Take turkey hunting to a whole new level by including your canine companion while out in the field. Dogs can be used to break up a flock, giving you the opportunity to call and intercept a bird. This underutilized technique is legal in most states.
If you’d like to try turkey doggin’, these five tips will help you to select the most suitable breed for hunting turkeys and train your pooch for success.
- Select a proper breed
If you want a top-notch turkey dog, try getting a breed that is a cross between a pointer and a setter of some type. The Boykin Spaniel was bred exclusively for turkey hunting, while the Appalachian turkey dog was created by crossing an English pointer, English setter and plot hound.
- Dedicate time to training
Maximize the dog’s potential by spending a lot of time in the woods training and hunting. Besides genetics, interaction and training will greatly affect the dog’s capabilities. The best turkey dogs are trained all year long.
- Introduce and use turkey scent
Use turkey wings, feet or feathers to help dogs identify the scent. Eventually, the dog must be able to track the turkey by foot, airborne scent, visual contact, or all three.
- Encourage your dog to bark
The only way to know if your dog has broken up a flock of turkeys is if it barks on the bust. Try teasing the dog with food, turkey wings or pen-raised turkeys to get them to bark.
- Teach your pup to sit stationary
Dogs must be able to sit still when the hunter is calling the birds into range. Work with your pup and make him/her sit or lie motionless for several seconds each day. Then increase the amount of time every few days until they can remain motionless for several minutes. Some owners train their dog to sit quietly in a duffel bag. This way the dog can remain out of sight while waiting for the birds to come in. Accomplish this by feeding the puppy inside a bag to get them accustom them to the environment.
For best results, try turkey doggin’ during the fall to make for an enjoyable and memorable hunting experience. You may find you have a new turkey hunting buddy.