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Dog work in the wind


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'Bout 10 days ago I was somewhere south of I-40 in NM.  The wind always blows there, but this day was toward the top.  I was away from home and had a guest or I probably would have gone to the house.  We were moving to a new spot about 3:30 when we spotted a covey of blues near our two-track so we did what normal people do - got out and picked a dog and set out.  There has been no rain since Oct when that Pacific hurricane marched up across NM, into Kansas and on to the Midwest.  The wind was gusting to 40 from the west, sky was a little dirty, temp about 73 - I would call that bad and a cause for low expectations.  Well, the dog found 4 singles from that group and went on to work 3 other coveys.  Some of the points were from long distances by desert standards.  I post this as an example of how unpredictable scent can be.  The work was good with conditions exactly the opposite of what I would choose.

It is surprising how difficult it can be to shoot blue quail getting up well ahead in a gale. suspect.gif

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Bill,

I have had similar experiences here in ND. Sometimes the wind worked in favor while other times it did not. I think swiriling winds are the worst and on those days you could just as well go home. Straight winds tend to be pretty good though. As you stated, shooting the bird is a whole different story. Its amazing how fast they can catch the wind. I have never shot quail so I can't compare but I know pheasants can be dam fast in a good wind.

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Just when I think I know what constitutes good scenting conditions, something happens to let me know that I don't.  

I've had experiences similar to what you describe, and days under similar high wind conditions where the dog's couldn't pick up bird scent until they were nearly stumbling over them.  Glad you all had a good day.  I wish I were there :D

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My experience has GENERALLY been that winds over about 30 MPH make scenting difficult. But terrain and humidity play a huge role - as well as the birds.

I rolling and hilly country the effect of a 30+ MPH wind is usually disruptive to scenting, but I have been chukar hunting on ridges when, in a high wind, my dogs have done quite well. Perhaps because they knew where the birds would be - hunkered down out of the wind.

In parts of Montana we have have generally poor scenting with too much wind. The dogs will get birdy then lose the scent cone as the wind snatches it away in another direction.

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Shorthair kid

Interesting post!  I was recently reading a Ben O. Williams article, where he had much higher thresholds of high winds disturbing scenting conditions than I've personally experienced or thought.  He pretty much considered anything under 40mph to be beneficial to the dogs.

I have found that in swirling conditions the dogs have an incredibly hard time confidently locating birds.  However, if the winds are more or less constant, strong winds only seem to make the distance from point to bird longer.  In fact in my experience, certain situations in strong winds can create incredible scenting conditions, especially with covey birds (I've had some incredibly long distance points > 100 yards with sage-grouse in strong winds).  But these are rare, and vary by a dog's ability, behavior, daily condition, and experience.

In the end I'd much prefer a strong wind to no wind at all, and my favorite wind conditions are 10-20mph for pointing dogs, especially if the humidity is up (I hunt in the desert).

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