Hunting Upland Every Day

For the last seven seasons I have hunted upland game every day of the season. Over this time I have learned a lot and refined my hunting technique.

If you want to hunt every day the most important thing is to have a pack of dogs, not just one. Dogs need to be rested, and seem to get injured if they are hunted too much. I run three dogs, and most of the time they only get to hunt once every three days.

Mabo, my oldest dog, only goes out for a 30-45 minute hunt because he is arthritic and gets too sore from hunting for too long. My other two dogs I try to hunt for a maximum of two hours a hunt. Sometimes this doesn’t happen, especially if we hit birds at the end of the hunt, or have to chase a cripple, but we try to keep to 2 hours a hunt maximum. They hunt a bit more frequently than Mabo, but I still don’t hunt them every day. Even so they stay asleep most of the day when they have a day off, and they don’t mind having a day off.

Mabo, Bruce & Dave telling me to hang my head in shame after missing both birds of a double rise.

Hunting every day puts pressure on the dogs, and this means frequent trips to the vet. I never think twice about taking the dogs to the vet because without them I cannot hunt. I am lucky that I have a great vet, Dave Kruger, who my dogs love and I named Dave the dog after him because Mabo liked Dave the vet so much.

The only other really tough part about hunting every day is having to be mentally tough when you are knackered from too much hunting or a bit crook. Then you have to harden up and get out. The first three seasons I hunted every day I was wasted after about three weeks of the season, but now I seem to have built up the tolerance for this kind of high volume hunting.

Good gear matters too, with good boots and safety glasses important for keeping me hunting every day. Good gear makes hunting more pleasant and protects areas vulnerable to injury. The right pants keep the inevitable gorse and blackberry scratches to a minimum. Boots stop ankle injuries. Safety glasses protect eyes.

Also important is a sling for your shotgun. Carrying a shot gun around every day without a sling results in sore elbows. The weight of the gun being carried for a couple of hours a day is enough to cause elbow tendon pain unless i have a sling for my gun.