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Contact information
For information on the dog training and trialing, contact:
Jaqi Christopher
Assistant upland ecologist
Bureau of Wildlife Management

Bird dog and dog club training

bird dog

Captive ducks used for dog training are usually missing one hind toe or tattooed. Many dog trainers may also release ducks with brightly colored tape on their wings for identification.

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Rules and regulations


The dog club application is the application for 3 types of licenses: hound dog training, dog club training and bird/hound dog trialing. Please use a separate copy for each type of license.


The bird dog and club training licenses allow you to purchase, possess, release into the wild, hunt and use the following captive reared species for dog training purposes only:

  • quail of the subfamily odontophorinae,
  • gray partridge,
  • chukar partridge,
  • red-legged partridge,
  • mallard duck and
  • ring-necked and reeves pheasants.

A bird dog training license is not needed:

  • to accompany a trainer or observe dog training activities,
  • to assist in handling the dogs,
  • to handle dead birds killed by a licensed bird dog trainer,
  • to train on a licensed hunting preserve or
  • for dog club members to train on a licensed dog club training property.

A bird dog or club training license does not authorize commercial shoots, organized hunts or the selling, breeding or propagation of captive wild birds. No person engaged in training dogs may kill or cause to be killed any free-roaming wild animal including unprotected wild animals without the proper licensing.

Bird dog training leg bands

Bird dog training leg bands are free of charge and can be requested at any DNR service center.

Bobwhite quail, pheasants and gray partridge must be banded around the leg with a bird dog training band supplied by the department prior to being released for dog training purposes. Captive mallards used for dog training shall be identified by one of the following methods prior to six weeks of age:

  • remove the hind toe from the right foot,
  • tattoo a number or letter combination on the web of one foot,
  • band one metatarsus with a seamless metal band or
  • pinion a wing by removing the metacarpal bones, rendering the bird permanently flightless.

The licensee may not have any unused department issued bird dog training leg bands with them while engaged in dog training activities. Wild birds and birds that are not banded or identified as required above may not be killed during training exercises.

Bird dog training on free-roaming wild animals

Do you need a permit to train your dog or conduct a field trial? [PDF]

August 1 - April 14: Training and trialing on free-roaming wild animals is allowed statewide without a dog training, trialing or dog club license on private land with permission and public land with no leash regulations.

April 15 - July 31: To protect nesting birds, all dogs must be kept on a leash on DNR public hunting lands, except on Class I and some Class II training grounds. Training and trialing on free-roaming wild animals is allowed on Cass I and some Class II dog training grounds with a license. Training and trialing on private land outside of the Northern Restricted Area is allowed and does not require a license.

May 1 - June 30: Dog training and trialing on any free-roaming birds is prohibited on all public and private land in the Northern Restricted Area.

Last revised: Wednesday January 31 2018