Saskatchewan Hunter Safety Course


Safety Rules for Hunting with Dogs

Pointers are used for upland bird hunting (e.g., quail and pheasants). As the name implies, when a pointer smells and locates a bird, the dog will set up and point in the general direction of the bird. When the pointer is set up, a hunter can get in range and set up for a shot. Pointing breeds cover a large range, pointing the game when located, allowing the hunter to approach and flush the game. Flushing breeds such as Spaniels and Setters seem to have a natural ability to locate, point and flush game birds.

Retrievers are used in waterfowl (e.g., duck or geese) hunting, as well as other hunting situations. A retriever gets its name from its ability to retrieve game birds that have been harvested by a hunter. The retriever sits and waits patiently for the hunter to give the command to retrieve the bird after the shot is fired. It swims to and retrieves the game bird, bringing it back to the hunter.

It is the hunter's responsibility to look after and care for the hunting dog. Dogs should be trained long before hunting season begins, and be kept in good physical condition throughout the year. While on a hunt, make sure you can provide your dogs with clean water to drink. Inspect the pads on their feet for any signs of cuts or thorns that might hurt them. Also, check their coats for scratches or cuts from briers. Hunting dogs can experience hypothermia and overheating, just like humans. In hot conditions, give dogs a break under shade and provide clean water. In cold and wet locations, keep the dogs warm and dry. If a dog starts to shiver, that means it is cold and needs to be warmed up. If a dog suffers a serious injury, seek emergency care by a veterinarian as soon as possible.

Important! Always check local regulations before using dogs for a hunt.