How to get access to land on which to train a gundog is a common question on gundog training forums.
Finding somewhere to train is a problem for a lot of gundog owners, especially as they move on to more advanced work.
Using public land can be a problem because of the distractions it poses in terms of other dogs.
And also because you cannot fire a dummy launcher in a public place without risking a helicopter full of armed police descending on you!
Essentially there are three ways to get access to land, and each involves payment of some kind.
- Rent a field or paddock
- Pay a gundog trainer for supervised access to his facilities
- Swap access to ground for helping out on a shoot
Rent a field or paddock
This is best suited to the earlier stages in training, and is often far cheaper than people think it will be. Especially if the field is scruffy, difficult to access, poorly fenced and overgrown (just what you need). There are fields like this dotted all over the place. The owner can’t be bothered to fence the field securely for renting out for ponies, and pony owners want somewhere to park and no ragwort.
I had a field like this until very recently for £10 per month. If you share it with a friend it’s a give away.
Pay a gundog trainer
Paying a professional gundog trainer gets you far more than gundog tuition. It gets you access to his facilities. This is a better bet for people with dogs that are at a more advanced stage in training. Check before booking a lesson that the trainer has the facilities you need.
Some trainers will let you use their game pens, or ponds, quite cheaply in their absence if you don’t need their help and know what you are doing.
Swap access for helping out
This is one of the best ways to get access to a great piece of ground. Yet few people take keepers up on it. During the spring and summer, keepers and small shoot syndicates work hard repairing pens, electric wires and the like.
Most are only too happy to let a gundog owner have a small corner of the shoot to train their dog in exchange for some hard labour.
You won’t know until you ask.
What keepers and landowners do not like, is people that expect something for nothing. Give a little first, and you are likely to be rewarded.
How about you? How do you find land to train your dog on? Any suggestions are welcome!