Adventures With Tubbs

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Adventures With Tubbs

Post by RatDog » Thu Oct 01, 2020 11:31 am

Going to do some journaling tracking our rookie season. If you are so inclined feel free to check it out and any feedback is welcome. My goal is to just let Tubbs go, minimal to no corrections, lots of encouragement and lots of birds. That being the case if they are in range and in season I'm up and blasting, we'll refine the process and be more selective about shooting pointed birds later. I'm in NW NODAK for the time being chasing huns and sharpies. We are very blessed to have a true mixed bag here and it's not uncommon to put up three species in a given day; huns, sharpies and pheasants. Since they aren't in yet I'm not looking for pheasants but they are the most abundant and easiest to find so I've been getting into the bottoms/thick stuff just to expose Tubbs to the bird contact. The last three days have been successful in finding birds and dropping a few. Sustained 30-40 mph winds have made things tough but a good learning experience.

Yesterday was the first time I saw Tubbs start to put some things together which was really encouraging. I was running him with a non-GPS e-collar and check cord the first couple of days but never really used the check cord and as he got more comfortable and started ranging out farther and I wished I had the GPS. Yesterday we ran with just the Garmin 550 Pro and it worked really well. He does a great job of checking in and coming with but the wind conditions made it hard for him to hear and track where I was. Thank goodness for the GPS collar! With it I was able to just relax and get to some higher ground so he could eventually see me and work my way. The only time I used the collar was when I knew that he knew where I was and he tarried a bit too long getting down into the thick stuff at which point I'd give him light sim and he'd find me and come along.

I took him to the groomer yesterday evening because he had gotten into the burrs so bad I just couldn't deal with it with a brush and paper scissors. He looks a little funny because his legs and backside are pretty much shaved now but so it goes haha. Feet have been the issue. He gets these little mud clumps in his paws that seem to bug him so I've been trying to stay on top of those. By the end of the day yesterday I noticed him limping a little and his feet are a bit raw. Last night we both went to bed at 7 pm, guess I'm getting old :wink: Today and maybe tomorrow are down days to let him heal up and get some needed rest, he's been sleeping all day so I think he was pretty well spent, I was too so I can sympathize. Gives me the chance to clean the birds and gun and figure out what the plan is for the weekend.

We'll spend the rest of the week around here then next week head over to some areas near Miles City in E MT where I know I can find sharpies and maybe the odd partridge. During what has been a dumpster fire of a year it's good to spend some days with my dog and not another soul in sight :D

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Re: Adventures With Tubbs

Post by NEhomer » Sat Oct 03, 2020 6:46 am

RatDog wrote:
Thu Oct 01, 2020 11:31 am
Going to do some journaling tracking our rookie season. If you are so inclined feel free to check it out and any feedback is welcome. My goal is to just let Tubbs go, minimal to no corrections, lots of encouragement and lots of birds. That being the case if they are in range and in season I'm up and blasting, we'll refine the process and be more selective about shooting pointed birds later. I'm in NW NODAK for the time being chasing huns and sharpies. We are very blessed to have a true mixed bag here and it's not uncommon to put up three species in a given day; huns, sharpies and pheasants. Since they aren't in yet I'm not looking for pheasants but they are the most abundant and easiest to find so I've been getting into the bottoms/thick stuff just to expose Tubbs to the bird contact. The last three days have been successful in finding birds and dropping a few. Sustained 30-40 mph winds have made things tough but a good learning experience.

Yesterday was the first time I saw Tubbs start to put some things together which was really encouraging. I was running him with a non-GPS e-collar and check cord the first couple of days but never really used the check cord and as he got more comfortable and started ranging out farther and I wished I had the GPS. Yesterday we ran with just the Garmin 550 Pro and it worked really well. He does a great job of checking in and coming with but the wind conditions made it hard for him to hear and track where I was. Thank goodness for the GPS collar! With it I was able to just relax and get to some higher ground so he could eventually see me and work my way. The only time I used the collar was when I knew that he knew where I was and he tarried a bit too long getting down into the thick stuff at which point I'd give him light sim and he'd find me and come along.

