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Our hunting dogs start as an investment — much like a mutual fund in its infancy. We spend sometimes thousands of dollars on them, spend exponentially more on food, care and vet bills, and we never even blink an eye because we are optimistic the juice will be worth the squeeze.

In return, for most of us, our dogs become an integral part of our outdoor pursuits. Whether they help us find birds, retrieve our ducks, run bear or harvest rabbits, any serious hunting dog owner has an investment in their dog upon which they expect a return.

That return stretches far beyond the field and woods, though. They become an emotional investment, a part of our family, part of our kids’ lives and without them, we aren’t quite sure what life would be like.

Photo provided courtesy of Dakota 283. 

Like any smart investor, we must protect that investment to reap the return. I remember reading a news article in the Cedar Springs Post in 2013 about a dog that had gone through a car’s windshield on impact. The owner allowed the pet to roam freely throughout the car. I was heartbroken, and that shaped how I transport and care for my dogs today.

Recently, I was provided a Dakota 283 G3 Framed Door Kennel to put through the ringer. Before using a Dakota 283 kennel, I was using the cheapest crates I could find, often breaking the nuts that held them together or cracking the plastic when I moved them from my house to my truck bed.

The Dakota 283 is rock solid and made in the United States. Its rotomolded, one-piece construction makes it able to withstand the constant beating that hunting dogs and owners place on our equipment.

Each kennel has larger-than-normal vent holes, small drain holes in the corners, a molded carrying handle that is part of the one-piece construction and a door that is able to be locked. These are some of the luxury amenities that make this kennel a joy to use.

However, the most important factor is the construction of Dakota 283 kennels. I swear they are bulletproof, well pellet proof — literally. I have thrown mine around, tossed it in the truck bed, dropped it from my tailgate on cement and I am unable to find a flaw in the kennel. I can rest assured that no matter what happens when I am transporting my dogs, they have the best possible probability of survival because of Dakota 283 kennels.

Being able to lock the kennel is another important factor that I never had on my cheap kennels. Hunters are generally good people; but, I can feel more comfortable when I am two miles from my truck knowing that whatever dog isn’t running at the time is locked away and safe.

Back to your investment, though. Some might balk at the $350-500 price tag on the kennel. To me, that is ludicrous. Think about how much that puppy cost, how much its first year of vet bills were and how much you spend on food. The price of the kennel is a drop in the bucket compared to the amount of money you’ve invested in your four-legged, best friend.

What would you do if your hunting buddy came up injured after an accident or, worse, died? The kennel’s cost doesn’t seem like that much in comparison.

You simply aren’t going to find a kennel like a Dakota 283. They are made in the U.S.A., ship for free, can be used as a modular system and are the protection of your investment. Mine will be with me in the coverts and at the marshes from now on, and I will be at ease knowing my dogs are safe, contained and able to hunt another day.

Green’s small Munsterlander drink from the Dakota 283 Dine ‘N Dash — an innovative feeding/watering system that Green carries with him on those long fall days in aspen stands and marshes. The food and water is all contained and can be accessed whenever needed.