One of the things that appeared to be a fiasco during our recent hunting trip was the “Quick Spot Safety Vest” that I purchased for both of my dogs just prior to the grouse opener in September. I bought the vests from a popular online supplier of equipment for hunting dogs. I’ve had good experience with the company before so I had no reason to expect anything but good quality stuff from them. These vests may prove to be an exception to that rule, but I haven’t completely made up my mind yet.
The picture above shows Peck in his vest after we returned from the first hunt in which the vest was used. I didn’t put the vests on the dogs until the day before the deer hunting season began. The area we hunt tends to attract a lot of deer hunters. Most of these folks are good, competent, experienced hunters, but it only takes one stupid mistake to turn a good hunt into a tragedy. That’s why I always outfit the dogs and myself with blaze orange vests as soon as the woods start to fill up with deer hunters.
Several times during our hunts I found Peck running through the brush without his vest so I had to go back and find the vest and reattach it to the dog. I actually like this because I would rather see the vest come off than have it trap the dog in some briars or a fence. On the other hand, the shredding of the fabric was a constant annoyance as it made the vest even more likely to hang up on every bush, branch and stick that the dog brushed up against.
Three days after the picture above was snapped, Peck’s vest was completely shredded and no longer useable. I dug out an old vest from my hunting stuff and he made it through the rest of deer season with a 3 year old vest that was made of stronger material. Unfortunately this vest is no longer available and its Velcro is almost worn out.
I really liked the increased visibility both for the dog’s safety and for my convenience in keeping track of 2 flushing dogs in thick brush. I could definitely be interested in using the vests on all our hunts if I could find the right combination of availability, affordability and durability. The vest pictured above cost $14.95 plus shipping so it may be inexpensive but, it’s not really cheap enough for me to consider it disposable.
To be fair I have to mention that Kaia’s vest made it through the whole trip. It’s definitely ripped up a bit, but I think Kaia considers it a fashion statement. I guess I could sew some new Velcro on that old vest that Peck was using. The girls at Woofers Grooming have already offered to dye him bright orange, but I’m not willing to try that… yet.
Seriously, if you have some really great safety vest or other visibility enhancing solution, I’d love to hear about. Post up the name of the product and a pic if you have one. Thanks in advance!