As summer transitions into fall, it's time to start prepping for the upcoming upland hunting season. Too many hunters simply grab the trusty shotgun the day before a bird hunt, with never a second thought about preparation. But like any other endeavor, a bit of preparation before the hunting season starts will increase the odds of success, and ensure safe, fun, and productive outings. Here are a few tips that will get you ready for wing shooting season:
Move! Upland hunting often involves a good bit of strenuous activity, often at higher elevations; walking, climbing, scrabbling over rocks, etc. Getting active and into shape prior to hunting season will allow you to cover more ground safely. Hiking, walking, and bicycling are all excellent cardiovascular activities that help get you into hunting shape. Don't forget to wear a pack carrying a bit of weight, simulating actual hunting situations.
Shoot! If you haven't picked up a shotgun in a few months, shoot several rounds of sporting clays. Unlike trap and skeet shooting, sporting clays mimic the unpredictable nature of live-bird shooting, and better prepares you for hunting situations. Shooting a few rounds of sporting clays will knock off the rust and have you hitting more birds afield.
Tune up the dog! Now is the time to get your favorite hunting partner ready for the upcoming season. A good bird dog that has been fishing or hiking all summer needs a bit of time to get back up to speed, just like we do. Seasoned, older dogs will need less of a refresher course, while young pups might need a bit more work and preparation. Here at Picabo Angler, we offer pre-season puppy training outings along with veteran dog refreshers. Call the shop at 208-788-3536 for more information.
Be careful! A little caution is in order for both hunters and dogs. Early season upland hunting can often be warm, sometimes fairly hot, and overdoing it can quickly lead to heat exhaustion or heat stroke. Limit activity to the cool temperatures of the early morning, have plenty of water available, and cut the sessions short. Carrying a small first aid kit can be helpful during early season hunting. Sharp rocks, cheat grass, and barb wire can all cause problems, particularly to a dog's pads that haven't been conditioned. Remember, this is rattlesnake country, so be aware!
Have fun! Don't fret if your dog bumps that first rooster or blows through a covey of chukar. You'll find more birds, and your dog will get dialed in. Take the time to enjoy your surroundings and the varied upland hunting opportunities that Idaho has to offer. Praise your the dog when he does it well! There's few things as satisfying in hunting as watching a good bird dog do its job.
Here at Picabo Angler, we look forward to upland hunting as much as fishing! Please give us a call to find out more about dog training sessions and our guided hunting opportunities.