Be weary of buying a dog that is hunting in packs. What I mean is so many dogs look really good when they hunt with a group of dogs vs. hunting on their own. Dogs tend to be great followers when they have a solid alpha. Always ask the seller if you can hunt the dog buy himself to see how he is without the pack. Sometimes when that dog you were considering hunts alone, he will tend to run off track or turns out to be completely useless when he is alone. Now you would have been jipped out of money and a trip if you had not ask to let the dog hunt alone. Also, if you ask the seller if you can hunt the dog by himself and he/she says, “Well he runs better with a pack” That is a red flag that this guy is full of crap and is trying to say anything he can to get this dog off his hands. STAY AWAY FROM PEOPLE LIKE THAT. Basically what they are doing is putting a poor quality dog with a top rated dog and trying to convince you that the poorer quality dog is doing all of the leg work.
The most important thing to look for before buying a started hunting dog, is a dog fighter. When you have your game where you want it, the last thing you want is your dogs fighting. So many sellers sell fighters and you will never know this because you did not take the time to think about this situation. Example: You are with the seller and you are interested in a male dog. Well, the seller takes this male out, but he takes this male out with all female dogs. This is a red flag that so many buyers look past. They do not think about why this seller is running a male dog with all females. About 90% of the time the reason why the seller is doing this is because that male dog WILL fight with other male dogs when he is in the field. It is a sign of dominance. The fighting dog wants to control everything. It does not work this way in the hunting world. Dogs run in packs and work as a pack. It goes the same with females, if the buyer is interested in a female and takes that female out with all males, IT IS A SIGN.
If you are not interested in buying a started dog from this seller because you have noticed a plethora of red flags, do not try to start a confrontation with the seller and front him out, just say politely that you are still not sure what you are looking for and you will let the seller know what you plan on doing soon. This will usually tell the seller that you are not interested without you actually saying those words and it saves you from having to explain why you do not think this person is a good dog trainer.
Be extremely careful before buying a started hunting dog. If you are looking to buy a dog that needs to run in packs, take the time to go see how the dog performs. If you are buying a started bird dog, ask the seller if he can give you some references of past customers. It never hurts to get references. The more people you ask about this particular seller and get a postive or negative answers, the more money and headaches you will save in the long run.