October 08, 2013


Tips for Choosing a Bird Hunting Dog

Choosing the right bird dog for a hunter's needs is essential. There are many options out there, from a puppy that needs complete training, all the way up to an experienced bird hunting dog. There are also a number of options for how to take care of your dog, the environment he'll live in, and how to train him.

A hunter has a variety of options before him when he begins the search of his perfect bird dog. If a challenge is what the hunter craves, then a puppy might be the right choice. While more work will need to go into them in the beginning, the hunter can be sure that the dog gets trained to the hunter's specific needs; there will be no surprises.

On the other hand, an experienced dog can jump right into the field and hunt. If the hunter doesn't want to be bothered with the time it takes to train a puppy, an older dog may be the right choice, keeping in mind that this dog has been trained for another hunter's needs. You may encounter a few surprises along the way with a new and experienced bird dog.

A compromise between the two is a younger dog with some partial training. This dog still needs work and time put into him, but the hunter can leave his mark on the dog's training. This dog isn't so experienced that he's set in his ways.

The most important thing to look for in a dog is one that meets your specific needs. Keep in mind what type of bird you want to hunt. Another consideration is the type of environment the dog will be in. Will the dog be out in the natural elements? Many hunters prefer their dogs to be acclimated to the same type of environment they'll be hunting in.

There are also a number of options for kennels. The kennel may be heated, and something to consider are other dogs. Does the new bird dog get along with other dogs? Will more than one dog be sharing a kennel and will the kennel be big enough? Will the dog be able to get exercise on it's own, or will it rely on the hunter for an alternative form of exercise? All of these questions need to be asked before purchasing the dog.

Something else to consider is where you'll be hunting. There are many public lands available for hunter's to hunt, but all too often they are overcrowded with other hunters and their dogs. One option is a wild game habitat. These lands are operated by private citizens or groups, and they are maintained just for the hunter. There typically is a fee for use, but this fee goes to maintaining the property, and keeping the game well stocked and healthy.

If a hunter signs up through a commercial outfitter there are often generous bag limits, and a large number of private lands available for use, increasing the chance of success for a hunter and his dog.

About the author

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September 30, 2013


Tips and Tricks for the Texas Dove Hunting Novice

In Texas, bird hunting aficionados eagerly anticipate the months of September and December when Texas dove hunting season begins. Although this particular game is one of the simplest to hunt for wingshooters, especially in the Pearsall, Dilley, Uvalde and Hondo areas, rookie hunters may find the sport complicated at first. Thankfully, there are many ways to improve a hunter's chances of catching a dove or two.

Novice hunters often blast away at the target, which actually doesn't work very well. To hit the bird, hunters should remember to establish a lead as placing his attention on the easily visible body or tail can lead to misses. The hunter should focus on the target's eye or its front. The hunter's head should also be kept in a proper position down the stock to avoid shooting high.

Practice can improve a novice hunter's chances even further. Devoting time at a firing range helps, but it doesn't adequately imitate the conditions of hunting a small bird. Fortunately, skeet shooting offers a realistic dove hunt practice. Skeet shooting is a sport where participants shoot at clay disks flung in the air at high speeds. Some Texas dove hunting destinations offer the sport as part of a package as a way for their clients to practice.

Additional Advice

Aside from improving shooting skills, a rookie can improve at hunting doves by scouting the location and finding the best shooting position beforehand. A place where the sun is behind the hunter to avoid its glare is ideal. Decoys can also help ensure that doves alight at a chosen location. In a Texas bird hunting ranch, hunting guides can help hunters finds the right site.

Although experienced hunters going on a Texas dove hunting trip can choose not to use camouflage, rookie hunters may have trouble as any movement can startle the birds. To stay hidden in the South Texas grain fields where Whitewing and Mourning doves are abundant, wear light green or khaki hunting camo to match the color of the grain stalks, and avoid wearing anything that stands out as doves can see color.

In Texas, bird hunting usually starts in the morning when doves first take flight, and continues through the day. Bring warm clothes for chilly mornings, but since the September Texan sun can soon prove brutally hot, it's also important to brinty plenty of water to avoid dehydration.

Through practice, understanding their game, and keeping the body in condition, rookie hunters can improve their shooting and enjoy a successful hunt.

Resource Box

Monte Cruz Ranch is located in Uvalde, a city within the bountiful hunting grounds of the Golden Triangle of South Texas. Dove hunting is one of its specialties as its location offers access to the largest concentration of Whitewing and Mourning doves found in North America. The ranch also offers skeet shooting. It also offers other Texas bird hunting packages. For more information, visit or call 512-280-9990.

