When you look at the gear that’s essential for a good upland hunt, the list for necessities is pretty short. Aside from a shotgun, a good dog (or three), and the ability to get everything to the field, you’re pretty much tapped out. At least on the surface.
Think about it further and you realize there are a lot more things that go into a good hunt. The work and training leading up to a hunt matters, as does dog care. On the back side is immediate recovery and then more training. The pieces you put together with your dog before, during, and after a hunt – and throughout the year – are really what make that in-field time so special.
Following are several dog products that can make that whole process easier and more productive.
Dakota283 G3 Framed Door Kennel
Being someone who travels a lot with his dog to multiple states each season, I’m always on the hunt for a quality crate that won’t break the bank. Recently, I picked up a G3 Framed Door Kennel from Dakota283 and realized it was exactly what I was looking for. It’s lighter in weight than some of my crates, is built with an easy-grip handle, and features a keyed paddle latching door. These crates are also well-ventilated and still built bombproof so that your dog can be as safe as possible during transport. If you want a solid kennel for home and away usage that is very well priced, this one is tough to beat.
Dokken Dog Supply DeadFowl Trainer Pheasant
Bumper buyers really have two choices – buy a canvas or rubber dummy that is shaped and built like most of them, or buy a DeadFowl Trainer from Dokken Dog Supply. The first choice will get you a retrieving dummy, the second will get you much closer to the real thing. And as an added bonus, DFTs are designed to condition dogs to grab birds in the middle and not shake them - both desirable traits when you’re dealing with real birds you might want to eat after a hunt. There isn’t a day that goes by during the year where there isn’t at least one DFT in my truck, and during the actually season there are usually several for between-hunt drills.
Kinetic Hydro 30K Supplement
During hunting season, dogs require a lot of water and oftentimes they don’t get enough. This is where Hydro 30K Supplement from Kinetic comes in. Formulated to encourage hydration, this supplement also provides a way to replace nutrients lost to serious physical exertion. Hydro 30K contains a ton of protein, fiber, sodium, potassium, and a host of vitamins and minerals that dogs need to not only stay hydrated and healthy, but to recover quickly after days of pounding out the miles in wild bird country as well.
Purina Pro Plan Veterinary Supplements Calming Care
You can’t hit the local gym without hearing someone talking about prebiotics and probiotics. This is because we are discovering how closely our gut health is linked to our mental health. The same thing is happening with our bird dogs, and Purina is at the forefront of this research. As a result of that research, they’ve released Calming Care – a probiotic supplement that has been shown to reduce anxiety in dogs by up to 90 percent. If you’ve got a dog that needs a little calming at home or on the road when you’re traveling to a destination hunt, a proper round of Calming Care can do wonders for nervous behavior and side-effects of anxiety.
Realtree Naturals Dog Treats
How long you should treat train with a puppy is up for debate, but whether your dog is 9 weeks or 9 years old, you probably have a bag of dog treats handy. If you dig into the ingredient list, you might find some less-than-desirable additives, unfortunately. This is because a lot of the treats available are not all-natural, which matters. It’s also why picking up a bag of all-natural, limited-ingredient Realtree Natural Dog Treats is a good idea. They provide more bioavailable goodies to dogs, which means that not only do they want to eat them, but they are actually good for them. You can’t make that claim with a lot of the commercially available offerings. There are several options in the lineup, all of which are a good choice for upland dogs.
Rig’Em Right Bloodline Elite Dog Vest
Dog vests are a game-changer, and occasionally a life-saver, for waterfowl retrievers. If your upland dog pulls double duty and accompanies you in a duck blind, then they are a must. There are also times when suiting up a dog for the brush to provide added protection is a good idea as well. For either task, it’s tough to beat the Bloodline Elite Dog Vest from Rig’Em Right. This three-layer vest is flexible, durable, and available in four sizes. It’ll help your dog float when he needs to float, and avoid sharp sticks and briars when he needs to be poke- and scratch-free.
YETI Trailhead Dog Bed
Listen, I want to hate YETI stuff as much as you do. The problem is that every time I use one of their products I end up liking it a lot – too much, according to my wife. That’s pretty much what happened with the new Trailhead Dog Bed. It’s lightweight, built to last, and is designed with a removable travel pad. The whole thing is constructed of easy to clean materials, which means I don’t care if my muddy Lab takes a snooze on it immediately following a hunt. I’ve bought a lot of dog beds in my life that have been cheap and they’ve lasted like cheap dog beds should. The Trailhead is definitely not cheap, but it’s also not going to need to be replaced for a long, long time – and I like that.