A good dog in the duck blind is an indispensable tool. There’s something majestic about a duck hunter and dog working together in the field. Any waterfowl hunter knows that taking care of your four-legged companion is a top priority, so here are our top picks for Duck Dog gear you’ll need next season.
Duck Dog Vests
No matter what breed of dog you choose to hunt alongside during duck season, be it at the marsh, the lake, or in a field, giving your hunting dog an extra level of protection against the elements in a neoprene dog vest can be a game changer.
Every duck hunter becomes a constant weather watcher and a forecast addict as soon as duck season opens. Cold northern temperatures and strong weather fronts push the annual migration that duck hunters anticipate southbound. With the cold north winds and dipping temperatures come the ducks. But that same cold weather that duck hunters crave can take its toll on a duck dog.
Wet fur, exhaustion from multiple retrieves, and the cold winter wind can all put your pup at risk of hypothermia. Just when the flocks of migrating ducks arrive and the cold starts to get the hunting hot, your dog could use an extra layer to be at their best.
Just like a neoprene wetsuit for watersports, a neoprene vest for your duck dog is a critical tool to keep your four legged partner safe, healthy, and ready for their next retrieve. A good neoprene dog vest accomplishes multiple functions for your duck dog.
Evaporation – The neoprene layer of a water dog vest blocks the cooling effects of evaporation, allowing your dog’s own body heat to be more effective. Not only does a duck dog vest prevent evaporation, but it is also very effective at blocking the wind. Cold north winds and a wet dog can spell disaster. Utilizing a quality neoprene water dog hunting vest allows your dog the ability to better regulate their core temperature, preserve energy for the hunt, and be more comfortable. They really are a necessity for late season hunts.
Abrasion – Duck hides, blinds, and layouts are inherently woody and brushy. From tiny seeds to sharp sticks hiding below the surface of the water, it may seem that everything is out to get your four legged friend. Adding a protective outer layer to your duck dog’s chest, back, and sides is an effective technique to add extra protection to your pup when you’re in the field.
Camouflage – Solid colored retrievers (be it a jet black Labrador, a yellow golden retriever, or even a water spaniel) can sure stick out against the sun-bleached vegetation of the marsh. Adding a layer of camouflage in the form of a neoprene vest is a marvelous way to break up your dog’s solid, monochromatic coat, and help them to blend in from the wary eyes of passing ducks. For additional camouflage and protection from the elements, consider also bringing and using a hunting dog blind.
Duck Dog Field First Aid
When you step out of the house, destined for an anticipated day in the duck blind, the last thing on your mind is canine first aid. However, a few simple items put together in a basic first aid kit can go a long way to helping your favorite furry duck hunter if something unexpected happens.
The old adage of an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure definitely pertains to sporting dogs. Off-season work and conditioning are critical to your dog’s health and their ability to perform once duck season gets underway. Pushing an out-of-shape dog with an extra-long retrieve, or working multiple back-to-back swims in frigid water can put a dog over the edge. Take the time to make sure your dog is in hunting shape and ready to perform this season with walks, short swims, and plenty of dog dummy retrieves as preparation.
Duck Dog First Aid Kit
Putting a few items into a zip top bag and adding it to your blind bag can make the difference between a great outcome and heartbroken aftermath if circumstances go south for your duck dog in the field, and an injury occurs. Here is a list of a couple items worth putting into your duck dog first aid kit.
Wire Cutters – A sturdy pair of wire cutters or “side cuts” is a must have for any field dog first aid kit. There are plenty of wire or cable snags out there that seem to be out to get your hunting dog. Multi-use public lands like a public marsh or a lake are oftentimes open to other outdoorsmen and women who are working to harvest wild fur. A trapper’s snare cable set for raccoons along the bank, or beavers and muskrats in the water can spell disaster for a duck dog. Broken barbed wire and discarded bailing wire can also create bad news situations for four legged hunters without a way to simply clip and cut the steel cable or wire.
Vet Wrap & Duct Tape – Splinting an injured leg and wrapping a cut or abrasion are both practical examples of real world scenarios you and your pup may encounter during a hunt. A short roll of elastic vet wrap is just the ticket for applying steady pressure to a bleeding abrasion or supporting an injured leg joint. Duct tape is handy in so many situations, including a protective wrap around a vet wrap bandage, and even as a tough paw pad protectant.
Blood Stop Powder – Miles and minutes matter when an injury occurs in the field. Whether you are a long walk from the truck, or maybe a paddle or motor out in your duck boat, followed by a drive to the vet; stopping a bleeding wound can be critical. A simple packet of a blood clotting material can mean the difference between your pup losing too much blood due to an injury, and another season of water retrieves.
Corn Syrup & Treats – Cold temperatures and heavy excursions can cause a dangerous hypoglycemia condition in some dogs. The sugar in corn syrup or a simple dog cookie can help regulate blood sugar.
Tweezers –A sturdy pair of tweezers with a sharp tip are the perfect tool for removing splinters, thorns, or burs from under the skin or between your pup’s foot pads.
This list is far from complete or exclusive, so add any other tools, bandages, or canine medications that fit your needs. If you’re traveling to hunt, it’s a great idea to do a quick online search for veterinarians practicing in the area that you plan to hunt. Go ahead and drop a couple pins on whatever mapping software you’re using this season to take the guesswork out of finding a clinic should an emergency arise.
Taking Care of Your Duck Dog
Duck hunting days alongside your faithful retriever are days to be cherished. Caring for your pup during the preseason, hunt, and post-season is something every duck dog owner must consider.
Rock Ridge Outdoors LLC
148 Country Club Cir, Minden, LA 71055
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