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It isn’t long until the pheasant season gets underway across the United States and there are many hunters who are preparing for the season. For some in Minnesota, the preparations start with a trip to Sand Pine Pheasants.

The preserve, created by Keith Sand, is a vast 300 acres with a unique layout of the preserve that will dogs maintain a strong interest in pheasants during bad hunting times.

"I've had times where you've had half a day and you haven't seen anything," Dan Willenbring, has recently stated. "Part of it is, too, you want to make sure your dogs keep interest. They'll go and go and go and go for ya, but that's their thing, to get on that bird and get it up for you."

With bird counts declining during the past decade, the preserve offers a chance for hunters to ensure their dogs get a chance to keep their interest. For young dogs it is also a chance for them to gain experience.

"A young dog, it's very important getting birds under their belt. It builds a foundation for down the road. The average dog's going to hunt at least 10, 11 years," Keith Sand states. "That first couple, three years, the more birds you get under them, the better dog they're going to be in the long term."

Experienced hunters agree that the preserve is a great way to train a young dog for the pheasant hunting season. While some will use a pheasant wing on a dummy, many state that it isn’t the same as a fresh scent.

The number of farm-raised pheasants released at the preserve has only increased since it opened 13 years ago. During the first year, they released 1,200 birds. Last season, the preserve released some 15,000 birds. Not all of these were for field hunts, some were for European hunts which included a disabled veterans outing.

With the height of the pheasant season upon us, those who have trained their dogs might see some good results in the field.

How do you train your dog? Have you gone to a preserve?

Let us know in the comments.


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