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Cooter Brown

Ruby is doing just fine, and she sure is a beauty!

 

I think people get too uptight about killing "mishandled" birds over young dogs.  I guarantee a pup doesn't think, "My goodness, that fellow didn't shoot that bird because I mishandled it,  I shan't do that again!"--pups don't make those sort of connections at that age and at that level of excitement and wonder.  Kill the bird, let the dog get a snootfull, let it dance around with the bird.  Get it excited.  If it's got any sort of instinct to point at all it'll start pointing.

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Don Steese
8 hours ago, KCrowley said:

 She points everything with wings, but she can't resist the temptation to push/creep on them too hard right now. 

Not hard to do this year even with an experienced dog! The sharpies have been exceptionally flighty and the scenting conditions exceptionally poor.

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KCrowley
7 hours ago, Don Steese said:

Not hard to do this year even with an experienced dog! The sharpies have been exceptionally flighty and the scenting conditions exceptionally poor.

 

I agree! I saw a lot of coveys blow out at 300 yards when neither Ruby nor I were anywhere near them. Many of the guys I talked to on this trip also mentioned the spookiness of the birds. Fortunately it seems like there are always a few stragglers.

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Shoot those stragglers while you can. In another month they'll all blow out together.

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Don Steese

My policy has always been that I don't shoot birds that the dogs haven't handled properly. That works out fine until it's late in the hunt and you haven't shot a bird and you walk one up and the dogs are nowhere around.  It's then that temptation rears it's ugly head!! 

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I've not been shy about taking birds kicked up away from the dog(s).  I always have doubts when dog people, even acknowledged experts, describe exactly what a dog's mind is telling it in any given situation, and my own contribution to my confusion is that the dog might be curious about shooting it hears but doesn't connect with its own activity and wants to see what it is about.  The imagined internal dialogue then becomes "you idiot, I could have found and pointed that one" if it's Gin or "you idiot, I'm hunting over here and your shooting is scaring my birds" if it's Crow.  The hope is they're thinking they should always stay near the guy(s) with the gun(s) so they don't miss out, but either way most of those opportunities see me pulling a trigger.  Except with woodcock around here.  The importance then is the dogs working them right.

 

More speculation, I wonder if the dry conditions are making the prairie grouse so jumpy.  To me they are nearly always jumpy anyhow, but long stretches of dry might make them worse than usual.  I've seen the effect on ruffs and woodcock in Pennsylvania, does that translate to the same elsewhere?

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Don Steese
1 hour ago, kgb said:

L

 

More speculation, I wonder if the dry conditions are making the prairie grouse so jumpy.  To me they are nearly always jumpy anyhow, but long stretches of dry might make them worse than usual.  I've seen the effect on ruffs and woodcock in Pennsylvania, does that translate to the same elsewhere?

I rather suspect that you're right for a couple possible reasons. The extremely dry conditions make for very poor scenting conditions that will often cause even experienced dogs to get too close, or take that one extra step after they've established point. This theory, however, falls apart when your dog is able consistently get birds pointed but they won't allow you to get close enough for a shot. Another factor may be that the extended drought has resulted in thinner cover making the birds more nervous?? Most probably a combination of the above. 

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2 hours ago, Don Steese said:

I rather suspect that you're right for a couple possible reasons. The extremely dry conditions make for very poor scenting conditions that will often cause even experienced dogs to get too close, or take that one extra step after they've established point. This theory, however, falls apart when your dog is able consistently get birds pointed but they won't allow you to get close enough for a shot. Another factor may be that the extended drought has resulted in thinner cover making the birds more nervous?? Most probably a combination of the above. 

 

The most stark example I have is from hunting with Dave "Beans" at his camp in northern PA in 2016.  He'd warned me that birds were not sitting for points, and it turned out mostly true.  Beem went on point in plain sight of us both as we stood talking and Dave wished me luck.  I don't think I made it 3 steps before the woodcock took off and Beem hadn't moved.  He pointed a grouse along a line of blown-down brush and trees and the bird held while I walked up on "our" side, then predictably took off as I bent lower to try to find a way through the tangle.  Not super-spooky as it let me approach the spot, maybe it felt relatively safe with that much between us, and I otherwise took Dave's word since he annually lives in the grouse woods for long stretches and I'm just an occasional visitor.

 

 

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