If you have a playful dog, it won't take much time to turn him into a shed-finding machine.
Anyone who's tried to shed hunt knows it's a bit like looking for a needle in a haystack.
I constantly take walks this time of year, keeping an eye out for shed antlers and scouting for spring turkey hunting season. I rarely find sheds on my own.
You have to get lucky or do grid searches with a fairly big group.
That's why a hunter's best friend can be awesome and its really not as hard as you might think to train them.
Bob Murray with Point Blank Outdoors was a dog trainer and handler for the New York State Police for 13 years, and was generous enough to share some awesome tips for training a shed-hunting dog.
You don't need a specific breed of dog to successfully shed hunt, but retrievers tend to do well.
As Bob suggests, it also helps to have a dog that loves to play.
Here are the key shed dog training tips:
- Stop working the dog if it gets bored.
- Wear latex gloves so the dog isn't identifying your scent.
- Grind off the points of the antler so they don't get hurt. Otherwise, negative reinforcement might cause them to avoid sheds.
Even if they aren't a great shed dog to start, just a few minutes a day will help their development.
And while your dog may not constantly be finding sheds at first, it's an advantage no matter what.