September 30, 2013


The Different Types Of Clay Pigeon Shooting Sports

Harry Winchester is a Clay Pigeon Shooting Enthusiast with 25 years experience in the field. He has recently taken up writing about the sport to encourage people to learn clay shooting.

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September 30, 2013

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3-Stand Sporting Clays Course

By Jim Kesel

Sporting Clays is still growing in popularity within the shotgun sports community. The lack of availability of clays course in many parts of the country prevents many shotgun enthusiast from enjoying the sport. The cost of setting up a 10 to 12 station course is beyond the financial ability of most rural clubs. Even investing into a 5 stand with ten stations means the purchase of 10 to 12 traps, which is also a major investment. Setting up a good quality skeet and trap field is much more reasonable.

While skeet and trap shooting are still popular they tend to become as one of my sons observed, “boring”. In many ways traditional as they are, trap and to a lesser degree skeet are an unnatural approach to shotgun shooting as it relates to the real world of bird hunting. How often do you follow your bird dog around with the gun mounted to your shoulder? In addition it does not take too long with practice to shoot a perfect round of trap and a while longer to do so on the skeet field. Shooting a clean round of sporting clays is no mean feat of accomplishment. Many will argue that I am comparing apples to oranges and some will even cry heresy. Sporting clays is much more challenging but many times finding a place to shoot clays can also be a challenge.

However, if the local skeet and trap club has an existing combination skeet and trap field, it is possible with little effort make your sport much more challenging and interesting. Utilizing both skeet house and the trap houses at the same time will provide shooters different and interesting target options. Our course of 50 targets is shot from the low gun position. It is begun using skeet stations 1,2,6,7 where the shooter under takes a normal course of fire for skeet including doubles. This followed by a report pair consisting of a single target is thrown from each skeet house and upon report a single from the trap house is thrown for a total of 7 target presentations. At skeet stations 3,4 and 5 using the normal skeet protocol of a single bird from each house would be followed by a report pair off the first target thrown from the trap house followed by target using both the high and low house. Each station would present 6 targets to each shooter. At station 8 the normal skeet protocol is used with a single bird from each house.

Through out the course, a total of 48 targets are thrown with two option targets to be used at the time of a target miss or without any loss at the shooters discretion. This provides for a 50 target presentations or about half the number of targets presented at standard sporting clays course. The most appealing aspect of the using the existing combination skeet and trap field is of course the monetary savings.

We initially tested our course of fire using experienced sporting clays shooters. This included one shooter with a low 90’s average. They reported that the course was much more challenging than they first anticipated. Granted it is not the same course of fire as a standard clays course but it still was challenging to the point that so far only one shooter has completed the course clean. Two additional people have broke 98 targets to date.

We also invited trap and skeet shooter to test out our course as well. It was surprising how well they did on the course. One trap shooter broke 89 targets on his first round using a 20 gauge and stated he would definitely be back to shoot with us again. The number one complaint given was about the required low gun position where the entire firearm had to be positioned below the waist of the shooter. This was later modified to require the butt of the firearm below the waist. It was surprising that this change did not result in higher scores. As expected some of the died in the wool skeet and trap shooters did not care for the course. However, the vast majority thought it was fun and that is what shotgun sports are all about. Sporting clays shooters commented about the lack of rabbit targets being a significant difference between Standard clays and our course.

As we developed our course of fire we tried to think of a name for our endeavor. Names such as “3 Stand”, “Short Clays”, and “Hunters Clays” were proposed with the majority of people calling 3 Stand. As far as we are concerned we call it just plain fun. One observation that caught my attention was that after using the low gun shooting position, shooters were amazed about how much time they really had to break targets. Other comments that were noted included that shooters were able to focus better on the bird from the low gun position.

So if you belong to a range, sportsman’s or conservation club with a combination skeet and trap field, you can easily convert it to a 3-stand course of fire. Of course some clubs could devise their own course of fire to meet their facilities and needs. The cost is zero and it may attract additional shooters to your club and its shoots. It may even make you a better shooter. One thing it is not and that is boring. Sporting clays is fun and challenging and now it can be more available to the average shooter.

James A. Kesel, MS

Bruce Point Outdoors

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September 30, 2013

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Skeet Shooting with Just One Gun

Skeet shooting is a great sport and easier on the budget than sporting clays. However it normally requires the purchase of 4 shotguns, each in a different gauge. You can shoot skeet with just one gun and a set of subgauge tubes. This will save you money while giving you a competive edge.

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September 26, 2013


Uruguay: The Best Bird Hunting In South America

For years now, Sportsmen from around the world have quietly converged on Uruguay to take advantage of excellent, but little known hunting opportunities. The country features an unbeatable mix of European hospitality, a temperate climate and excellent accommodations. Condor Outfitters has organized bird hunting tours to the country for years. The company has these insights to share about this exotic, but convenient South American bird hunting destination.

