Choosing Your First Hunting Dog program June 29 at Busch Shooting Range will help hunters find an ideal canine

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Saint Louis
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DEFIANCE, Mo.— “This could be the beginning of a beautiful friendship” is a line made famous in the classic film Casablanca.  However, it can also apply when welcoming a new hunting dog into the family.

People and dogs have been hunting partners for some 20,000 years.  In fact, dogs were likely the very first animals that humans ever domesticated. 

There are a number of things to consider before starting that “beautiful friendship.”.  The Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC) will host a special free program, Choosing Your First Hunting Dog, Saturday, June 29 from 9 - 11 a.m. at the August. A. Busch Shooting Range and Outdoor Education Center in Defiance.  The free program is open to ages nine and up.

According to the American Kennel Club, today there are 30 officially recognized sporting dog breeds.  Dogs from other breeds can also be trained as helpful hunting companions. 

For anyone thinking of getting their first canine hunting partner, this class will explore the responsibilities of having a hunting dog, how to pick out the right dog, and what goes into training.  It will cover questions to ask the breeder, qualities of the various breeds, pedigrees, and more.

The event will also include a live demonstration with retrieving dogs.

“Hunting waterfowl and upland game is great fun but having your own hunting dog makes the hunts even more enjoyable,” said MDC Outdoor Education Center Manager Bryant Hertel.  “Plus, you have a hunting buddy and family member who goes on the hunts with you.”

Waterfowl hunting aided by the unique abilities of a dog can add a lot to the enjoyment to the hunt.  The dog’s keen sense of smell and special talents for tracking down prey will also help reduce the chance of losing a wounded bird.  Whether a terrier, gun dog, hound, or retriever, finding the right canine friend for hunting can truly be the start of a beautiful relationship, both in the field and at home.

Choosing Your First Hunting Dog is a free class; however, advanced online registration is required at

The August A. Busch Shooting Range and Outdoor Education Center is located at 3550 Route D, approximately five miles west of Highway 94. 

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