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marsh man

Do We Always Consider The Dogs Safety ??

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Posted (edited)

Another article in today's local paper was  reporting about a wild fowler , again from the Kings Lynn area sent his dog ( called River ) into the fast flowing Great Ouse to retrieve a duck he had just shot , the young dog carried on swimming down the river and for a while that was the last time he saw his dog , the emergency services were called out and according to the paper , the dog managed to get out himself about two miles down the river .the dog have had a good rest and hopefully with no ill effects .

We have got one or two fast flowing rivers and I have never been to worried about sending the dog either in or across the river , admittingly ours are not on the same scale as the Ouse but I dare say it's about knowing your dog and the dogs age and fitness level.

One of the only times I can remember about being concerned about the dogs welfare was when I had my first dog and at the time he was only about 10 months old , he was a big strong dog and all I was interested in was him retrieving fowl out of water , on this particular day I was about three miles up on the estuary wall when I knocked a Whitefront down that hit the water about 40 yds out , straight away the young down was running down the wall and was heading towards the cripple goose at a good rate of knots , all the while the goose was making towards the channel but the dog was gaining on it and when the goose was well out the dog got hold of it around the base of it's neck , the old goose started to flap and a wing went over the dogs face , all I could see was my dog doing a lot of splashing about but not really getting any where , this was when I started to panic a bit and wondered if his young life was coming to a close , what seemed like ages he started to make headway back towards me and then at long last he was coming back up the wall with a lively goose , after a quick shake he was none the worst for the experience, now 50 odd years and seven dogs later I have learnt there is a lot more than just retrieving required form a gun dog and they need to be treated with a lot of respect .

Edited by marsh man

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I always think of the safety of my dog, also cringe when I see some of things he does but trying to stop him sometimes can be hard.

Watched him as a pup about ten months old get into difficulty chasing his ball into the sea after he kicked along the surf line. Tide was going out and ripping along. His ball was going out and he wouldn't give up. Got his ball turned back and started to get tired. Went under a few times. Wife was panicking as I started to take my outer clothes off to go get him. Then he just seemed to swim harder and made it back in ok.

After that unless the tides right I won't let him go too far in the sea.

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I have seen dogs sent out in considerable rough seas.No consideration given to the dog.Its all about  the shooters own ego.The dog appears to be just an accessory to their wardrobe an item" ."property" if you will.It takes all sorts as they say,just unfortunate these types do'nt  try to swim out themselves  in bad weather n order to get it into thick skulls that their dog is  not a ****** submarine.

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Always consider the safety of the dog and if you think the end result of your shot puts your dog in danger don't take the shot.I remember one of my dogs getting caught in an anchor rope from a boat moored in my local river.I was on the verge of going in myself when thank goodness the dog became free and came ashore with the teal.It made me think hard about shooting in that area again.

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7 minutes ago, bruno22rf said:

My Dogs safety is paramount to me - wouldn't ask him to go anywhere I wouldn't.

Well said Sir.

I've shot around the Welland - Nene and Ouse river's for nigh on 50 yrs never have or never will send my dogs into any of those river's for nothing. Only this weekend a Widgeon 1 of 2 shot with 1 shot made it to the edge of one of those river's leaving both dogs with my grandson i quickly shot it to end it's suffering within a few moments it was a Seals breakfast . Plenty of marsh to shoot without sitting next to any of those river's

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A dogs safety  is  foremost and right up  there with my. own, proper training to call off a retrieve at any point in a retrieve is very  important. The dog and you must trust one another and you need to consider carefully any and every retrieve you send your dog out on.  I do not work dogs with collars or coats when working in water,  i can not wade myself if the need arises. My reason being if dog gets tangled up with any drift wood debris he can not get free would be the end , remote possibility perhaps but one i do not want to contemplate.

   Dogs can find themselves in trouble just as we can and all we can do is er on the side of caution and offer them the love and care on the marsh they richly deserve.

 

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THANKS for the above replies which all make sense 

Everyone of us would draw the line at some point with retrieving wildfowl . trouble is , due to shooting in bad light and often in extreme weather conditions , where do you draw the line ?

Most of my fowling is now done down the marsh and I would have thought 90% is done in from very poor light to nigh on darkness , any duck or goose that drop around me is no problem , but when a duck or goose start to plane out and you are on the edge of a dyke , what do you do ? , with me like many times before, he is across the dyke and head off into the darkness , most of the times he will come back with what he went after , and then times when he come back with nothing , but what I am getting at is you cant control your dog if he have gone out into the unknown and you can no longer see him , I trust my dog 100% and we work as a team , I do my best to shoot them and I know he would do his best to retrieve it ,

Like all forms of shooting  there is an element of risk to both yourself and your dog , at the end of the day it about common sense and not to put both you and your dog into unnecessary dangers , mind you ,with wild fowling that is sometimes easier said than done . 

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I was once invited goose shooting along the river Eden in Cumbria. The river was in flood. It was obvious that no goose should be shot at over the water or indeed over the far bank. My upstream neighbour thought otherwise and shot and wounded a goose which came floating by me.