I took him to the groomer yesterday evening because he had gotten into the burrs so bad I just couldn't deal with it with a brush and paper scissors. He looks a little funny because his legs and backside are pretty much shaved now but so it goes haha. Feet have been the issue. He gets these little mud clumps in his paws that seem to bug him so I've been trying to stay on top of those. By the end of the day yesterday I noticed him limping a little and his feet are a bit raw. Last night we both went to bed at 7 pm, guess I'm getting old :wink: Today and maybe tomorrow are down days to let him heal up and get some needed rest, he's been sleeping all day so I think he was pretty well spent, I was too so I can sympathize. Gives me the chance to clean the birds and gun and figure out what the plan is for the weekend.

We'll spend the rest of the week around here then next week head over to some areas near Miles City in E MT where I know I can find sharpies and maybe the odd partridge. During what has been a dumpster fire of a year it's good to spend some days with my dog and not another soul in sight :D
That being the case if they are in range and in season I'm up and blasting, we'll refine the process and be more selective about shooting pointed birds later.

I cringe a tad. I know that you're starved to get some normalcy like we all are but your pup's first year is important. I would strongly suggest not shooting birds the dog scents and doesn't stop for. I think you have a brittany. My current setter is naturally much more staunch than my brittanys ever were and I wouldn't shoot anything he bumped his first year.

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Re: Adventures With Tubbs

Post by averageguy » Sat Oct 03, 2020 11:53 am

NEHomer said what I was thinking.

Given the whole picture you have provided with this pup, I might shoot a wild flushed bird I stumbled across to let the pup know what we are after, get a bird in its mouth and add some more excitement to the outing to build its bird drive.

But I would not shoot a bird the pup deliberately took out/flushed vs pointing, as that re-enforces the exact wrong behavior. No harm done to this point but if it were my pup I would not shoot birds the pup scents and deliberately flushes.

General case if my pups are pointing reasonably well on our training birds, I do not shoot any birds they do not point while hunting. It can make for alot of walking and a little shooting some days, but that is how I build my bird dogs.

Really good to hear the pup's interest is rising and you are getting it into birds. Leaves me optimistic this is going to turn out well for both of you.

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Re: Adventures With Tubbs

Post by RatDog » Sat Oct 03, 2020 12:25 pm

I totally agree. I should’ve been more clear. The first couple of days he wasn’t even finding them, he just smacked into a few all of which were way too far to shoot anyway. He’s started actually hunting and flash pointing before bumping birds. Those I leave alone but I’ve been praising/encouraging him when this happens. The ones I’m shooting are ones I put up myself independent of the dog. Killing birds seems to have been a positive experience because he gets to find them and pick them up and we have a nice little moment before it goes in the game bag.

Pretty decent morning. First spot he busted a covey of Huns right out of the gate. Was cool though because I’m pretty sure he found them, not just ran into them. He had a couple of non-productive points in areas that looked like they had birds recently so not sure what to make of that, I took it as a positive that at least he’s playing the game. The first time one of those produces a bird I will probably fall to me knees and thank the almighty with tears In my eyes and a chest swelled with pride. Just before lunch he had a really nice find on a pheasant that he flushed.

I’m itching to find some more sharpies so I’m going to do a quick map study and try to alter my approach a bit. Seem to be finding more Huns and pheasants which makes me think I’m too low and too thick. Perfect day for it. 55, sunny and a slight breeze.

Thanks for steering me in the right direction fellas!


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Re: Adventures With Tubbs

Post by RatDog » Sat Oct 03, 2020 1:49 pm

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Adventures With Tubbs

Post by RatDog » Sat Oct 03, 2020 4:11 pm

Kind of a tough day hunting wise but definitely worth while. It is going to be a really good pheasant season once it opens up next week I know that much. Flushed a covey of Huns from the road. Managed to find a few and mop one up. Had a pair or sharpies flush wild walking a very grousey hillside. They must’ve flown to the next county because I could see a long ways and I lost them.

Tubbs had a real point, leg up and all. I told him whoa and walked forward at which point two rooster pheasants got up evoking a passionate hosannah from me. He really likes pheasants for whatever reason or maybe they are just smellier? I think if we keep at this we can put it all together at least once this year, minus the retrieve of course. Just have to keep trying to get him to do it with a grouse or partridge until pheasants open up.


