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how bad does it get until you quit hunting


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i have been lucky to find 1 or 2 coveys a day  this year all year long.  taking one  or two birds a day. this is the same report i am getting from all over the state. and it takes me minimum 8 hours one way to get there.  cant decide if its worth it to keep trying and make another long haul out there for minimal birds or call it a season early.  how would you handle it.  and throw in a first year dog along who is probably wondering what this game is all about.  especially since my older dog is the only one finding birds.  going further to the next state the report isnt much better either.
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Doesn't matter how many birds I'm finding, I get out every chance I get. Probably has something to do with my age. Never know if I'll be around and able next season. Matter of fact, nobody knows. Get out there and give the dogs a good run.
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I would go. Your older dog only has so many years for him to hunt and you to hunt behind him, and even if there are not that many birds it still is fun just to get away. Plus you never know, some of my end of season hunts have been the best as far as numbers of birds go. I would just have fun and enjoy the dog work.
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PartridgeCartridge

Or you could just pony up and go where ther birds are. I know it sounds critical, but why not spring for a trip to a more birdy destination, given the costs of going to your old spots repeatedly.

And just think of the benefits the dog will reap from some meaningful, multiple contacts.

Think about it.

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I'll just echo what Don Steese said.  At my age it hasn't been about the number of birds bagged for a long, long time.  Just going out as often as I can, running the dog, watching her work.  That's the fun of it for me, the birds are just the frosting on the cake.  I too have a new pup this year, what a hoot.  The most fun I've had hunting in years.
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I agree, go all you can!  But, make sure to get that first year dog on some released birds if possible.  They need to get that birds drive kicking into high gear!
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8 hours one way . I hope your trips are for multi days . Tough call , I'd probably opt for planted birds if available locally and save the trip for when I needed it.
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Any preserves around? Factor the gas price in and paying for birds may not sound too bad. Then you get the younger dog into birds too.
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sure there are lots of preserves.  but i hate to take a chance on my young dog catching pen raised birds.  i have never hunted pen raised birds but for those that do are  all chukars strong flyers eliminating the chance to be caught?as far as another state.  there are not too many places too hunt in feb when i have my vacation planned.

the only places left the reports i am getting are bad.   i have been hitting up a new part of the state each time out with no changes

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sure there are lots of preserves.  but i hate to take a chance on my young dog catching pen raised birds.  i have never hunted pen raised birds but for those that do are  all chukars strong flyers eliminating the chance to be caught?as far as another state.  there are not too many places too hunt in feb when i have my vacation planned.

the only places left the reports i am getting are bad.   i have been hitting up a new part of the state each time out with no changes

If your preserves have birds flying that bad... Thats bad.

I would call the preserve, ask about that. Seems this late in the season, if the preserve has good flight pens the birds would be pretty strong flyers.

For insurance, run the young dog on a check cord.

I consider 8 hr of driving (one way) a once a yr trip.

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Ditto what's been said about released birds.  Chukar are usually pretty strong flyers.  Especially if they don't put the birds to sleep when they plant them, your dog's not likely to catch chukars.  And catching just one isn't a disaster.  Catching them all, on the other hand, is a different story.

When bird numbers are really low--and pheasant numbers have been very low where I live this year--then I'll either drive to where they're better or do the preserve thing.  This season, I'm really glad that I'm not trying to start a young dog on wild pheasants.  And when I remember that my youngest gsp (she'll be 8 this summer) had 27 wild roosters shot over her in her first season--being picky about the shots I took . . . no way I could've come anywhere close to doing that this year, without a whole lot of driving.  Maybe a couple trips to the Dakotas.

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Last year my GSP Loki had just turned 1 year old. I hunted him at my club for stocked pheasants and chukars. He did Ok,but they are too easy.

 I made 2 3 day trips to Michigan to hunt with Ronnie H. and Brad J.  By the end of the second trip, Loki had more contacts  on grouse and woodcock than he would have gotten in 5 years hunting in Pa. It was a 10 hour drive each way, but well worth it. Loki pointed and held several grouse and woodcock and was doing great after the second trip. If the grouse in Michigan would have cooperated and sat after the dog locked up, I would have done quite well. The birds were never where I expected, and I doubted the dog. The birds would flush behind me or off to the side after getting behind a tree or brush.   Brad, do you remember the time both my dogs locked up in that big meadow and you said they were pointing chipmunks?

That bird made a fool of us all.

 I was set for a full week trip, and at least 3 3 day trips back there this year. My back injury ruined that.

 Wild birds are the way to make a bird dog. Make the trips you need to to get your dog the contacts it needs. It will be worth it.

 Oh, I forgot, there are no birds in Michigan.  :<img src=:'>

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Well, for me to be “hunting” as opposed to just taking the dogs for a run, there has to be a chance for bird contacts – doesn’t have to be a big chance, but there must be a chance.  One or two birds a day would do it for me.

Driving eight hours for a day hunt is another matter entirely.  When balancing that drive against one or two bird contacts, I would never make the drive.  To me, time sitting in the truck is totally wasted.  Further, unless I’m actually out on an extended hunting trip (where I may drive for three straight days, but then I'll hunt for weeks), I generally can’t manage more than a morning or an afternoon at a time – too many other responsibilities.  

I spend a lot of time at preserves after the regular seasons have closed.  “My” club is only a few minutes away.  I can get in a nice hunt for the dogs and still work in the morning and finish up my work that evening without wasting precious time driving all over the place.  When it’s just the dogs and me, we only ever scratch hunt (I’ll release birds only if I’m taking guests).  While even scratch hunting is not the same as true wild bird hunting in a remote wilderness setting, it sure beats working, sitting at home or cleaning the basement – plus the dogs love it and its good exercise.  I’d recommend giving some preserve hunting (try scratch hunting if they will let you – otherwise, release the minimum number of birds and then scratch hunt after you kill those) a chance – it’s gotta be better than 16 hours of driving for one or two birds.

BTW, I think killing all of those many, many preserve birds makes my dogs far better on wild birds.  Yeah, they may crowd one or two early in the season when transitioning back to wild birds, but they get the idea very quickly.

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For me it is hunting.  It's not about the birds in the bag.  The dog gets work in, there are bird contacts, and the chance to take one, that's what it is all about.  If there were supposed to be huge numbers every time and a guarantee everybody would be doing it.
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By all means try a preserve if you can find out about the scratch hunting. The preserve I use the most will put out a package and you can follow that up with scratch hunting. The property is large and holds many coveys of birds starting now thru March when the season ends. Have a good friend coming in from Denver to visit his Mother in Lafayette,La. followed by our hunt on this Fri. at the preserve. In Feb. I'm off to visit him and make a preserve hunt in Colorado on land that covers 6000 acres. They have Pheasant,Huns,Chukkar,Bob White quail. I will have 2 days to adjust to the air(or lack thereof) before we hunt. Can't wait!
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