindling, due to safety concerns, great costs of finding these shells, and rapidly decreasing availability.  Most buy them for their chambering sizes, which are often still for the shorter British 2″ or 2 1/2″ chambers, instead of the modern 2 3/4″.  Chamber sizes is another debate, but just for fun, measure one of your American shells, it’s 2 1/2″, as the 2 and 3/4 size is measured before the shell is crimped, as is true with all shells.  Check your manufacturer’s instructions before using any shells in a shotgun, as too big or too small of chamber size shells can pose a serious safety issue.

By |May 7th, 2011|Wingshooting|Comments Off on Paper Shells