Safety Rules for Hunting With Dogs
Dogs are used in many areas for hunting. There are many breeds of hunting dogs, and the type of game animal you are hunting will determine what type of dog to use. When hunting with a dog, everyone in the hunting party must treat the dog as a fellow hunter. Always be aware of where the dog is, and adhere to both vertical and horizontal zones of fire as well as identification of the target, and what lies in front of, and beyond, that target.
Leashes can be very dangerous in some hunting situations. Dogs can be unpredictable at times, and it doesn't take much for a leash to wrap around a gun barrel if the dog is running around. This could result in jerking the muzzle towards a hunting companion, especially during waterfowl season and while sitting or laying on the ground among a goose spread of decoys. It does not take much to get twisted around by their leash and lose muzzle control. Be sure to always remove any leashes or tethers before starting your hunt.
A hunting dog should always wear a collar, which includes information such as the dog's name, and the owner's phone number. Blaze orange vests made out of cloth and neoprene can be purchased for the hunting dog to wear, which will help other hunters see the dog, and can also help keep the dog warm and protect them from injury.
For large and small game animals, beagles and hounds are used to run game animals in the direction of a hunter. When released, the dog travels through the cover and moves the game towards the hunter or hunters staged at certain locations. This technique works well in thick cover or a swamp that a hunter cannot walk through.
Safety first! Since most waterfowl hunting is done in cold weather, it is important that the retriever stays warm and dry.