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Where to Find Training Places and Partners to Train With
        Written by Michelle Linnane

  Whether you are, a seasoned field trialer or a hunt test enthusiast, finding good land to pursue your passion on is often a difficult undertaking. The task of finding people to work with to bring along your hunting dog,  or to simply throw marks for your hunt test/field trial dog is always a problem.

Finding Places to Train

       Topographic maps
         A topographic map uses contour lines to represent the shape and elevation of the land. Geological features, such as mountains, valleys, streams, lakes, rivers, and vegetation are identified, along with man-made features such as roads, transmission lines, and major buildings.

         Topographic maps are used by industries such as engineering, energy exploration, natural resource conservation, environmental management, public works design, and commercial and residential planning. In addition, they are invaluable for outdoor recreational activities such as hiking, mountain biking, camping, hunting, and fishing.Purchase  a topographic map of your state. You can order topographic maps from many online sites or book stores. I live in Connecticut, but I am close to the New York state border so I have topographic maps for CT and NY. A topographic map shows more than contours. The map includes symbols that represent such features as streets, buildings, streams, woods, and water. The first features usually noticed on a topographic map are the area features such as vegetation (green), water (blue), some information added during update (purple), and densely built-up areas (gray or red).

    Here is a picture of my land in New York and some of my ponds.

    In past years, many people I know have rented a plane for an hour looking for new water. If you decide to rent a plane wait for the leaves to fall off the trees for obvious reasons. This is not a bad way to find new places to hunt. Sometimes I find water just by driving around. This is why I like to have the topographic maps in the truck as it shows all the local roads. My maps never come out of my truck and they have come in handy many times.

Get permission
    Once you have found a place don’t forget to ask for the landowner’s permission to use the water or land. If you don’t have areas to train in you need to get out and look around. Unless you live in the middle of New York City there are always areas to train. You have to be willing to find them. Every year, I always try and add 3 new areas to my training
grounds, as we usually lose at least one or two. If someone takes you to a new area, respect that area and don’t go back there without the person who has obtained the permission. I cannot say enough about respecting other people’s training and hunting areas.

 Go to local field trials or hunt tests
      Here are some suggestions for finding more training partners and hunting partners:
 Go to a local field trial or hunt test and grab a catalog from the event. If you run in hunt tests then go to a field trial, if you run in field trials go to hunt tests. And if you are a hunter go to both. All the events have a catalog. There is a summary in the back of catalog with the names and addresses of those who participated in the event. The dogs are
also listed in the catalogue by running order. You will have to decide how far you are willing to drive to train with a  partner. Look through the back of the catalog to see who lives in your area. Then it is a matter of talking to the people at the trial or calling them later. Don’t be put off it this does not work as planned the first time. You may have to call  and talk to many people before you can find new people to train with. You might strike gold at first, and find new training partners with the first call. Also, most of the field people I know love to hunt so don’t be afraid to ask them about hunting.

       This past  year, I had someone who runs hunt tests call me. He knew all the hunt test people in the area. He was looking for more people to train with and decided to ask a local professional dog trainer if there was anybody else in the area that trained retrievers. My name was given so the gentleman called me and we talked for a long time and now we train together at least once or twice a week. He has a group that he trains with regularly and I was able to join in. Now if he cannot make it, I feel comfortable enough to still train with that group. It has worked out good for both of us, as he has places to train at and I know of different places and now we have doubled our training areas. Do not overlook any resource. We have certain nights that we get together and someone in the group will send an email or make the phone calls. Very often we will decide where to train next before we leave that night’s training session for the following week. Remember, nobody likes to be a social secretary, and everybody has a busy schedule so don’t make the same person chase you to train. You need to be willing to make a phone call or send emails to different people to coordinate dates and times for the group to get together.

Local gun club
       Go to your local gun club, this is a new source of training and hunting partners. Most guys get a dog and really don’t know how to train. If you run hunt tests or field trials, more than likely you can help others with their dogs in the off-season. Also, a hunter might only want to tune up his dog before hunting season. But if he comes out one night a week to train, this is one more person to throw birds then you had before.

Ducks Unlimited
     We just had someone move into the area from Minnesota and he met one of our training partners at a local DU  chapter. My partner asked him if he wanted to come out and train? And he has now joined us. I cannot say this enough, do not overlook any resource!

Group training etiquette
        Make sure that if you cannot make the training session that night you let the people you are training with know in advance so you don’t leave them short-handed. We trade cell phone numbers, office, and home phone numbers. Also, be on time as everybody is always fighting daylight. I have trained with people in the past who are always late and in turn have ruined training sessions. I have tried to cure these people of their constant tardiness. If they always show up late and you have run most of the dogs, you may consider not letting them run their dogs on that series. But remember, there is a difference from someone who is late and someone who gets there late because he/she came far or couldn’t get out of work so he/she arrived later than planned. If you cannot offer to bring your partners to new training grounds, than pitch in by offering to bring birds or other training equipment, such as a canoe or a rowboat when doing watermarks.

         I hope this has given you some ideas on how to look for new places to hunt/train, and how to find more people to train/hunt with. Good luck and enjoy the time you spend with your dog.

Michelle Linnane
2616 State Rt 162
Esperance NY 12066
518-488-8489 Day 

518-868-4566 Night



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