Dennis Anderson, Bill Smith and Paige Olson of River Falls, and Dave Jensen of El Paso were at our place at noon on Oct. 17 for the pheasant hunting opening day ceremony. The air temperature was nearly 70 degrees and there wasn’t much breeze. The ground was dry and the vegetation was crunchy. I wear a blaze orange hat and shooting vest and ask that my hunting partners are similarly dressed for good visibility. The grasses and tall sunflowers in our prairie are over six feet high so it’s important to be able to see your friends when it comes time to shoot. About a third of the way through the field our young dog Jack flushed a rooster pheasant, giving me an easy going away shot. Paige Olson’s parents’ experienced black lab, Rip, retrieved the bird and excited young Jack got a taste of feathers. By the time we reached the far fence line, we were hot and the dogs were dogged. Dave Jensen’s big black lab, Bodie, was panting like a steam engine. We gave the dogs water and let them rest in the shade before we resumed hunting. Another rooster made a low escape flight into the woods on our return walk through the prairie. The dogs and hunters drank lots of water when we got back to the vehicles. It’s important for people and dogs to keep hydrated when hunting. I usually drink about a pint of water before starting to hunt and more when we take breaks. My dog has learned to lap from a bicycle water bottle but he drinks like a camel from a dish. We didn’t hunt more that warm day to avoid stressing the dogs. Dogs hunting in warm weather should be monitored closely. Watch for heavy drooling, uncontrolled panting or a staggering walk. If any of these signs are present, stop hunting and cool down the dog in a pond or stream or splash water on his belly. Let the dog cool down in the shade or in an air conditioned vehicle. If symptoms of overheating persist, get the dog to a veterinarian right away. Upland bird hunting is good exercise but it takes endurance to go the distance and leg strength to step through and over tough cover. Frequent, long cross-country walks with the dog are good practice to get in shape for fall hunting. Keep an eye on hunting friends who aren’t in the best of shape. It’s better to rest than to have to call an ambulance. After a mild summer and an extended warm fall we are looking forward to hunting in cooler weather. Please send any comments and suggestions for this column to me at rfjsports@rivertowns.net.   --Dan Wilcox, Outdoor Columnist

   Dennis Anderson, Bill Smith and Paige Olson of River Falls, and Dave Jensen of El Paso were at our place at noon on Oct. 17 for the pheasant hunting opening day ceremony. The air temperature was nearly 70 degrees and there wasn’t much breeze. The ground was dry and the vegetation was crunchy.I wear a blaze orange hat and shooting vest and ask that my hunting partners are similarly dressed for good visibility. The grasses and tall sunflowers in our prairie are over six feet high so it’s important to be able to see your friends when it comes time to shoot.About a third of the way through the field our young dog Jack flushed a rooster pheasant, giving me an easy going away shot. Paige Olson’s parents’ experienced black lab, Rip, retrieved the bird and excited young Jack got a taste of feathers.By the time we reached the far fence line, we were hot and the dogs were dogged. Dave Jensen’s big black lab, Bodie, was panting like a steam engine. We gave the dogs water and let them rest in the shade before we resumed hunting. Another rooster made a low escape flight into the woods on our return walk through the prairie.The dogs and hunters drank lots of water when we got back to the vehicles. It’s important for people and dogs to keep hydrated when hunting. I usually drink about a pint of water before starting to hunt and more when we take breaks. My dog has learned to lap from a bicycle water bottle but he drinks like a camel from a dish. We didn’t hunt more that warm day to avoid stressing the dogs.Dogs hunting in warm weather should be monitored closely. Watch for heavy drooling, uncontrolled panting or a staggering walk. If any of these signs are present, stop hunting and cool down the dog in a pond or stream or splash water on his belly. Let the dog cool down in the shade or in an air conditioned vehicle. If symptoms of overheating persist, get the dog to a veterinarian right away.Upland bird hunting is good exercise but it takes endurance to go the distance and leg strength to step through and over tough cover. Frequent, long cross-country walks with the dog are good practice to get in shape for fall hunting. Keep an eye on hunting friends who aren’t in the best of shape. It’s better to rest than to have to call an ambulance.After a mild summer and an extended warm fall we are looking forward to hunting in cooler weather.Please send any comments and suggestions for this column to me at rfjsports@rivertowns.net. --Dan Wilcox, Outdoor Columnist

  

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