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molliesmaster

Dog power Required?

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molliesmaster

I'd like to probe the upland journal think tank if you don't mind. 

 

Planning a trip to SD for early November to do some pheasant hunting.  I have no private ground so it will be public and private if I get lucky/run into someone generous enough to give access. 

 

It will just be me and my 3 year GWP.      I realize that more dogs would be more productive and make me less susceptible to a spoiled hunt should we run into accidents, but how underpowered am I really?    What's your optimal for a single hunter for pheasant? 

 

Since we are on topic, if I was planning to chase sharptail and maybe huns next year, what kind of dog power should I be striving for? 

 

Fire away, I'm anxious to read. 

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406dn

Well, it depends on how much leg power you have. The younger and fitter you are,, the more dogs you need. One dog is way short for an extended trip for almost any hunter.

 

Three is not a bad number,, four is better if you can manage it. Actually more is even better but then you start looking at needing a way to carry so many on the trip.

 

 

And since you asked,,,,,, huns and sharptails require at least as much dog power as do pheasants. They are more widely dispersed and generally found in lower total numbers than pheasants.

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snood

My first year out there I had a young gsp, so similar boat as you're in now. That off season I picked up another, a pointer this time and I've never regretted it. The more the better as 406 just mentioned. I have 3 now, and for reasons you already mentioned two is a minimum for a long trip and 3 or more is better. Just make sure you're in good shape! (as well as the dog). Good luck, you'll have a great time.

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Ol'Forester

I think it depends on the duration of the trip. I usually try to be gone for a month or so and have two dogs. I hunt one in morning one in afternoon. They get wore down. I plan on going to 3 dogs in future.

I have made trips with one dog due to cIrcumstances. May be doable in the north woods for one week. Not so good if prairie or desert hunting. I think a traveling hunter really needs at least two dogs. Guess It might be different if going with friends who have dogs.

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Ndi32

I've done many 5-day hunts in SD with one dog.  Don't overdo it the first couple days (such as busting cattails hour after hour). Consider cordura dog boots to protect the dog's feet (cover is more abrasive than many think). Adjust expectations for the last couple days (a young dog will typically still hunt but may not cover the same ground). 

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Matt D

Another option if worried about dog power is to hunt some ditches while the dog rests in the truck. Allows you to still hunt and have the chance to harvest birds but stretches the dog power some.   Like most on here watching dogs work is awesome but the reality is with just one dog it is likely going to need some breaks to hunt for 5 or more straight days. Also as mentioned don’t wear it out completely in the first day or two. Having said all that I wouldn’t let her not having one dog keep me from going to SD. First year we went I had one dog for 2 of us and by hunting smart and getting the dog some breaks through out the day we got along just fine. This year we will have 4 dogs between the two of us. Now almost worried about not getting enough work for all of them seeing as we can only shoot 3 a day. 😁

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molliesmaster

Good point, I should have stated that I will only be hunting 3-4 days, in part because I only have one dog and also because of commitments at home. 

 

Keep the thoughts rolling. 

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Hub

My group of 3 guys usually has around 5-6 dogs with us.  While we start from the same truck, we typically all split off in our own directions.  I think 2 dogs a guy is pretty optimal if you don't hunt them together and the dogs are in great shape starting the trip.  There have been years when I was down to 1 dog due to injury or age.  A prairie hunt like that really takes it out of a single dog.  It's pretty common for me to  hunt 10-15 miles a day and the dogs double and triple that.  If I was doing a one man trip and had never been out there I would spend almost as much time knocking on doors and scouting as I did hunting.  Having access to the 'right' places will definitely reduce the mileage you put on your dog.  As was mentioned, there are plenty of types of cover where you could give a dog a break and still have a decent chance at a bird.  Hunting fences and or wind rows of trees in picked crop fields is almost as productive without a dog as it is with.  Small ditches/creeks is another.  If you are going by yourself make sure you let folks you know that you are a one man operation when you ask permission.  Make sure that when you are eating in small cafe or bar that you chat people up and ask if they know anyone that would grant permission.  Have fun!

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Lurch

A single dog has been my modus operandi the past couple years.

  • one dog is at least 100% better than no dog (your dog may vary!)
  • Going alone with one dog will net you 100% more pheasants than staying at home and wishing you were going with more dogs

Pck your spots to your advantage. Don't worry about being underdogged/undergunned. Just go and enjoy!

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molliesmaster

Lurch, don't fear, I am going whether I am under-dogged or not.  And I am ecstatic to walk behind my dog whether the day yields 0 birds or 100.  

 

I just enjoy reading and seeing what others do and have success with.   

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ryanr

You'll be fine if you make sure your dog is in prime shape. I certainly wouldn't let just having one dog keep me from a hunting trip like that.

 

I did a week hunting grouse and woodcock in the rugged, slash pile choked mountains of  western Maine with only 1 dog. We hunted every day, most of them all day except one day midweek when it was pouring all day.

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Rogue Hunter

Wow, ten replies and not one derogatory comment about ditch chickens.

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Clueless1

One dog is fine.  I have done it 4 times now.  One thing I will say is "know your dog".  I never had to worry about the first dog, he knew how to pace himself and was almost as good day 7 as day 1. 

The current dog is too much too early.  Let him out on day 1 and he will spend himself in the first 3 hours.  I now know I need to pace him for a couple days. 

 

(I have also put them on a tread mill in the basement prior to leaving a few times as well.)

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MDash2

Hunted both the Dakotas and MT with one dog. Deciding when, where and for how long is the key. Be mindful about managing the dog for the entire trip and it will be fine. 

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bmeador

I have 1 that is at her prime, another that is 4 and just beginning to figure it all out and a 2 y.o. that is still a nut. We are getting ready to leave for about 11 full hunting days. That first morning I'll let all 3 hit the ground for about an hour or so just to stretch their legs after a 3-day road trip. Then I begin a rotation of 2 dogs daily. If I find a pocket of lots of birds I will get the pup in there ASAP for experience. I watch closely while dogs run for signs of limps, worn pads, etc... Always have tailgate time with each dog and check everything for bumps, bruises, cuts, etc... after each run.  I brush them and poke them looking for soreness. I give them a honey straw after their day is done and plenty of water. 30 mins later, a cool hotdogs.  Rainy days are rest days if it's a wash out. Misty, drizzles are not too bad.

 

And I do not hunt all day! My butt can't do it like I used too! Sometimes we cook breakfast on the tailgate as the sun rises over the praire. And an extended lunch cooking fresh birds over rice is a pleasant diversion. Dogs all resting on the chaingang in the shade.

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