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Wirehair

Hunting from Horseback

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Craig Doherty

So, a number of years ago I was charged with the task of recruiting members for a 40K acre West Texas lease that was really wonderful.  I was talking to a good old Texan about joining the lease and mentioned that we hunted from horseback.  He said he hunted from a mule.  I asked if the mule was gaited (like a walking horse.) He said nope, diesel.

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Don Steese
4 hours ago, spring said:

Pretty common to use horses for quail, especially later in the season when some coveys get spooky.  Scabbards are almost always in use. 

 

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Man does that bring back some fond memories!  I hunted quail in the southeast twice and it's an experience Ill never forget!!

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MTRookie76

Future horseback bird hunter.

 

 

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jackh

I've never hunted birds horseback, but when I was growing up, I did do some deer hunting horseback.  

 

I was in 8th or 9th grade.  I did a ton of work horseback and listened to a million stories from my Dad and uncles about the "old days".  So, decided to train this filly to let me shoot off of her - I never killed anything from the saddle, but I could shoot off of her.  I just thought it was fun and felt like I was in the 1880s :-)

 

This pic was from about 1980; I was in Texas about to ride the ranch and try to find a good'en.  lol

High School Horseback Hunting.jpg

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Hammergun

I don’t know much about horses or bird hunting from them. But I recall an article about quail hunting in the south from horse back where the writer recommended using a gun sock on their fine shotguns stowed in the scabbard to avoid wear on them. I would do that. 

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Craig Doherty
On 4/15/2018 at 8:25 AM, Hammergun said:

I don’t know much about horses or bird hunting from them. But I recall an article about quail hunting in the south from horse back where the writer recommended using a gun sock on their fine shotguns stowed in the scabbard to avoid wear on them. I would do that. 

Not really a fine shotgun but this 2.5" 12 gauge Lewis hammer gun spent a lot of time in a scabbard.   If I really had a high end gun I would probably have spent the money for a full coverage, shearling lined scabbard -- taking a sock on and putting back on every time a dog pointed would be a big pain -- in our best years in Texas we regularly had 40 covey days -- that would be a lot of socking.

 

IMG_0299-1.jpg

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Flush

If I did own a particularly expensive gun, which i don't, I wouldn't use it on a horseback hunt.

A sock won't protect a gun from the shenanigans I've seen horses pull.

 

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Cooter Brown

This all sounds horrible.

 

If any of you fellows need someone to share the burden of such a miserable endeavor I'll make the sacrifice.

 

Seriously, I can't imagine much I'd rather do.  I suspect it's quite a bit of work, though.

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forestdump

I keep my gun in the scabbard to the side, ride up to the dog, dismount and shoot. I don’t know anyone who shoots from the saddle and I wouldn’t recommend it. 

 

Yes the horses have to be condintioned to gun fire as fire as well as many other things when out hunting. I wouldn’t take anything less than bombproof out into the prairies with me. I have a funny story about a trial I was scouting on a borrowed horse who happened to be gun shy. 

 

I like the tide tide detergent bottles as water jugs because they’re always around and the caps can be used as little bowls so not to waste the water. 

 

I try to hunt off horseback a few times a year. The diesel in dragging them around can add up and make it difficult but it’s an amazing experience. Great pictures here from all. 

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mccuha

I’ve never hunted from horse back but does look like a lot of fun. I’ve got a coworker that has hunted on ok. For a long time.  He’s a big horse guy and does a lot of team roping.  Anyway. He told me he likes to do it but it’s a lot of trouble to haul them 18hrs and then have to tend to them as well every dog ea day. He’s not taken them out to ok in a while but did say it was fun and could cover a ton of land in a day.  

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406dn
1 hour ago, Flush said:

If I did own a particularly expensive gun, which i don't, I wouldn't use it on a horseback hunt.

A sock won't protect a gun from the shenanigans I've seen horses pull.

 

 

Some years ago, a friend of mine went elk hunting with me. Where we were hunting a person could ride cross country with a little caution. I had him on Smokey because there was no safer horse. The ground was frozen in the mornings and all day in the shady areas. I cautioned that he wanted to try not to side hill anywhere there was much slope. We should either climb or descend so that the horses could keep their feet under them. I  was leading us down off the mountain win suddenly I hear a loud thud. Smokey had lost his feet because my friend decided to sidehill a stretch. No harm to horse or rider,,,, but his rifle came out of it a little worse for wear.

 

I too would not use a "best" shotgun. I use a 686 O/U, nice enough but it is never going to be an heirloom. All I've ever done is bring along a towel so that after the hunt, I can wipe off the dried horse sweat. Other than wearing some bluing from the muzzles, my gun is none the worse for putting it in a scabbard.

 

Taking horses bird hunting for a day trip is not a real big deal. Taking them on a trip lasting longer, requires getting several ducks in a row. The two things you have to have an answer for is where are you putting them up during the night, and do you have access to water. 

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dgfavor
Quote

I don’t know anyone who shoots from the saddle and I wouldn’t recommend it. 

 

I don't have a horse right now I think I'd shoot my shotgun off - shoot my blank gun off 'em all the time.  Here's a super shakey (take your sea sickness pills) old video and not our best dog day with some nutty dog stuff going on by a couple multi-champion AA dogs and some hooting/hollerying/yelling from handlers but skip ahead to the 1:40 mark you'll see Rich Heaton whiff (again) from the saddle on a fly by chukar that flushed early with Bugs standin' em up the hill.  Didn't have my gimbal to steady the action back in those days and trust me...that's some rough country.

 

Found this old slideshow as well - contains some pics I already posted but, more importantly to me, has a couple shots of my dad huntin' sharpies with his mule!  The photo [mage quality gets degraded with the video compression but some good 'ol memory shots in there:

 

 

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ThreeDogs

One of the coolest threads in a long time!

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WI Outdoor Nut

Love the thread.  I have done it a few times off my buddies horse.  It certainly gives you a different perspective - you can see all around you and really read the dogs.  Loved that part of it.  But there was "time" associated with getting to the point, dismounting, grabbing gun and going to dog.  The one thing I never would have thought of, one of our dogs hated the horses.  he would circle the horse and continue to bark at them the whole hunt.  Good dog otherwise, but did not like horses. 

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406dn

In an earlier post I mentioned how tolerant a horse has to be of a dog's behavior. Most dogs are not afraid of a horse but they never come to realize how much danger there is when they are close to the horse. When you heel a dog from horseback,, they can get too close to the horse at times. I am satisfied if they settle in several feet in front of the horse. I can see them and maneuver the horse as needed, to keep them safe.

 

When called in, I've seen dogs do figure eights thru the horse's legs. To minimize the chance of that, when I call a dog in, I'm off the horse before they get there, several feet away from the horse. 

 

I had a dog milling around before the start of a brace while I was getting the GPS collar fitted around her neck. The horse ended up stepping on her leg. I caught a big break, since the ground was soft enough that she did not end up with a broken leg. 

 

There has been more than one dog meet its maker from the strike of a horse's hoof. A good horse never strikes out at the dog, but if a dog is in a bad spot, it can happen.

 

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