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Author Topic: Lost my dog for most of the day.  (Read 31744 times)

Offline Marc

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Lost my dog for most of the day.
« on: February 12, 2017, 11:51:25 PM »
I recently had the bad experience of losing my dog while hunting...

He got separated while headed back in (due to my negligence).

I searched everywhere for him, and went back to the area I hunted several times, and blew my whistle, fired my gun and called for him (although he is almost deaf from a previous ear infection)..  I drove for miles glassing any areas I could, and asked anyone I ran across to keep an eye out.

I was hunting my club, and he is an older dog (11-12 years old) but looks and acts like a 6-7 year-old, and I thought he knew the club well.  I figured he would show up at my hunting shack, but never did.

Just before sunrise, I called the wife and told her I was staying out; I would be missing the family dinner for my youngest child's B-day celebration (although not her actual B-day)...  It was the end of the season, and nobody would be out in this secluded area to find him; I knew I had to find him that night or the next morning.

My wife made me promise to go out one more time and look in the exact tule patch I was hunting, and look carefully (she said he would be hiding).  I knew this was complete nonsense, as I had removed the dog stand, and no dog would be standing in the water all day...  Besides, I had already walked out there and check...  But I obliged, and kept my promise.

Looking very carefully, he had found a high mound of tules, and was indeed buried under them; the exact spot we had hunted that morning, and I sure missed him on the first check.  I could not believe he stayed out in that water all day, and he was a bit out of it, but followed me out.  I believe he nestled in those tules for warmth, and had I not looked extremely carefully I would not have seen him.  He was too out of it, to respond to my presence until I grabbed his collar.

A couple things I learned:

1) Dog riding out on the quad in the morning has no perspective of where you are going or where he/she is at when hunting.  When I walk out with the dog, they have a good idea and perspective of where everything is though.
2) If you lose your dog, check the area you hunted, and look in the exact spot you hunted or lost him.  He did not know where he was, but he was able to find where we had hunted.
3) When you think all is lost, do NOT give up!

I had already found a care-taker near-by, and my plan was to leave a kennel in the shack with his bed and one of t-shirts I was wearing, with some food.

Although not the case yesterday, myself and friends have had dogs get lost and disoriented in the fog.  They cannot tell directionality with a whistle, so use your voice if this happens...  When hunting fog, always get out of the blind and keep a line of sight on the dog.  I keep a light in my pocket, and if the retrieve turns into a chase, I pull out the light, and keep in sight of the dog, so he can see me when he picks up the bird.

If you lose a dog in the fog (or any other situation), at least leave a kennel behind (maybe leave a shirt you were wearing or a dog bed as well).  A friend of mine lost a dog a few years back, and he took this advice, and found the dog in the kennel after driving around and glassing for him.
Did I do that?

Fly fishermen are born honest, but they get over it.

Offline 2eagles

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Re: Lost my dog for most of the day.
« Reply #1 on: February 23, 2017, 08:51:37 AM »
I lost my old boy at the marsh one day, so I feel your pain. My Lab was older and was pretty much deaf. Going out in the dark, I didn't watch him close enough and he just got away from me. I was looking for him all morning and came up empty. I put his crate in the parking lot and was going to check the other side of the marsh, when other hunters came walking in with my dog. They said he hunted with them all day and retrieved all of the ducks for them. I can't help but think they were just going to take him home with them as their own. Puts a fear in you when the dog is lost!

Offline Bowguy

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Re: Lost my dog for most of the day.
« Reply #2 on: June 15, 2019, 05:48:41 PM »
Mark I know this is old but why do you think Dogs can’t tell whistle direction? If a dog is out of sight and you’ve taught him to recall by trill any dog would come right to where you’re standing. Now I can’t speak for dogs but you mentioned almost deaf from an ear infection. I’d bet he’s totally deaf in one ear. I have that issue and cannot triangulate sound to get direction.

Offline Marc

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  • Posts: 1983
Re: Lost my dog for most of the day.
« Reply #3 on: March 12, 2020, 12:30:24 AM »
Sorry I missed this post earlier...

Have a buddy blow a whistle in the fog...  And then have him yell your name.  The whistle is far more difficult to tell directionality.

When hunting in thick fog, I hunt with my light in my vest, and if I send the dog out past visibility, I am immediately out of the blind with the light on.  It is amazing how disoriented the dogs get, and I have seen more than one young dog run in exactly the wrong direction to a whistle command.

They will still respond to a sit whistle, and if I hear the dog headed in the wrong direction, I hit the sit whiste, walk towards them and call their name (with my light on).

Granted, I have hunted in some thick fog, and every season there are several days that if you can see a bird, it is well within range, and birds will fall outside of view.
Did I do that?

Fly fishermen are born honest, but they get over it.