For many Montana hunters, the coming of August marks the time to get ready for fall hunting seasons.
Bowhunters have already been active in getting their bows tuned up and broadheads sharp. In fact, for most bowhunters, there are only two seasons of the year — hunting season and getting ready for hunting season.
But bird hunters also need to start planning. If you’ve gotten a new dog since last season, you better start now in getting that pup ready. There are a number of good books and videos with tips to introduce your dog to the hunt. Check your local sporting good stores for their selection.
There are other things you can do at home to get the dog ready. Here are some of the questions that need answers before bird hunting season begins in early September:
DOES YOUR DOG COME WHEN CALLED? Flushing dogs must hunt within shotgun range of the hunter and change direction on command. Pointers can hunt out further, but still need to learn “whoa” to hold their point.
DOES YOUR DOG RETRIEVE? It’s not enough to retrieve just toys or even dummies. If you have access to real birds, that’s even better. It is just too big of a jump from a dummy to a duck.
CAN YOUR DOG MARK THE FALL OF THE BIRD? Have your helper throw a dummy at 50 yards or more, while you steady the dog by your side. This will help him pinpoint where birds fall in the field.
DOES YOUR DOG SWIM? This may seem obvious, but many hunters will take their dogs in the field when they aren’t confident in the water.
IS YOUR DOG USED TO THE GUN? Make sure you introduce the shotgun properly. Start by firing at a distance, and then gradually move closer. You can also start with a small caliber rifle — like a .22 — and work up to a shotgun. Experts say by doing it this way, they’ll become accustomed to the sound.
IF YOUR DOG IS A SEASONED HUNTING DOG, IS HE IN GOOD SHAPE? Not a bad idea to take your dog to a field and start to get him in shape. Two to three times a week should do the trick. And, as a side benefit, it’ll help you get in shape, too.
FISHING CONTINUES — The Great Montana Mac Attack fishing tourney is this weekend. The tourney will take place on the north end of Flathead Lake. About 500 anglers are expected to compete. Del’s Bar in Somers is again the tournament headquarters. Call Bob Lincoln at 406-857-3351 for more information.
There is still time join in the fun. The entry fee is only $20 per person.
The Montana Outdoor Radio Show will be broadcasting from 6 to 8 a.m. Saturday live from from the tournament headquarters and then a special edition of the show will air Sunday afternoon on KGVO-Missoula and KJJR-Kalispell from 3 to 6 p.m. to announce the winners of the tournament.