You Don’t Need a Dog to Hunt Birds


You’ve seen them: Photos of hunters with their bird dogs proudly standing with the birds they’ve flushed and retrieved for their master. Though a dog’s job is different depending on the bird, upland bird hunting and waterfowl hunting typically go hand-in-hand with bird-dogging. But what if you don’t have the time to train a dog? Or what if you simply don’t want to own one? Andrew McKean, editor of Outdoor Life, says bird hunting without a dog is tough but doable.


In some cases, you can be even more effective without a four-legged hunting partner. A good bird dog is a seamless extension of yourself. But a poorly trained dog will flush birds out of range, and chase deer and rabbits instead of roosters. And hard-mouthed hounds will treat your precious birds like chew toys, bringing mangled corpses to your hand—if they retrieve them at all.

Given the choice between a bad dog and no dog at all, you’re wise to leave Hellhound in his kennel and hunt alone. You’ll get birds, but you should expect to work like—wait for it—a dog.

Photos: Ohio Department of Natural Resources (top); Vincet Soyez (above)

Previous article6 Reasons to Spike Camp for Elk
Next articleTop 10 Shooting Tips from Army Marksmen [VIDEO]
Shannon Rikard
Shannon Rikard is a freelance writer and photographer with a passion for conservation and wedding and portrait photography. The Archery Trade Association and National Wild Turkey Federation have published her work. A self-professed word geek, she enjoys Wheel of Fortune, crossword puzzles, and finding a dynamite synonym to illustrate any point. After starting her career in public relations with a national conservation organization, she ventured out on her own with Copper Door Studios.