The available species make both ground and wing hunting exciting options for hunters. Hunters routinely report bagging hundreds of birds in a few hours, and often need help to load and bag fast enough to take advantage of the plentiful opportunities available to them.

Three bird species are commonly hunted in Uruguay. Each one presents a different challenge to hunters.

They are:

  • Doves: Doves are plentiful in Uruguay. Huge flocks make regular trips to forage from sunflowers and other crops. They're the choice for high volume hunting. Hunters routinely bag several hundred in s two or three hour period. Hunting doves actually helps Uruguayan farmers, too because their huge numbers pose a threat to crops.
  • Pigeons: Spot-Winged and Picazuro Pigeons are challenging targets due to their erratic movements and speeds. They rarely fly in flocks like the doves do, and are not as plentiful as doves.
  • Perdiz: Perdiz are part of the Tinamou family of ground feeders. This is a great species which lends itself to be hunted over bird dogs. Perdiz have been compared to quail but does not convey the unique aspects of both the bird itself and the hunting experience. Perdiz are a distinctly South American bird, and nothing quite like them can be found anywhere else.

The hunt itself is just one part of the experience. Uruguay is known for its excellent food and fantastic hospitality. The Uruguayan barbeque, or Asado, is a mandatory experience for anyone who really wants to experience the best that the country has to offer. As skilled cook (or asador) grills a fantastic variety of meat cuts and sausages. Uruguayan cooking also features regional variations on classic Mediterranean cuisine, due to the role of that region in the country's colonial history. This is apparent in Italian inspired dishes, particularly deserts.

Uruguay's old world heritage also manifests in the incredible hospitality a visitor can find there. Condor Outfitters sends its groups to a working ranch, but the level of service easily meets (and often exceeds) that of dedicated hunting lodges. Spacious accommodations are the rule, and a skilled staff guides hunters through every aspect of the experience.

Taken together, these factors make Uruguay bird hunting an incredible opportunity for hunters from North America, especially when chillier seasons and make conservation-based restrictions make hunting at home a less attractive option. But even hunters with no complaints about the season at home flock to the South American country, with many making it an annual tradition. The mix of fair weather, fine hunting and excellent service make Uruguay too tempting to pass up.


About the Author

Lori Snow is the CEO of Condor Outfitters, an adventure travel agency specializing in South America Travel including Bird Hunting in South America. Contact Condor Outfitters at 770-339-9961 or by emailing



September 26, 2013


Get Your Dog Ready for the Season

By Jake Theron

Getting all hopped-up over the next hunting season? Your spouse is beginning to complain that you're spending more time with your well-oiled weapon of choice than you are with the kids. Notice the use of the kids as an excuse and not themselves. God only knows, your significant other has seen enough of your mug during the hot weather months.

Have you forgotten something? Look over to that lump of meat in the corner that used to be your retriever. Now's the moment to snap ol' Blue into shape for the hunt.

A Little Dog Time

Of course you regularly take the mutt for a short walk, but that's not enough conditioning to get the dog into a grueling day in the marshes. One mistake that owners make is to put their buddy through the paces about a week before the hunt. That's pretty useless. Do you think Arnold Schwarzenegger threw some iron for just a few days before he posed for the 1968 cover of Muscle Builder magazine?

Hell no. Like your animal, he bulked-up by eating a good diet and engaged in a daily dose of pumping-up. Same holds true for your dog. Starting during the summer days, you should be pulling back on the proteins. Then around two months before the season starts, load 'em with fats and high amounts of proteins. Regulate the diet with exercise. While it's always a good practice to follow the directions on the can or bag, monitor the dog. No two canines are birthed from the same mold.

Get Out There

Head for the hills, take the pup and a decoy along with you. Go to the lake while the weather is still good, swim around with the dog. Two purposes are served with both practices: The dog gets some exercise and so do you.

Take the cur into the woods for a few practice runs. No need to bring any heavy artillery. This is primarily to give you guys the lay of the land. Begin with an hour. Next time, shoot for two. By the time you get-up to three hours, that's should be your work-out limit.

Make this a weekend thing until the start of the season and vary the location. No need to leave your scent fowling-up the hunting grounds.

Take them to the dog spa and vet to get a trim, check-up, grooming and once-over for any sores that need some TLC.

Jake Theron is an avid dog trainer and hunter who loves to give people his wisdom. He tends to spend most of his time nowadays either training his companions or fulfilling his need to spread his knowledge by writing for []dog tracking collars.

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