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Re: Adventures With Tubbs

Post by RatDog » Sun Oct 04, 2020 4:59 pm

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Re: Adventures With Tubbs

Post by RatDog » Sun Oct 04, 2020 4:59 pm

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Re: Adventures With Tubbs

Post by RatDog » Sun Oct 04, 2020 4:59 pm

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Re: Adventures With Tubbs

Post by RatDog » Sun Oct 04, 2020 5:04 pm

Just when I thought I couldn’t buy a grouse we found them! All about the choke cherries. In some very heavily grazed over pasture where I thought there just wasn’t high enough grass there were some choke cherry bushes that looked full of cherries and sure enough there they were.

Still no assist from little buddy but I think he’s plain wore out. He pointed a clump of bushes they got up from so maybe that’s something. Headed home to Bozeman then try and squeeze in a day in E MT on the way back.


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Re: Adventures With Tubbs

Post by RatDog » Mon Oct 05, 2020 5:54 pm

Been talking to a guy who really stressed the importance of only shooting pointed birds. Another lesson learned. I know that’s not anything new and you guys already said it but to be honest I just wanted to go hunting. He likened it to telling a kid you’ll only give him candy if he does his chores and then you just give it to him out of nowhere and he doesn’t learn anything. Occurred to me that’s not really giving Tubbs a fair shot. We talked about maybe killing one of it gets up wild and the dog is tracking it or just to fire him up. After the one that is it, he has to point them. I was spending too much time ignoring the dog and trying to kill birds. Once we get back out I’m going to really drill down on just tracking the dog and paying attention to what he’s doing. I’m going to bring along the check cord and if I find some really promising cover or bust them and see where one lights break it out and try to quarter him back and forth into the birds and hold him once he flash points.


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Re: Adventures With Tubbs

Post by NEhomer » Tue Oct 06, 2020 4:33 am

RatDog wrote:
Mon Oct 05, 2020 5:54 pm
Been talking to a guy who really stressed the importance of only shooting pointed birds. Another lesson learned. I know that’s not anything new and you guys already said it but to be honest I just wanted to go hunting. He likened it to telling a kid you’ll only give him candy if he does his chores and then you just give it to him out of nowhere and he doesn’t learn anything. Occurred to me that’s not really giving Tubbs a fair shot. We talked about maybe killing one of it gets up wild and the dog is tracking it or just to fire him up. After the one that is it, he has to point them. I was spending too much time ignoring the dog and trying to kill birds. Once we get back out I’m going to really drill down on just tracking the dog and paying attention to what he’s doing. I’m going to bring along the check cord and if I find some really promising cover or bust them and see where one lights break it out and try to quarter him back and forth into the birds and hold him once he flash points.


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Have you or have you considered using a release trap and shooting a few pigeons over him? I don't recall if you mentioned training under controlled conditions.

BTW, I saw my first Dead show on 9/3/80 my last one on 6/22/95 and about 60 in between!

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Re: Adventures With Tubbs

Post by RatDog » Tue Oct 06, 2020 11:36 am

He’s never had the launcher as far as I know but lots of work with a tip up and pigeons or quail. As far as I know he has never been staunch on point. The trainer said he had to work him right up to the bird and he would flash point but when held with the cord he would lose interest. That was not my experience, I did have to work him practically on top of the bird but he showed pretty good intensity and then took of after flush. No issues with the gun.

I’m jealous. I have to admit to being a bit of a poseur in that I never got to see Jerry. There was a cool tape trading, jam band scene where I went to boarding school in NH. This really heady librarian had quite a catalogue and was kind of the center of it. The most coveted tape was from the Fox amphitheater in Atl, which was passed down year to year in kind of a ritual. I have seen lots of shows of all the band members’ bands; Dead, Further, Phil and Friends etc. and had some amazing times but nothing like the genuine article I’m sure. You’ve probably been but I will vouch for Dead and Co., saw them in OR a couple of times in PDX and the Gorge and it was a gas!



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Re: Adventures With Tubbs

Post by RatDog » Tue Oct 06, 2020 11:38 am

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Re: Adventures With Tubbs

Post by RatDog » Tue Oct 06, 2020 11:43 am

Tubby boy had a nice find on a covey of Huns which he didn’t even slow down before running right over. I know he found them though because he got birdy and then I saw his head snap before he went right to them. As much as it pained me to do so, I abstained from putting lead down range.

I found a bunch of sign next to some good cover and tried working him on a cord but no dice. Having a gun and a cord to manage is not sweet......like, at all.