My old Labrador Otter saw it and under instruction went in after it. All was going well until the goose put its wing over his eyes and he lost his sense of direction. Going downstream rapidly he began to tire and actually went under.

Seeing the possibility of losing my dog I ran a great distance downstream, stripped off, dived in and intercepted him midstream. He wouldn't let go of the goose so I got him by the scruff and swam him to shore.

It was cold, very cold. He shook himself and was soon fully recovered. The same could not be said of yours truly.

 

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Thinking we can all have a horror story however if you learn from it and dog ends up safely ashore with a mind to it not happening again that’s the best way forward 

had a similar experience to jdog I now don’t hesitate to shoot wounded geese on the river or lake before I send the dog

in uncertain situations better to retrieve a dead goose than loose a wounded one and your dog 

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A wounded  duck that keeps diving when dog gets up to it can confuse the best dogs, thankfully it is rare but some years ago  i called a springer off a widgeon on a fast flowing river when the proceedings were getting uncomfortably far away.

  sooner rather than latter is always best option in situations which have the chance to turn ugly for the dog, we are there to all come home safe and if that means loosing a duck now and again that is fine by me.

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4 hours ago, JDog said:

 

I was once invited goose shooting along the river Eden in Cumbria. The river was in flood. It was obvious that no goose should be shot at over the water or indeed over the far bank. My upstream neighbour thought otherwise and shot and wounded a goose which came floating by me.

My old Labrador Otter saw it and under instruction went in after it. All was going well until the goose put its wing over his eyes and he lost his sense of direction. Going downstream rapidly he began to tire and actually went under.

Seeing the possibility of losing my dog I ran a great distance downstream, stripped off, dived in and intercepted him midstream. He wouldn't let go of the goose so I got him by the scruff and swam him to shore.

It was cold, very cold. He shook himself and was soon fully recovered. The same could not be said of yours truly.

 

Touch wood I have never had to do the same and I am glad both you and Otter made a full recovery . the only time I have seen our main river ( Yare ) in a dangerous situation for a dog to swim in was the night of the tidal surge , on a normal tide it is around 2 meters and that is over a period of six hours , wind direction and the moon will make a difference but overall it would be safe to let a strong , healthy dog do long and short retrieves . 

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Common sense is a great attribute IMO

I am mostly always mindful of of where and when I'd send a dog. I was brought up on that if you shoot a bird then every effort possible should be made to retrieve it.

I recall one really stormy winter's night when I was a teenager, shooting from a safety embankment that separated  the sea and the brackish lake. The waves where churning up and crashing against the embankment. Truth be told it was a bit careless on my part as it got dark very quickly and as the flight was near over I shot a duck that landed well out in the drink. I looked at the water and then at the dog and just said no way are you going in there! Whilst talking with another older fowler on the way back across the bank and as I relayed the story to him,he said he wouldn't be feeding a dog if wasn't gonna make him work for it. I told my father the story when I got home and he said I made the correct decision and not to be listening to boys like that.

I would be the panicking type when dogs are in difficult  conditions in the water and am always happy to get them back safe and sound.

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When it's cold I always put a neoprene vest with chest protector on my dog as he thinks nothing of launching himself into water. If ice is present or a unseen stick it could puncture his chest.

The vest is tight so lees chance of snagging, has floats in the sides too and keeps him warm when sat. He hated it to start with now he likes it as he gets older, that and sitting on my feet he keeps comfy on the marsh.

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2 hours ago, figgy said:

When it's cold I always put a neoprene vest with chest protector on my dog as he thinks nothing of launching himself into water. If ice is present or a unseen stick it could puncture his chest.

The vest is tight so lees chance of snagging, has floats in the sides too and keeps him warm when sat. He hated it to start with now he likes it as he gets older, that and sitting on my feet he keeps comfy on the marsh.

I am all for vests in some circumstances, and they have a place as do collars i supose, many is the time i have wished i had a collar on the dog when trying to help them up a sheer mud ledge but sore fingertips from your nails digging into your fingers as you grab the scruff is a small price to pay compared to a twig on a floating stump hooking up in the collar and dog being set for big trouble.   I agree its doubtful very doubtful but still personally i could not bring myself to risk it.

  vests are the same on open tidal flows i fear the worse and dont use a coat in these sittuations its just my choice.

  On salt marsh like the wash etc on the shore i do use a vest but if i were to shoot the river or up on the edge i would rather my dog did not have a coat on.

  Its each to his own not saying i am right or even close to it but its what i do.

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Posted (edited)

Marshman I feel the same, never out a collar on my dog and if I was over a river I wouldn't put a vest on him. Where I shoot it's just marshland and the water isn't a worry as it's not flowing.

The creek further along from our marsh is full of seals and I wouldn't put a dog anywhere in it.

Edited by figgy

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1 hour ago, figgy said:

Marshman I feel the same, never out a collar on my dog and if I was over a river I wouldn't put a vest on him. Where I shoot it's just marshland and the water isn't a worry as it's not flowing.

