Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Training your hunting dog

The orange flowers are Butterfly Weed!
Training a dog to hunt has always been one of those mystery areas for me, and in part because of that, it's also something I find intrinsically interesting.
While working on the feral hog story, I got in touch with Mike Schippa. He's president of Michigan's chapter of the Versatile Hunting Dog Federation.
The federation is a group of people who train dogs to do a variety of hunting-related tasks.
Often, we think of Labradors as waterfowl specific hunters, pointers for field work, beagles for rabbits, etc. But Schippa said lots of dogs can excel and quickly switch between many different types of hunting.
The group is also part of a wider association of hunting dog groups that are taking part in a stewardship program that allows them use of the Highland State Recreation Area in exchange for volunteer work to improve the park.
It's a neat partnership. As the daughter of an avid hunter, I take a lot of pride in our state's hunters who care deeply about conservation and the environment. This is another example of group of folks doing just that — and providing their dogs with jobs to boot. These are the things that make me feel all warm and fuzzy.
That's Mike Schippa in the foreground
Check out the story I wrote: Michigan hunting dog group trains at State Park in Highland.
Also, did you notice those beautiful orange wildflowers in the photo and video? That's called Butterfly Weed. It's a flower I first photographed in the property behind the house my husband used to rent. I fell in love them then and have been overjoyed to catch sightings of them along the roadside or in parks here and there. They're in bloom right now.
Oh yeah, I also picked up two during a recent visit to American Roots native plant nursery in Brandon Township. I'm naming one Pride and the other Joy.
Sorry ... I've drifted away from my usual dog-centered musings ...

Video of the Michigan Versatile Hunting Dog Federation at work

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