This is public land within an hour of Boz so can’t expect too much this far into the season. Finding anything at all is what I would consider a decent day. Grouse have never really bounced back around here but I’ve been hearing there’s a couple around so maybe try some grousey looking spots this afternoon.


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Re: Adventures With Tubbs

Post by bonasa » Tue Oct 06, 2020 2:31 pm

RatDog wrote:
Tue Oct 06, 2020 11:36 am
He’s never had the launcher as far as I know but lots of work with a tip up and pigeons or quail. As far as I know he has never been staunch on point. The trainer said he had to work him right up to the bird and he would flash point but when held with the cord he would lose interest.
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Is the trainer a friend of yours? Might want to keep him a friend and not a trainer, hope he wasn't expensive. Sounds like he put A LOT of pressure on the dog around birds, good thing you rescued him when you did. You want to launch the bird once the dog smells it, try to beat the dog to the point. Although I progress to this area of training after the dog is steady on stop to flush, without scenting the bird.

Sounds like the dog is soft. I'd hunt this season to rebuild his interest and restore confidence around birds, shoot everything he finds, pointed or not and steady the dog up next summer. You will be happy you did, good luck.

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Re: Adventures With Tubbs

Post by RatDog » Tue Oct 06, 2020 4:10 pm

SUCCESS!!!!!!! There was a gully along the side of a stubble field, maybe 15-20’ deep with sloping sides and pretty thick grass and a couple small trees/bushes. Tubbs was really birdy working back and forth along the top and then dipped down into the gully. He stuck a nice point, not sort of I mean a real point. I said whoa softly and then started walking down into the ditch. After two steps a big covey of maybe 20 Huns got up all around/in front of the dog. The shot was a bit of a poke out there so wasn’t sure I could get it but I dropped one. I marked where it went down on top of the other side and started walking that way. Tubbs was losing it just tearing around. Once he got his wits about him I worked him over to where I was and he found the dead bird. I haven’t been that proud of anyone or anything in a while. That was sweet!


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Re: Adventures With Tubbs

Post by RatDog » Tue Oct 06, 2020 4:11 pm

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Re: Adventures With Tubbs

Post by averageguy » Tue Oct 06, 2020 6:42 pm

RatDog wrote:
Tue Oct 06, 2020 4:10 pm
SUCCESS!!!!!!! There was a gully along the side of a stubble field, maybe 15-20’ deep with sloping sides and pretty thick grass and a couple small trees/bushes. Tubbs was really birdy working back and forth along the top and then dipped down into the gully. He stuck a nice point, not sort of I mean a real point. I said whoa softly and then started walking down into the ditch. After two steps a big covey of maybe 20 Huns got up all around/in front of the dog. The shot was a bit of a poke out there so wasn’t sure I could get it but I dropped one. I marked where it went down on top of the other side and started walking that way. Tubbs was losing it just tearing around. Once he got his wits about him I worked him over to where I was and he found the dead bird. I haven’t been that proud of anyone or anything in a while. That was sweet!


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:D

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Re: Adventures With Tubbs

Post by Ricwoodard » Tue Oct 06, 2020 7:38 pm

Great job Tubbs! I've been reading your updates and I'm glad to see he made it happen. Keep the updates coming.

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Re: Adventures With Tubbs

Post by RatDog » Wed Oct 07, 2020 3:06 pm

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Adventures With Tubbs

Post by RatDog » Wed Oct 07, 2020 3:21 pm

Boy do I feel sheepish . If you look at the picture you can see two irrigation ditches going perpendicular to the view across the stubble field. Wind was coming down of the hill, so it would be in my face as I was taking the pic. We were working right to left along the closer of the two ditches. Tubbs hit scent hard and took off uphill across the stubble to the other ditch. This wasn’t the plan, I was going to work down one and back the opposite way on the other one. However, I thought trust the dog. I followed him up to the upper ditch that’s right across the fence from the hillside which is thick sage and some grass patches. He kept going up into the sage and I said to myself again to trust him. I headed towards a prominent clump of really thick sage. I lost Tubbs and couldn’t see him in the cover so I’m not sure what he was doing. Next thing I see a hun running in the sage and then all heck breaks loose. Big covey 20-30 birds gets up right in front of me. I have a perfect going away shot and I whiffed right over the top. Next one was swinging but not far which I whiffed as well. I have no excuse, I just blew it.

