There are plenty of bird farms all over Wyoming, and it’s usually not that expensive to buy a few birds to get your young hunting dog some experience. It’s a great way to get the dog the scent of some live birds, and in the private hunting ranch setting, you can control more of the variables than you’d be able to in a wild hunting situation.
There’s a cost to bird farm hunting, but it’s worth it for the training your dog will get. The price generally ranges from about 20 to 50 dollars per bird.
Even though many bird farms will allow you to put the birds where you know they are, and then guide the dog to them, I’d advise against this. Maybe get a general idea of where the birds will be, but don’t find out exactly where they’ll be. Then let the dog find the birds.
If you know where the birds are – or think you know where they are – you will likely goof up the dog’s natural instincts. Just be patient, sit back, and watch what the dog does. It’s great training for the dog, and it’s even better training for you. The dog will learn to find the birds, and you’ll learn how the dog’s behavior changes when it gets the scent of a bird.
The pen-raised bird season, like the regular hunting season, does have a closing date. You can only hunt pen-raised birds until the end of March. After that, you need special permits, so book a hunt at a bird farm soon. After the season closes, you can still get involved in hunt tests and field trials, and you might want to look into those options. But for a quick, relatively inexpensive boost for your young hunting dog, the bird farm option is a great way to go.
It’s a good excuse to extend your own hunting season a little bit, too.