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Business helping dogs prepare for Montana hunting season

Fly Creek Kennels
Posted at 5:37 PM, Oct 18, 2022

For nearly 20 years, Marty Golden has been training hunting dogs, and every year when hunting season arrives, it's his opportunity to see his hard work pay off.

"The thing that I love most about that... is when people call me or send pictures during the season," Golden said. "That's when it all comes to fruition."

Golden owns and operates Fly Creek Kennels in Ballantine by himself. The training ground now spans over 10 acres of land and allows Golden to try and make the drills as realistic as possible.

He trains about 10-15 new dogs each year, but also accepts previous client's pups for what he calls "tune-ups." Pair those dogs with his own personal pets, and Golden's calendar is certainly booked, but you won't hear any complaints from him.

"It just never gets old watching them jump into the water," Golden said.

Golden showed MTN News a blind retrieve, meaning that the dog never sees the bird go down, but trusts its handler to use a whistle and gestures with their hands to track down the target.

"So, you see she's slightly off to the left of it so I'm going to stop her," Golden explained as his dog swam toward the duck. He then blew his whistle and pointed his hands in an attempt to "try and get her back in line with it a little bit."

The job doesn't come without its headaches, and the dogs are not always perfect. While demonstrating some drills to MTN, one dog was a little too eager and tried to jump into the water before the blank was fired by Golden.

"No! Here. Here. No!" Golden said as he made sure the dog stayed by his side. "I can't send him on that sorry guy. That's technically a break. He went out in front of the gun and that is unsafe."

After two decades of training dogs, Golden isn't a stranger to the common mistake every now and then. He also said he is most thankful for the relationships his job has helped him form, such as his friendship with Travis Waldhauser.

"You create a great friend," Waldhauser said. "You create a friendship through these dogs, and a friendship will last a lifetime. Marty is a great guy."

"That's why we do it," Golden said. "We want to go out, we want to hunt, we want to relax, we want to hang out with friends and be with our dogs, but we don't want them to be a nuisance. You always want to come home with the dog."