More importantly, I don’t know much about dogs but I know this one can smell just fine. He caught the scent of those birds from maybe 150 yds away. He was into the wind and it was a bunch of birds. Maybe they moved from the ditch up into the sage but I doubt it. Very cool!

I don’t care about killing the birds, that’s a lie I totally care, but I care more that I couldn’t reward him properly. I gave him a lot of praise and he was stoked. Over all very positive little walk.

Have to go back to work early so no stop in E MT. Back to NODAK and pheasants are practically upon us.


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Re: Adventures With Tubbs

Post by RatDog » Wed Oct 07, 2020 5:21 pm

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Re: Adventures With Tubbs

Post by RatDog » Wed Oct 07, 2020 11:40 pm

I’m kicking myself for not paying more attention to the dog today. I had a pretty good idea the birds were going to be in there and got focused on that. Next time I’m going to do better at focusing on the dog work. In hindsight it would’ve been a great opportunity to bust out the check cord. Oh well, I’m learning as much or more than Tubbs. Stuff to think about moving forward.

On a positive note it occurred to me that, that was the first time Tubbs lead me to birds I wouldn’t have found otherwise using his nose. Had he not been acting birdy and moving up into the sage I would not have gone up there.


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Re: Adventures With Tubbs

Post by RatDog » Fri Oct 09, 2020 6:45 pm

Short, post work walk. Tubbs found and flushed a covey of Huns in some pasture next to wheat stubble. Didn’t seem to me he crowded them too bad before they went, just touchy birds. Too far to shoot. Next spot was some cover on a fence line between harvested canola and wheat fields. Those are two of Huns’ favorites so I was sure it was going to be on. Tubbs stuck a point, I circled wide but didn’t say a thing. When I got even with him he relocated but locked back up. I got opposite him and prepared myself for battle. Took a couple steps and two roosters got up. Nice dog work just not quite time for that yet. Shortly after that a trio of Sharpies flushed wild out of the stubble. Not bad for a couple hours in the evening. If my wife wouldn’t divorce me I swear I’d change my name to Ole and move to NODAK full time.

I believe that is 10 days of wild bird contact for Tubbs :D Off to E MT mañana in search of sharpies.
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Re: Adventures With Tubbs

Post by deseeker » Fri Oct 09, 2020 8:18 pm

That's great :D Sounds like he really starting to come around. I've got a feeling he is going to have alot of birds shot over him this Fall :D

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Re: Adventures With Tubbs

Post by RatDog » Fri Oct 09, 2020 8:42 pm

deseeker wrote:
Fri Oct 09, 2020 8:18 pm
That's great :D Sounds like he really starting to come around. I've got a feeling he is going to have alot of birds shot over him this Fall :D
Thanks. I'm sure going to give it the ol' college try.

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Re: Adventures With Tubbs

Post by RatDog » Sat Oct 10, 2020 8:32 am

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Re: Adventures With Tubbs

Post by RatDog » Sat Oct 10, 2020 8:33 am

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Adventures With Tubbs

Post by RatDog » Sat Oct 10, 2020 8:35 am

Got our first pheasant. There were so many birds around he was just losing it and that’s fine. This guy flushed wild so I popped him. The rest were too far or the cover was too thick. I took some dumb shots that I’ll try and leave alone next time. Hard not to get a bit of the buck fever when they are all over the place. Great opening morning!


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Re: Adventures With Tubbs

Post by RatDog » Sat Oct 10, 2020 3:08 pm

Whew! Me and Tubby had a day. Pheasants were where they were supposed to be. The Huns and Sharpies were in a sage flat down by a creek which was a pleasant surprise. Lots of mistakes by both of us, couple nice things happened. All good! Turns out Montana is pretty alright also


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Re: Adventures With Tubbs

Post by RatDog » Sat Oct 10, 2020 3:09 pm

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Re: Adventures With Tubbs

Post by Sharon » Sat Oct 10, 2020 3:14 pm

Good to feel your excitement and joy in your posts. :) Good for you!
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Re: Adventures With Tubbs

Post by RatDog » Sat Oct 10, 2020 5:08 pm

Sharon wrote:Good to feel your excitement and joy in your posts. :) Good for you!
Thanks Sharon! We are having a lot of fun which is the point after all


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Adventures With Tubbs

Post by RatDog » Sun Oct 11, 2020 11:02 am

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Day 12: one really great thing and a couple of not so good ones. The best thing that happened; a rooster got up out of a thicket in a coulee on a hillside, I shot it but when it went down it started running like the road runner over a hill out of sight. Tubby took off like Wiley coyote, except in this version he catches the bird. I started walking that way with little hope of finding it. Just when I was about to crest the hill here comes my little bro with a big rooster in his mouth!!! That was our first proper retrieve, I lost it I was so excited/proud!

