When it comes time to get ready for hunting season, there are some preparations we all must make. Before we head into the great outdoors, we check our gear, replacing what is needed. Supplies on which we might be low are replenished. Along the way we might even splurge treat ourselves to a few new items. While this is all well and good, one thing we must ask ourselves is what do our rabbit dogs need?
The needs of actively hunting rabbit dogs can vary a bit based on climate. Some portions of the U.S. get very cold while other areas are fairly mild. Certain areas are very wet and others yet remain dry and arid. Since such variables do exist, there is of course some tweaking that must be done when outfitting rabbit dogs for hunting season. With that in mind, here are some items you may need depending on the weather in your hunting climate.
One thing all hunting dogs can use across the board is a blaze orange hunting vest. These vests promote safety and visibility in addition to protecting your dog from hazards. Thick briars and even the occasional barbed wire fence can do serious damage to beagle skin. Having a vest on can reduce this danger as well as the danger of a bite or injury from another animal your rabbit dogs may encounter in the field, such as a boar or snake.
Though dog paw pads are able to handle a lot of terrain, they are not immune to injury via cut or frostbite. Dog paws also sometimes seem to have an almost magnetic attraction to things such as burs and thorns. One way to keep paws protected is by adding some dog boots to the mix. Though they might not always be necessary and some dogs may object to them, they are good to have just in case.
Much of the water in the natural world may be frozen during rabbit season, but not all of it. This is especially true for those who hunt swamp rabbit. Since many swamps are located in the south where the temperature largely remains above freezing, the swamp is going to be wet all year long. This means considering a dog life jacket for your rabbit dogs might be a worthwhile investment. Sure, dogs can paddle, but you never know when they might be running through the muck and go under in a surprise deep spot. Having a life jacket will help keep them above water and on course.
Photo: Beagles on the Web
Despite having a fur coat, dogs can get cold just like we humans do. To prevent them from catching too much of a chill, dog jackets can be added to their hunting gear for those particularly cold days. The ideal dog jacket is insulated yet still breathable to keep dogs warm without overheating. These are great for use during transport as well as conditioning walks around the neighborhood in addition to hunting voyages.
Even though rabbit dogs are pretty hardy animals by nature, adding a little extra comfort can't hurt. After all, they are a smaller breed of dog without the same thick coat of some retrievers, so at times they may need a little human intervention to keep them safe and cozy. Additionally, spending a few dollars on protective gear ahead of time can save a lot of money in vet bills down the road.
Do you outfit your rabbit dogs in special gear during hunting season? What are your go-to items? Let us know in the comments.