Why use a Chest plate
Pig hunting is an exhilarating, rewarding yet dangerous sport. It involves spending countless hours on the hill training up your loyal team of dogs to hunt an animal that can quite easily kill any one of them in the blink of an eye. Most hunters see their hunting dogs as part of the family and it’s a big loss that hits home hard when your best mate doesn’t follow you home after an encounter with a tough wild boar.
Game Gear have a range of dog protection gear that will increase the chances of your dog’s coming home with you at the end of the day. The pinnacle of these being the Game Gear Chest Plate.
7 years ago we approached a NZ hunter who quickly converted his approach to hunting by running these Chest Plates on his harder dogs. Here are a few words about the reasons why he chose to hunt with these lifesaving tools.
‘ Hi my name is Joe Edlington, I am a hunter based up in Northland, New Zealand. I run a team of dogs I would class as ‘hard bailers’, they will hold most pigs but bail if necessary. Up until nearly 3 years ago I was having trouble with vet bills on every good boar the dogs managed to catch, I am not a millionaire so these visits to the vets were setting me back big time.
With all these injuries my dogs were getting I was thinking there must be a way to prevent the damage. I was aware that over in Australia they are big into using their Chest Plates, this idea never appealed to me at first because I thought they would just end up slowing our dogs down in the terrain we hunt here in NZ. I thought it would be a waste of time hunting in areas of tight scrub and gorse, which is abundant in certain areas I hunt. But the fact I was spending more money than I earned at the vets every other week, maybe it was worth a try?
After getting in touch with a few of the brands in NZ and Ozzy, I decided on a Game Gear Chest Plate, it looked the part and was designed as good if not better than the Oz models from what I saw. The guys at Game Gear told me to try it out so I started running it on my old boy Nig. To be honest the first few hunts I wasn’t too sure about it but soon started noticing how Nig was able to move about un-restricted. I even saw him jump clear over a 7 wire fence with it on! Now the only test left was to catch a couple of good Boars in different types of bush.
At this stage I wasn’t sure if it was slowing his top speed down because I could never see him in full run because of the bush, but the capture of a good boar or 2 will answer that question- I thought. I started lucking out and getting the dogs into some ‘piggy’ spots, then after a few hunts only capturing smaller pigs I managed to get a good boar. Nig caught it and the result was no vet bills!
Within the next few months he caught me 4 or 5 nice boars with good jaws in all sorts of bush, tight scrub, gorse, pines and open native. All the old thoughts of me wondering if they would slow my dogs down where now long gone and I was amazed at the way he could get through the gorse fast and hit top speeds when it comes to open places like the big native and pine blocks. I was getting no vet bills which was awesome! I could see where the tusks had impacted the Chest Plate but not pierced and ripped him underneath.
Now it’s coming up 3 years since I first started hunting them, I have since hunted all over the South Island and North Island in plenty of different environments and caught plenty of pigs with the dogs wearing them. The injury rate is way down, with only the odd rip on the dogs back end where the Chest Plate didn’t cover. I now run a Game Gear Chest Plate on all my harder dogs with no worries and will continue to do so.
I would highly recommend using them on your dogs, I have been through the trialling stage so know how you would be feeling about taking the step, but do what I did and give it a go. Get one on your main dog and catch a good boar with him/her wearing it, then you can make the decision, its saved me thousands at the vets so if it works for me there’s no reason it won’t work for you.
All the best,
Have a quick flick through some of Joe's hunting videos on You Tube - Click Here