Now for the frustrating stuff. Ol’ boy managed to bump the same covey of Huns 3 times! I’m almost impressed. Once on a hillside and I saw them go to cover over a ridge by a watering hole. Chased them over there and he did it again. For act three we were coming back by that spot and I wanted to make sure there weren’t pheasants we missed in the thick stuff when he flushed what is assume was the same darn covey a third time.

Next we were working the best looking pheasant cover on this piece, an irrigation ditch with thick grass and clumps of bushes. Tubbs got birdy and took off. He must’ve flushed 30 or more birds all down the ditch without a single one of them in range to shoot. I didn’t want to hit him with the collar so I just let him go and didn’t say a word when he got back but I’m sure I looked/acted pissed because I was.

I’m pretty sure Tubbs had a point on one of the birds I shot. He was right on the other side of a thicket and I believe standing still. He’s a bit of a ladies man, seems to save his best work for hens, or maybe they just hold better. We’ve had at least three really clean point-flush-can’t shoot sequences in the last two days. Not his fault but a bummer nonetheless.

The sharpies quite simply will not tolerate wind. It was like they had a spotting scope. They’d get up from the top of the coulee before I even got to the bottom and glide out of sight.

Overall a great day, can’t complain too much with a limit of pheasants in the bag Image


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Re: Adventures With Tubbs

Post by RatDog » Fri Oct 16, 2020 9:15 pm

Today was painful. Tough one for the home squad. We moved an absolutely preposterous number of birds, especially sharpies but also lots of pheasants and a handful of Huns. I scratched out one grouse and one partridge. Tubbs has gone from being meek as a lamb to having a mad glint of violence in his eyes when we hit the field. A brief list of things he found and chased; at least 50 sharptail, 30 pheasants, 15 huns, 10 deer, 1 coyote and 1 porcupine. He got the losing end of the exchange with the porcupine but not too bad, nothing I couldn’t handle with a leatherman. He took out every bird he found without skipping a beat. Several times if I could’ve reached him I would’ve been like Homer Simpson wringing Bart’s neck. A couple examples:

- I stop and talk to a guy glassing from the road to see where he is headed to make sure we don’t get in each other’s way. He said he’s watching his granddaughter walk the field above the hillside I was headed to, to look for grouse. I said no worries I’ll hit the next spot. He said he had seen a bunch of grouse and pointed out a piece of state land close by. It was the most beautiful piece of sharpie cover I’ve ever seen; a draw between two cut grain fields with knee high grass. There were buck berries and rose hips all over the place and thick bushes in the draws. I got out of the truck and before we even got going I heard a warning chuckle then boom. The biggest single covey of sharpies I’ve seen this year, 30 birds or so, get up right out of range. I pretty much parked on top of them. We could’ve gotten our limit on stragglers and a couple of doubles and singles that were hanging out elsewhere but one after another Tubbs found them and flushed them.

- A decent covey of Huns flushed wild out of some stubble. They always seem to go just out of sight into the next piece of defilade cover in pretty much a straight line. We followed their path over a ridge into the bottom. They had broken up and were holding nice and tight in singles and doubles. Tubbs tore around and made sure to flush every single one of them.

-I couldn’t seem to buy a rooster. A 20 gauge is a bit under gunned for them imho and I am far from Annie Oakley but it’s what I’ve got on hand. A couple had flushed wild that I put decent shots on and there would be a poof of feathers then they would continue sailing away as if unmolested. Needless to say, I really wanted to find and drop one. We were walking some thick grass next to stubble when one after another a large hen and two young of the year hens got up under my feet scaring me half to death each time. I thought to myself I know there’s an old rooster right around here somewhere. Here comes ol’ Tubby who had probably been off flushing birds elsewhere but saw the hens get up. He cruised right by me, caught scent and made a nice cut as if running an out route and flushed the rooster out of range

I didn’t say a word to him the entire time. That is going to be how it has to be anyway. If you go around talking to or God forbid shouting at your dog you’re not going to kill Huns and Sharpies. These are very cagey birds that require excellent manners. He’s started ranging pretty big. He’d hunt at 200 yds plus if I let him. If he could hold point that range would be fine by me but I’ve been trying to keep him close enough that I can see what he’s up to and perhaps one of these days shoot a bird over him. If he gets too far I give him momentary stim with the collar a few times and he locates me then comes back in my direction to check in. If he’s fired up I have to crank it up to something like the weld setting before he responds but eventually he gets the message.

