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Here's a question for avid hunting dog owners and trainers.

Would you buy a membership to a training ground? If so how much would you pay annually?


I have access to an operation that has a few hundred acres. I was talking to the owner and mentioned that I thought he could benefit from allowing others to use the property in a controlled manner. His answer to me was put it together. I said I wasn't sure if the Delaware Valley would have enough support to make it viable. My full time profession would keep me from running this so it would need to be somewhat self sufficient.

I have trained at the English SetterClub and would look to set up the operation in a similar fashion.

Pigeons on site, game birds close by, launchers and other training tools free for members and available for a nominal fee for day users.

Available fields of 20-30 acres for each group to use. There's no large body of water but I would like to add a large pond if there was support.

Any thoughts from other memebers is appreciated.
 

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Discussion Starter #2
The property is close to the border of Bucks, Montgomery, Lehigh and Berks.

Total number of fields could be as high as 20.

I forgot to add that I would look to fence an area for younger dogs to work with out ability to escape when chasing.
 

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be sure to check zoning ordinance. i know of one that closed because they didn't keep their permit current and the new ordinance required an earthen berm to surround the whole site. too expensive.
 

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I would be too far away and have other training means, but I wish you luck in this venture.
 

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I would join. I belong to another club that is very similar to what you are proposing, grounds are much better for training retrievers (multiple ponds) but no birds or equipment are made available. I already have birds & equipment, so, offering them doesnt add much value to me. We pay $90 annual dues to use the current club grounds up to 347 days annually.
 

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This is something I would definitely be interested in if it were at the $90 annual dues or there about range. Another consideration would be the location but I believe it would be close enough for me to join. A pond would be an added bonus depending on size and vegetation or growth for duck search and blind retrieve training
 

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Absolutely would be interested would be great to get in on something on ground floor and build along keep me posted or pm any info
 

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It sounds like a very nice piece of property and potentially a nice place for the type of operations you are considering. I operate a training facility much like you are describing that is 500+ acres and I am going to share some insight into issues to consider and think about.

Costs will be much more than you think and without someone overseeing the operations, you and the owner will likely have issues at some point that makes you question whether it is worth it. Equipment costs, bird costs, and property maintanence as well as capital improvements are neither cheap and very time consuming. With the birds you have feeding and watering as well as a facility to keep them in. Maintaining and protecting the birds from predators and disease is a 24/7, 365 days a year proposition. Who checks water and feed when your on vacation. Who check the bird pens when you have a huge snow at 2 am and the chance of total lose of birds and pens are very likely. You will also need to replace birds killed in training and if you have pigeons, chukars, or quail, and a lot of members allow their dogs to kill or injure, how will you handle replaceing them? Who pays to replace them.

As mentioned, local codes and angry neighbors can be an issue. Many codes won't allow it depending on the zoning and shooting all hours of the day and anytime during the week can make for unhappy neighbors. The owner will also have to now deal with someone constantly showing up and being on property. Sounds Ok at first, but after a few years of it, will they be happy with the constant traffic on the property and the headaches involved. The money he is making off the operations had better be worth the hassle of the constant traffic or it might grow old quickly. Leasing property or working with a third party can compromise things a lot. If you own the property you can control everything. Leasing or partnerships had better be ironclad or you might end up with a lot of time and money invested at first and no place to train in the end.

How will you regulate access on the property and allocation of equipment and birds. I am sure you will get a large majority of good guys who will be part of the club but all it takes is a few "greedy" apples and things can go sour. Remember, once they pay their memberships, they are "Members". That means a different things to different people. For most, there accommodating and easy to work with. For others, that means a whole lot more and some will have no issues with feeling they are entitled to whatever they want. Who is responsible for broken, misplaced or lost equipment? Who gets to use what fields and what if member "A" has taken all of the training birds to his field as well as most of the equipment. Who is responsible for settling differences amongst members.

I think that your idea has a lot of potential and I am sure you would have no issue finding plenty of people who would be interested in joining. The main thing is to make sure that you have your property issues both with the owner and the municipality, if applicable, specified in an agreement prior to getting started. What are the owners financial expectations and how are you protected from him simply throwing you out. Who is responsible for costs of recall pens, coups, flight pens, equipment, birds, and even property taxes. You will also need to make sure that your membership requirements address many of the issues I have mentioned and are outlined to the members when they join.

I wish you success if you decide to try something. Just make sure you have thought things through well before jumping in. It can be a rewarding situation, but it can also be a bad one that costs you a bunch and leaves a bad taste in your mouth.

