Local man breeds, trains top hunting pups

Thousands of people have traveled across the country to Marshalltown to buy a four-legged, furry friend.

Justin McGill is the owner of Hunters Point Kennel, 3409 Iowa Ave. West, a breeding and training kennel for pointing Labradors that hunt pheasants, quail and chucker.

McGill has about 40 dogs. These dogs are ready to breed, puppies or retired pointing dogs.

The facility is located on seven acres – something McGill said he takes pride in.

The kennel includes one bank of adult kennels that contain 14, 5 feet by 12 feet runs. The floors are concrete and on a five degree slope that drains into a trough and the trough is connected to a 1,000 gallon septic system, McGill said.

The runs are divided by chain link fencing. The area is surrounded by a half acre fenced in exercise yard.

Whelping areas are inside an insulated building with radiant floor heat. There are three 8 feet by 16 feet runs inside and 8 feet by 8 feet outside. They are cleaned daily, McGill said.

The training part of the facility includes two large areas.

The first is located on the facility and includes CRP, live birds and a creek. The second one is about five minutes always on a private 80 acres that includes large tracts of CRP, training ponds, dikes, a fast running creek, brushy fingers of time and a wetland marsh.

At eight weeks old they train, McGill said.

“They are hunting dogs and family companions,” McGill said. “Hunting dogs are a good size market, there’s breeds galore.”

The hunting market is large, McGill said.

McGill supplies bird dogs for two lodges in South Dakota for range shooting operations.

“South Dakota has figured out pheasants are worth money,” McGill said. “Iowa hasn’t.”

Pheasants are worth $92 a piece.

“People come from all over the United States to hunts pheasants,” McGill said. “They stay in hotels, eat at restaurants, they chase pheasants through the fields and the farmers have a fee or they have a hunting lodge that the people stay in.”

In the United States labs outmatch any other dog 13 to one, McGill said.

“It’s a big deal,” McGill said. “The thing that makes us fit in the market place is labs outmatch every other type of dog in the United States so you have a guaranteed market for what you do.”

McGill said he also enjoys competing with the dogs.

“It’s fun competing in hunting contests and shooting to retrieve stuff,” he said. “That’s how you build the notoriety of your dogs. Your dog becomes more valuable as they retire. Your dogs win awards and the more valuable your dogs get and you sell the puppies based on that.”

McGill said he has sold dogs in 49 states, Scotland, Korea, Canada and Mexico.

“Our puppies go literally everywhere in the United States,” McGill said. “Probably 90 percent of our puppies are sold as family companions; 10 percent go in as full-time guide dogs.”

He hasn’t sold many in Marshalltown. Since his time in Marshalltown he has sold three dogs to locals. Four out of 100 puppies he sells to Iowans.

“It’s not a local business,” McGill said.

However, all of the veterinary work including emergencies or caesarian sections are performed by Dr. Dennis Drager at the Animal Clinic in Marshalltown.

“They do a wonderful job,” McGill said.

If someone is interested in visiting the kennel, e-mail McGill at hunterspointkennel@gmail.com or call him at 812-216-4119.

Hunters Point was first established in 1987 in Southern Indiana. In 2008, the kennel moved to Marshalltown.