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Tips for late season waterfowling w/ your dog?

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I just got my first lab this past May. She's 7 months old right now and I'm wondering about taking her duck hunting late season, when the water is actually gelling into ice. I've left her home the last couple days and feel bad, but I don't want to have her get hurt or sick. Any thoughts or ideas on what's too cold for a dog, if there is such a thing, and stuff like that.


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I have hunted my labs when they have had to break ice. I have them wear wear neoprene dog vests for warmth and protection. The ice can be sharp and cut bellies and nipples. I also have a pad for the dog to sit on in the boat, one of those sleeping pad things for camping. One thing to be real careful about with ice is when it gets thick enough to support a dog near shore but not out farther. Watch your shots and where you land ducks. If one drops out aways and the dog gets half way there and breaks through you will have a huge problem. They have a heck of a time getting out, if they can at all. I had this happen to my dog 2 years ago on a duck I shouldn't have shot at that sailed out into a lake. Dog saw the duck go down and went after it. He broke through about 75 yds from shore and was screwed. I took a chance and went out after him, didn't have a boat. Luckily the water did not get much over my waist and I got to him. Then we had a struggle to get me somwhere to warm up. Iced over rivers are another concern with current under the ice. Dogs have broken through and been carried away.

[This message has been edited by bigdog (edited 11-06-2003).]

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I guess the only other items I will add to the ones above (neoprene vest) is I also have some towels to towel my pup off after the retrieves and maybe some sort of blanket to wrap them up in if it is real cold inbetween retrieves. Use your judgement you will be fine.


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  • Your Responses - Share & Have Fun :)

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