There’s an old gag about a bunch of kids playing hide-and-seek in the early evening hours around their neighborhood. One of the more ingenious ones figures that by hiding in a barn nearby would be the perfect place to conceal his body from the rest of the players.
No sooner did he enter the empty stall of a horse did he hear the door to the to the structure slam shut. Then he detected what sounded like the click of a rather large padlock. When police found him a couple of days later, covered in hay and hungrier than the stallion that one time took up residence in the stable all he could do say to the cop that discovered him was, “well, at least I won.”
Hunters Playing the Same Game with Their Gun Dog
Sort of like that when you hit the forest with your trusty hunting companion. You want to make sure they don’t spook the prey by barking out “here I am.” You don’t want that game bird to see the mutt before you’ve had a chance to scurry up tonight’s meal.
The canine has to be able to see the fowl. The question: How do you do that without letting the bird catch wind of your retriever before you pull the trigger?
We’ve got a few ways to keep that gregarious pup out-of-sight before its presence alerts the waterfowl that there’s more in the woods than berries and bugs.
- A sea-worthy canine.
You’re putting around in the water anyway; why not buy an inexpensive, lake-worthy aluminum boat? Launch the floater into some natural cover. Put on a pair of waders, settling the mutt in the vessel. Get a light cover and camouflage the animal with you standing behind the boat. Wouldn’t hurt to toss some brush around the outline of the skiff while in the water. The dog can see, you’re standing dry in the pond. When the mutt spots its prey, it’ll get all riled-up causing the fowl to take flight. BLAMMO! Now just steady the boat and let the dog fetch the kill.
- The blindfold box.
The only difficulty you’ll have with one of these permanent structures is that after a season-or-two you’ll need to do some spring cleaning. Vines, newly grown branches and the like will cloud the retriever’s field of vision. Another downside: If the box has a roof, your pal doesn’t have X-ray eyes. Make sure you have an entranceway cut into the blind so the dog is able to come-and-go as it sees fit. Another option is slicing some portals in the sides so the pup can take a look from different angles.
- Plop down a couple of chairs in shallow water.
You sit in one; the canine sits in the other. If the pond is a little too deep, use your carpentry skills to put the chairs on stilts. You don’t want the mutt to have to endure standing in the water while you recline waiting for a target. Obviously, you don’t want brightly red-colored chairs. Get some camo paint to make the objects fit into the scenario.
- A field hide made from chicken wire.
These portable hunting blinds can be simply made by purchasing some chicken wire. Cut it into a 48-inch stretch and connect it to the ground with some 3-foot long dowels. Gather-up some natural brush and sticks. Make sure you don’t cover it so well that the animal can’t see what’s going on outside. This solution is perfect for hunting anywhere there’s not a lot of places to hide, like riverbeds.
- Get a climbing stand.
You can get a ready-made deal or make your own. Basically we’re talking about some 2-by-2 lumber that’ll hold a large enough slice of a ¼ inch sheet of plywood. Use a ratchet strap to connect the platform to a tree. Spritz some more camouflage paint on it so it fits-in with the surroundings.