Good luck.
 

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Will,
Be careful with your investment into this kind of business, especially right now in this unstable economic time. The 1st item to be cut back on in 80% of all house holds in this kind of business climate, is outdoor sporting investments. I love your idea and have my own
Gun Dog Training Facility, based around the gun dog training of actual Grouse hunting dogs, I own my facility outright, everything is payed for already, my well off clients help support what goes on here, especially for the Military Veterans. We take no memberships, the overhead is strictly mine and it has grown each year. Setting up a Commercial Training Facility here in Pa actually costs big money today. When done correctly there is not much money to be made with it compaired to the massive hours required to run the business. If you do venture into this business world, the only real decent profit is in boarding & feeding your clients animals. This alone is a big investment today. Good luck with your venture, if you need some advise from time to time, drop me some private mail. For those who are considering a membership into a Regulated Shooting Grounds, if the club is run properly with the correct disciplne, its a great individual experience for both owner and dog.
Pine Creek/Dave
 

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Not likely, no.
But it would depend upon the amount, quality and maintainence of the cover along with the quality of the birds presented as each factor can affect a dog negatively.
Additionally, the volume of members would play a very large role.
W/o more info, a membership cost would be impossible to give.
 

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For me..it would have to have water onit..I'm a lab man now..gave up breeding and training GSP's over10 years ago..so i'd might be interested..I'm im Montgromery also..
 

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I would be in. Also, you need to check on insurance.
Also, birds may not need to be part of the basic membership. You are not far from Trace Pheasantry in Douglasville and members can stop and buy their own birds if needed.
 

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I would be interested and have ran a regulated shooting grounds with a few guys outside of Bally a few years ago.m I live on the border of Montco, Chester and Berks.
Send me a PM and we can talk more on other details.
 

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Pointer said:
It sounds like a very nice piece of property and potentially a nice place for the type of operations you are considering. I operate a training facility much like you are describing that is 500+ acres and I am going to share some insight into issues to consider and think about.

Costs will be much more than you think and without someone overseeing the operations, you and the owner will likely have issues at some point that makes you question whether it is worth it. Equipment costs, bird costs, and property maintanence as well as capital improvements are neither cheap and very time consuming. With the birds you have feeding and watering as well as a facility to keep them in. Maintaining and protecting the birds from predators and disease is a 24/7, 365 days a year proposition. Who checks water and feed when your on vacation. Who check the bird pens when you have a huge snow at 2 am and the chance of total lose of birds and pens are very likely. You will also need to replace birds killed in training and if you have pigeons, chukars, or quail, and a lot of members allow their dogs to kill or injure, how will you handle replaceing them? Who pays to replace them.

As mentioned, local codes and angry neighbors can be an issue. Many codes won't allow it depending on the zoning and shooting all hours of the day and anytime during the week can make for unhappy neighbors. The owner will also have to now deal with someone constantly showing up and being on property. Sounds Ok at first, but after a few years of it, will they be happy with the constant traffic on the property and the headaches involved. The money he is making off the operations had better be worth the hassle of the constant traffic or it might grow old quickly. Leasing property or working with a third party can compromise things a lot. If you own the property you can control everything. Leasing or partnerships had better be ironclad or you might end up with a lot of time and money invested at first and no place to train in the end.

How will you regulate access on the property and allocation of equipment and birds. I am sure you will get a large majority of good guys who will be part of the club but all it takes is a few "greedy" apples and things can go sour. Remember, once they pay their memberships, they are "Members". That means a different things to different people. For most, there accommodating and easy to work with. For others, that means a whole lot more and some will have no issues with feeling they are entitled to whatever they want. Who is responsible for broken, misplaced or lost equipment? Who gets to use what fields and what if member "A" has taken all of the training birds to his field as well as most of the equipment. Who is responsible for settling differences amongst members.

I think that your idea has a lot of potential and I am sure you would have no issue finding plenty of people who would be interested in joining. The main thing is to make sure that you have your property issues both with the owner and the municipality, if applicable, specified in an agreement prior to getting started. What are the owners financial expectations and how are you protected from him simply throwing you out. Who is responsible for costs of recall pens, coups, flight pens, equipment, birds, and even property taxes. You will also need to make sure that your membership requirements address many of the issues I have mentioned and are outlined to the members when they join.

I wish you success if you decide to try something. Just make sure you have thought things through well before jumping in. It can be a rewarding situation, but it can also be a bad one that costs you a bunch and leaves a bad taste in your mouth.

Good luck.
Great advice
 
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