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Do you hunt your dog with a bell?
Unread 11-23-2018, 12:17 PM   #1
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Default Do you hunt your dog with a bell?

I had nearly lost a Brittany Spaniel that had run off after deer that had been bedded down many years ago and had a Swiss bell on him that I felt kept him from hearing my commands and whistle. Since that day I have never hunted with one again. I have asked friends that say they just love to hear the sound of the bell but donít think it helps in any other way. I use a collar with the sonar that can be set for constant beeping, point only beeping and tones on command. I find that my dog can hear me all the time, especially when running. Has anyone else felt that a bell on the dog is keeping them from hearing any commands?
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Unread 11-23-2018, 12:31 PM   #2
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The bell I use on Grace sometimes prevents her from hearing my whistle and I think it causes some grouse to ‘get outta Dodge’ a little before Grace and I get within pointing/shooting range.

But the reasons to bell my dog in the big woods that I hunt certainly outweigh any reasons not to bell her.





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Unread 11-23-2018, 12:48 PM   #3
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No I don't use a bell. I read something 30 years ago that said a bell can affect the dog's long term hearing. For reason, the article just stuck in my head. I don't hunt any woods and hunt on the prairie where it is a little easier to keep track of the dog. Although on Tuesday, it took about 3 minutes for Belle to find to me in an uncut corn field. I had no idea where she was.

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Unread 11-23-2018, 12:57 PM   #4
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i always bell my setters- even though i can't hear one very far any longer, i use a garmin gps tracking collar now for back up in case they get out of hearing range ( 20 feet or so )

personally - i think whether it bothers the birds or not depends on a lot of factors - over pressured birds get spooky- and some of my setters, as with my Osthaus, would hit a point at full speed and pin a bird right there - I really do not think the bell affected them- Griffin is a slower moving dog and i would not be surprised it give some birds a warning. i can't say i have seen it make a difference in their hearing a command.


side story - i was showing my son around the deer sign (he bow hunts) in one of my woodcock covers and we ran into a couple other deer hunters in the parking area - they were telling me about seeing some guy and young girl hunting "rabbits" with a big white dog wearing a bell - they thought that was the silliest thing they had ever seen. I didn't bother to tell them that was me and my oldest daughter that day , and we moved plenty of woodcock while "rabbit hunting"
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Unread 11-23-2018, 01:06 PM   #5
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I simply can not her a bell anymore. I used the beeper collars for a number of years but am sure it damaged my dogs hearing. Turn the collar on and place it by you neck. You won’t be able to take much beeping before your ears start ringing. I now run my dogs with the GPS tracking collar.
Since my dogs normally are hunting out to 200 yards from me it is really the only option.
Garmin has come out with a new basic GPS system with limited functions which is perfect for many of us that just want to know, where is my dog, and has the ability to correct them.
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Unread 11-23-2018, 01:47 PM   #6
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I used to use a bell, and both of the dogs that wore them went deaf (but they were both old when they went deaf). That's certainly not conclusive, but suggestive. I now use a beeper collar that I can turn on and off remotely. Sometimes I run them on point only if the cover is is such that I can generally see them. I'm sure the more constant ringing of a bell does have a negative effect on a dog's hear (especially if a louder bell). Likewise, I have no doubt that beepers also have a negative long term effect. I have the tracking/training collars, but I don't find them as reliable in letting me know if the dog is on point, and having to look at a handheld device is not conducive to getting to a point in a timely fashion (for me, at least). I've used the beeper collar (and, yes, they do sound like a garbage truck backing up) for so long that I can tell what the dog is doing by the sound -- wether he's coming toward me or going away, and when he's about to stop. I'm sold on the beeper, but I know not everyone likes them.

I'm also convinced that when we grouse hunt in Northern Minnesota, the beeper helps keep wolves away from my dogs.
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Unread 11-23-2018, 02:05 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Garry L Gordon View Post
I used to use a bell, and both of the dogs that wore them went deaf (but they were both old when they went deaf). That's certainly not conclusive, but suggestive.
.

as with so much of this - this is my opinion only, but I do not think we give enough thought to what a shotgun fired over their heads for several seasons does to their sensitive hearing - i expect more damage is done that way than by beepers -

i had beeper collars for years - that i ran in locator mode - i just had trouble with determining the direction of the sound - that is why i went with the gps collar - it simply says HEY dummy- your dog is 100 yards that way -

true funny story last year, i had the gps collar on Macallan (golden retriever) and was busy at the landing putting decoys and such away - cold day - when i stood up and looked around he was no where in sight - so i whistled - no answer - so i whistled again and tapped the collar - still no response - i brought up the map and it said he was a hundred and sixty or so yards away in that direction - i looked that way and laughed - walked up the hill and there he was - smarter than me - he was warm and dry in the club house where there was a fire going
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Unread 11-23-2018, 02:16 PM   #8
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I will probably get a bell for Sherwood. Dad never used them on his brittanies
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Unread 11-23-2018, 02:22 PM   #9
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I have a collar with the beeper and it is annoyingly loud. I don’t switch the beeper option on anymore because when it goes off Grace hates it so much she runs straight to me. And no, she’s not gun shy in the least.





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Not because I think they're better than the other breeds,
but because I'm a romantic - stuck on tradition - and to me,
a Setter just "belongs" in the grouse picture."

George King, "That's Ruff", 2010 - a timeless classic.
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Unread 11-23-2018, 02:27 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mills Morrison View Post
I will probably get a bell for Sherwood. Dad never used them on his brittanies
If you hunt thick cover a bell is invaluable in immediately locating your dog.





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"I'm a Setter man.
Not because I think they're better than the other breeds,
but because I'm a romantic - stuck on tradition - and to me,
a Setter just "belongs" in the grouse picture."

George King, "That's Ruff", 2010 - a timeless classic.
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