By Chance Chamberlain
Hunting has always been a staple of the American lifestyle and Wayne Baier continues the tradition by offering world-class birddog training and guided pheasant, chucker and quail hunts at Baier’s Den Kennels and Hunting Preserve in Peculiar.
Baier said, “My father started the kennel business back in January of 1950 when he moved up this way from his home state of Texas.
“There were no hunting preserves in the state of Missouri and in 1952 my dad applied for a hunting preserve permit from the Missouri Conservation Department. They approved his application and my father’s land became the first hunting preserve in the whole state.
“We were the first preserve, so that also means we are the oldest,” he added.
Baier grew up working in the family business, something in which he had no choice. He remembers all the hard work in the kennels or in the fields, but also he once in a lifetime experiences he had.
“It was hard work to keep the dogs fed and cleaned and trained, but the hunts were where the fun was. Dad made a lot of good friends through hunting and fishing. We also had a famous fishing lodge back in the day as well, which a bunch of the Kansas City Athletics and New York Yankees fished in the ‘50s and ‘60s,” Baier exclaimed. “We really had a lot of fun working here when I was young.”
Baier knew he always wanted to take over the family business, but in his adolescence, a draft notice threw a wrench into his daily routine. Baier said he joined the Army and served on an aircraft carrier, but his heart remained on the hunting preserve.
“I got the dreaded draft notice in the mail when I was young, so I joined the Army. My brother was in the Air Force, so I was prepared, a little bit, for my notice. I was shipped out to San Diego, California and then placed on an aircraft carrier for a few years and I really enjoyed my time on that thing,” he chuckled.
“I always knew I wanted to come back to work on the hunting preserve though. That was where I wanted to be because I enjoyed it so much. My brother stopped working here after he got out of the force, but I came back home to carry on the business.”
Baier’s father “Buddy” died nearly two decades ago, and that is when Wayne’s duties expanded to include owner of Baier’s Den.
He said, “When my father passed, I carried on. We train a lot of dogs for a lot of people and we take hundreds of groups on hunts every year. The kennel is not like it used to be, though.
“Do not get me wrong, the kennel business is still good, but back when I was growing up, we always had at least 300 dogs in that kennel. Not all of them were in training and most were boarding, but we had 300 dogs,” Baier explained.
Both sides of the business go together at Baier’s because the bird populations drive hunters to train their dogs and Baier said the bird population is rising, which will increase training.
“Back when I was young everybody had birddogs, but it has changed because a disease had lowered the bird population for many years. Now, that number is rising again, so we will start to see more dogs come through our training program and that excites us,” he said.
According to Baier, he likes to stay busy, but he limits the number of dogs he trains each month in order to have time for other aspects of the business and his personal life.
“Nowadays I usually train six to eight dogs a month, which is right in my sweet spot. The dogs really take a lot of time and hard work to take care of. My staff and I usually spend about 15 hours per day taking care of the dogs in our kennel,” he said.
Baier’s kennels are state and veterinary inspected and approved which ensures the best care for every dog they house. Baier said they board dogs for both short-term and long-term time periods.
“We take good care of the dogs here in our kennels. I have always been a dog owner and we had family dogs growing up. We work hard to feed the dogs every day and to wash them regularly to keep them healthy and clean.
“If we are training a dog, they will also go on hunts daily so they learn as much as they can while they are here,” Baier explained.
Baier’s Den offers guided hunts from Sep. 1 through April 1 daily.
Hunters are required to have either a Missouri Hunting Permit or a Hunting Preserve Permit, which can be purchased at the preserve.
To schedule a hunt or to enroll a dog into training call Baier’s Den at 816-779-5234. Baier’s Den is located at 25219 S. Baier’s Den Road., Peculiar.