The creek further along from our marsh is full of seals and I wouldn't put a dog anywhere in it.

In such circumstances as those i would use a coat too, its not putting risk into the equation, seals are a pain and need monitoring where dogs are concerned. i remember that lad who had to destroy his dog up at the Ythan a few years ago. must be terrible. 

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Posted (edited)
On 07/10/2019 at 13:20, 6.5x55SE said:

 Plenty of marsh to shoot without sitting next to any of those river's

I don't shoot really big rivers but even so I would never shoot anything that i am not confident the dog can retrieve safely. Many a times I could have had something but I did refrained from shooting thinking of the dog and ended up with a blank...and a happy dog by my side

Edited by Continental Shooter

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Sometimes the actions of our dogs is beyond our control though.  I recall many years ago working my dog on a running partridge, I lost sight of the dog inside a wood and regardless of the recall whistle he did not appear. I started through the wood in the direction I thought he had taken. Right at the end of the wood was a small pond which had frozen over and there some 20 feet out was a hole in the ice with my dog floundering in it, holding the partridge. At the point of my going in, he made one final effort and managed to haul himself up and out onto the solid ice, still holding the partridge.  I would never have knowingly sent the dog onto ice to pick a bird, but once out of sight, he was on his own. I have seen a similar incident with a running partridge, involving a main road. The dog was on the far side of a thick hedge from the handler and ran the bird some 150 yards towards the main road, it then went onto the road, grabbed the bird,  and then returned on the side of the hedge where the handler was,  by now,  running towards him. In both incidents all ended well, BUT, the outcome could have been far worse. In all of my years in the shooting field I have witnessed some horrible injuries to dogs, barbed wire, sheep netting and probably the worst of all was a dog shot in the head when swimming after a wounded duck. The novice gun thought it was the duck swimming away and gave it another barrel, it was a springer,  sent in to retrieve the pricked bird. 

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Posted (edited)

We can oNly try and keep them safe, sometimes as we all have found they can out themselves in danger we had no knowledge of.

Edited by figgy

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1 hour ago, Westley said:

Sometimes the actions of our dogs is beyond our control though.  I recall many years ago working my dog on a running partridge, I lost sight of the dog inside a wood and regardless of the recall whistle he did not appear. I started through the wood in the direction I thought he had taken. Right at the end of the wood was a small pond which had frozen over and there some 20 feet out was a hole in the ice with my dog floundering in it, holding the partridge. At the point of my going in, he made one final effort and managed to haul himself up and out onto the solid ice, still holding the partridge.  I would never have knowingly sent the dog onto ice to pick a bird, but once out of sight, he was on his own. I have seen a similar incident with a running partridge, involving a main road. The dog was on the far side of a thick hedge from the handler and ran the bird some 150 yards towards the main road, it then went onto the road, grabbed the bird,  and then returned on the side of the hedge where the handler was,  by now,  running towards him. In both incidents all ended well, BUT, the outcome could have been far worse. In all of my years in the shooting field I have witnessed some horrible injuries to dogs, barbed wire, sheep netting and probably the worst of all was a dog shot in the head when swimming after a wounded duck. The novice gun thought it was the duck swimming away and gave it another barrel, it was a springer,  sent in to retrieve the pricked bird. 

That is the thing , we cannot do a health and safety assessment every time we send out our dog for a retrieve , a lot of times when the drive is over we send the dog into the wood , for most of the time the dog can be seen but a lot of the time it cant , and if they get wind of a runner we don't know where it will end up , I think we have to accept there is a risk even if we try to cut most of them out .

A couple of seasons ago one of our beaters who bring his Jack Russel dog on all of our shoots was beating through a wood , the little old dog normally go missing for a few minutes and then turn up again , on this day it went missing and well down the wood we heard a lot of barking and a few screams , when we got there the little dog have had a go with a Muntjac and came off worse with half his belly out , we stopped the drive and the dog was rushed to the vets , with J Rs they don't let a minor thing like it's belly laying in the open put it out of action  and after his whole belly was stitched up he was back in the beating line a couple of weeks later , only this time he was kept on a lead .

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Young dogs are really bad for recall on a hunt, but experienced dog should stop the action if recalled, at least this is what I try to train my dog on all the time. I always had pointing dogs and learnt the danger of weak recall back in the days when I shot in Italy. The number of boars was really high already and encounters were common even in daylight when chasing woodcocks or quails. Had few of my mates dogs running after these beasts in the woods, never to return...and sometimes be seen again. I couldn't bear the thought of anything happening to my dog through fault of mine, I prefer a dog that's not a great hunter/retriever than one that doesn't return 

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Update in today's paper where the person who sent the letter in with the heading ( Spare A Thought For The Duck ) was more concerned about the duck , he was saying if he hadn't shot the duck just for his sport and pleasure in the first place then the emergency services wouldn't have been called out and his beloved dog wouldn't had been put in danger .

Can't really argue with that .

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