He’s come a long way. Before things like correcting him with the collar would shut him down and he’d mope a while before opening back up. Now he’s about his business and doesn’t skip a beat. Little things like when he got a prickly pear in his foot you think he was dying and I’d have to pull it out whereas now he just sits down and pulls it out with his mouth on his own and keeps going.

The flushing thing is a real drag. He’s been moving so many birds. Some aren’t his fault, like when there is a ditch full of pheasants and they start going all over I can see how it’d be tough for him not to get crazy and run all over. But lots of them are perfect opportunities for nice clean points on coveys or singles that are holding nice and tight and those are painful to watch. We will keep at it and hopefully he figures it out. Worst case I believe his confidence and drive are at a point to where we can do some strong work in the off season and be ready for next year.


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Re: Adventures With Tubbs

Post by RatDog » Sat Oct 17, 2020 8:42 am

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Re: Adventures With Tubbs

Post by RatDog » Sat Oct 17, 2020 8:43 am

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Re: Adventures With Tubbs

Post by RatDog » Sat Oct 17, 2020 8:55 am

Well that couldn’t have gone more differently! First spot, three shots and three roosters down. We walked the cattails up this little ditch and it was like a European driven shoot. Birds everywhere. Only unfortunate thing was the third bird went down in the middle of a little farm pond. There was a thin layer of ice and he was sitting in a hole flopping around still alive. I couldn’t convince Tubby to go get him and I couldn’t stand the thought of leaving him out there so I waded out and got him. It was about waist deep and chilly. We were only 20 minutes from the apartment so we came back to warm both of us up and dry out, process the birds and come up with a game plan. I’m a MT resident and ND only allows non-residents two 7 day windows within which to hunt upland birds. This is my second window so I’d like to take advantage of it and go find some Huns and Sharpies. It’s also tempting to run across the border and get some more pheasants so I haven’t decided yet. Not bad choices to have


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Re: Adventures With Tubbs

Post by RatDog » Sun Oct 18, 2020 8:33 am

We opted to stay around here. Found one covey of Huns that flushed wild. They busted up and we managed to find a couple of the groups. Tubbs had one really nice find on a double that was up a spur off the main gulley in some bushes. I shot one of those. Nice way to finish off a good day.

Today we are off to find some more roosters. If we can get our 3 then we’ll follow the same program and chase Huns or Sharp Tails in the afternoon. I believe it’s getting late for Sharpies. They’re normally getting into big groups now and are extremely difficult to get close to before the spook. Lots of eyes to be on the lookout.


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IDHunter
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Re: Adventures With Tubbs

Post by IDHunter » Sun Oct 18, 2020 8:30 pm

If no one else has said it yet I will... I'm very jealous of the amount of time you get to spend in the field! I think you log more field time in a week than I will in a month. It's fun reading about your progress with Tubbs. Best of luck as it continues.

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Re: Adventures With Tubbs

Post by smilinicon » Mon Oct 19, 2020 8:46 am

I enjoy reading about your adventures with your dog and I learn much from the advice given in your threads. I am going though the same exact things with my 1 year old vizsla and I really appreciate your sense of humor about the bumping birds. I'm in Indiana and there are no birds here. Praying for a woodcock migration.

