Hunting in Hot Weather for You and Your Dog
Hunting in hot weather can be hard on you, but it’s harder on your dog or dogs. I’ll cover you, first, because you are easier than your hunting dog that covers up to five times as much ground.
First, you need to be hydrated and stay hydrated. The best way I’ve found to do this is to start drinking water the night before, and keep drinking on the way out. Make sure to carry water with you to drink, not just for your dog. I would say to start exercising before the hunt, but that may not always be able to happen. Take it slow at first. Don’t go too hard; you don’t want to push the dog too hard, either.
Now for man’s best friend. Give him plenty of water before the hunt as well as during. In big chukar country where I hunt, I carry one gallon to last four to five hours. I also use a collapsible bowl that helps to save some water; the dog uses less than when drinking out of a bottle. Wet the dog down before the hunt if you can and during the hunt with the water left in the bowl. Stop and take breaks to cool your dog down. Just because he doesn’t want to quit doesn’t mean you should let him run himself into the ground. That’s why you are the boss. Sometimes, I’ll have to tie the dogs up to get them to cool off. I use a treeing lead with a clip on both ends and a slider ring to hook to a bush, rock, or tree.
Hydration isn’t the only worry to have. A big one that can ruin the dog for a week is his feet. Some people use a product called Tuff Foot, but I prefer boots. For boots I use a piece of motorcycle inner tube; duct tape works, too. Make sure that when you take your breaks to check the dog’s feet. If they start to get sore, boot the dog up.
The last big worry where I hunt is rattle snakes. They are out when it’s warm, and one of these guys can flat ruin a hunt or even kill your dog. If your dog does get bit, give him Benadryl (your vet can give you the exact dosage for your dog). I carry it with me everywhere when hunting. Get him cooled down and pack him out. The less activity, the better. Aspirin will help with the swelling and penicillin is usually given for infection if it occurs. Once back at the vehicle, head for the vet. Currently, you can get a series of shots called Red Rock to help before you hunt in snake country. I personally prefer snake breaking before season; there are even classes on it. Don’t shoot a snake if you come across one, because your dog could still get bit and he will want to retrieve it. Just keep the dog away and leave it. I hope that these ideas help you during the hot part of hunting season.
Article By GameBirdhunts.com Staff Writer Ed Hall