A Well Designed Hunting Vest Saves a Dog’s Life

Written by: Michael Goodwin


Michael Goodwin and Cooper share the fruits of an Alaska ptarmigan hunt.
Photos by Michael Goodwin

The fall hunt for ptarmigan along Alaska’s Denali Highway was another fickle weather day–32 degrees and low clouds. Since it was just me and my Brittany, Cooper, I loaded my new vest with the usual survival gear: water, extra wind and rain gear, dog electronics and ammo. Three miles off the road, it started to snow, and the ptarmigan were flying out of the high country. The weather got worse, but the bird hunting got better and Cooper filled my game bag.


Cooper working a hillside, looking for birds, as the weather starts to turn foul.

We were both tired of slogging in the slushy snow and started our hike out, but after 2 ½ miles, Cooper hit the wall and simply stopped walking. He lost focus and was mostly non-responsive. This was a serious condition I’ve never seen in him, so I knew I had to move. I arm-carried him for 200 yards and realized that wasn’t working for either of us, so I put my Orvis vest to the test. I wrapped him in a reflective blanket and cradled him in the back bag with his bounty for the last half mile. Back at the truck, an hour of rewarming techniques and fluids luckily brought him back.


Back at the truck, Michael was able top bring Cooper’s temperature back up to normal.

This is the third strap-style vest from Orvis I’ve owned. The Pro Series Hunting Vest is well designed, built tough, and does what the marketers proclaim. It carried 50 pounds when called upon.  Well done Orvis: your product really helped get us back to hunting together.

Michael Goodwin is a retired State Park Ranger for the Alaska Department of Natural Resources. He lives in Anchorage.


With Denali looming in the background, Cooper is back in the field and ready to work.

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