Best of luck,

Cary

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Re: Adventures With Tubbs

Post by deseeker » Mon Oct 19, 2020 12:25 pm

IDHunter wrote:
Sun Oct 18, 2020 8:30 pm
If no one else has said it yet I will... I'm very jealous of the amount of time you get to spend in the field! I think you log more field time in a week than I will in a month. It's fun reading about your progress with Tubbs. Best of luck as it continues.
X2
My season starts this coming Saturday, but my body is too beat up to hunt as much as you do with Tubbs. but I'll put in the time I can.
Good hunting & good shooting -- enjoy the dog :D

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Re: Adventures With Tubbs

Post by RatDog » Mon Oct 19, 2020 12:43 pm

Wow! Thanks for kind words boys! We are doing our best. I’ll spare you the whole sad story but I was laid off until pretty recently and then I had Covid so I couldn’t work again until I tested negative. Normally I’m on a rotation but things are so weird in the oil patch I don’t really have a set schedule and am stuck in ND for the most part. This isn’t the norm but it has worked out pretty nicely being Tubby’s rookie season and it’s the best year for bird numbers I’ve seen in a long time.


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Re: Adventures With Tubbs

Post by RatDog » Mon Oct 19, 2020 12:43 pm

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Re: Adventures With Tubbs

Post by RatDog » Mon Oct 19, 2020 12:44 pm

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Re: Adventures With Tubbs

Post by RatDog » Mon Oct 19, 2020 1:18 pm

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Re: Adventures With Tubbs

Post by RatDog » Mon Oct 19, 2020 1:29 pm

Not a bad haul for a half days work. Tubbs is really coming along! Both yesterday and today he had some legitimately nice dog work and finds. Seems we have broken through to another phase of his development which is a welcome change after the flushing phase. Couple of the highlights:

- the best by far was this lone sharpie. We busted the covey and I’m pretty sure this was one of those that we ran into later. Tubbs got really birdy and was working back and forth pretty tight with nose low then pointed. I was to the front and walk forward until we were pretty close. He broke the point and started to move on but hit the scent again and came back but not quite the same spot and pointed again. I kicked around some more and a single sharpie got up. Unfortunately I missed what was a challenging but makable shot. When he wasn’t looking I threw out a bird I had in the bag and told him to hunt dead hoping he wouldn’t know the difference which seemed to work.

-We were working along a field edge (pictured above) of stone and thick grass. He pointed and I kicked around in front of him but nothing. I was ready to move on but he wasn’t having it so I kicked around some more and a big rooster got up from under my feet which I dropped.

-We were working around an abandoned homestead (pictured above) and had checked pretty much all the likely spots but in the last corner Tubbs pointed a little fieldstone pile with buck berry bushes. I walked over, gun at the ready and boom a covey of Huns got up. I dropped a double, a rarity for me.

The rooster and Huns are in the picture. We’re calling it a day on a good note. I have a lot of bird processing and cooking to do for the rest of the day. I feel like I’m about to turn into a bird I’ve been eating so much as of late. I finally had to freeze some but I try not to since it tastes much better fresh.

Anyone who is not aware of Hank Shaw and his site needs to check it out. I’m no cook but have had lots of fun with the recipes. Just google Hunter Angler Gardner Cook. Today I’m doing Cajun Dirty Rice, Roast Pheasant and Pheasant Noodle Soup. I’ll pan roast some Huns later this week.


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Re: Adventures With Tubbs

Post by RatDog » Wed Oct 21, 2020 7:40 am

Had a lunch break session yesterday. Pretty cool that some of my best spots are practically in town. Maybe they get overlooked for that reason? We were walking up a draw with cut grain on one side and native grass on the other. There were some clumps of bushes in the bottom. It was nasty out. Snowing and windy. As soon as we got into the bushes there were birds going everywhere. Sharptails and pheasants which is pretty uncommon. Later in the year the sharpies key in on ag for food more and I guess the weather was bad enough they wanted to be in the bushes. I had several perfect shots on grouse I passed on because I just couldn’t be sure they weren’t hens. When there are that many birds around and they are running a lot it makes it really difficult to have clean point and shoot opportunities but we had one good one; a bunch of pheasants and a couple of sharpies got up out of a clump of bushes by some cattails. I also saw a couple more run out the back out of the gully. Tubbs insistently pointed at the bushes but I was pretty sure he was pointing the scent of the birds that had been there. By the time he convinced me and I started walking that way a lone rooster got up on the other side of the bushes so I didn’t have a shot.

I dropped one rooster with a nice swinging shot. It went down on top of the gulley and found itself a hidey hole before giving up the ghost. Tubby had a very nice find on the dead bird. Good afternoon


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Re: Adventures With Tubbs

Post by averageguy » Wed Oct 21, 2020 8:21 am

Hence the often repeated "Birds make a Bird Dog"

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