A little over two years ago, I decided that if a dog could be used to locate drugs in the gasoline tank of a car, why couldn’t I train one to find antler sheds. The answer is history, as I have done just that. With my back ground of training bird dogs and having worked with some of the leading drug detection dog trainers, it was just a question of which dog would work best for the job and putting my scent training methods to work.
Since there wasn’t any reference material for me to use, I went to work on my own technique, I call my training method, “The science of participative training”. I chose Labrador retrievers, after working with a number of other breeds. I have found that a puppy, as young as ten weeks can be started using my method. These dogs started at this age are ready for the field at ten to twelve months. You can train an adult dog for this job as long as he has not been used to hunt live game and has the required attitude for hunting sheds.
Last fall I was asked to hunt on a 750 area high fence operation in Northeast Missouri. I used four of my young dogs, that had not really been used in a natural setting and we found 21 sheds in a short three hour hunt. It was so exciting to watch the young dogs go right to work, just as if they had been in the field for years. Just as exciting was the faces of the follows that owned the operation, they were amazed. This spring I took twelve dogs to Canada, and found 210 sheds in five days.
Can dogs find sheds, there is no doubt. Most of the sheds found by the dogs were in areas that a human could never have found them. They were in draws, deep brush, corn stubble, etc. Many outfitters are finding the use of one of these dogs, can truly expand their hunting season. Guided hunts are becoming popular.
Antler shed hunting can be enjoyed by young and old. It is truly a family sport and you don’t need a gun, or a license and it has no limit on the season. With the use of a trained Antler Dog, just look for a field or wooded area that has potential deer population and go hunting. Remember my motto “If your shed hunting with out a dog you’re just going for a walk in the woods”.
I am always happy to talk with anyone interested in purchasing a dog or anyone that has questions about training their own dog. You may call me, Roger Sigler at 1-816-289-1154, or visit my web site at www.antlerdogs.com.