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Hunting late season sharptails

Hunting late season sharptails

Postby fishvik » Mon Nov 07, 2016 11:37 am

I noticed when we were hunting sharpies the last weekend of the season that when we were using lots of dogs(5), all well trained and backers that the birds were flushing way out of range. But when we were only hunting behind 1 or two dogs that were more mottled in coat color and slower moving that we were able to get much closer before they flushed. Have any of you sharpie hunters had similar experiences.
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Re: Hunting late season sharptails

Postby tekoa » Thu Nov 10, 2016 2:07 pm

I've noticed that when hunting Sharpies at any time of the year that they seem to have a noise level threshold. When hunting with more than two dogs or with three or four hunters, they tend to flush at about a hundred yards and they keep moving off as we approach. Also bells and beepers on dogs seem cause Sharpies to flush at great distances.

When hunting alone with my two setters the birds hold much longer and the dogs seem to get good points at 20 to 30 yards.
My dogs hunt fast at 10 - 15 mph and pin singles easily at those speeds. If the birds are in large groups the fast moving dogs will flush them at 100 yards or more. After the flush the dogs have no trouble pinning singles.

Not sure if slower moving dogs would have greater success or not. All of the dogs I've seen hunting Sharpies have been big range, fast moving pointing dogs. I did try and hunt with my Chessie once when my setters were injured and found that we had a great time chasing birds at 300 to 400 yards all day long. Finally got within 50 feet of three Sharpies that were sitting on the hood of the truck when we got back to camp.

My dogs are mostly white. I've never noticed that Sharpies on the ground were ever flushing because they sighted us.
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Re: Hunting late season sharptails

Postby Leeza » Thu Nov 10, 2016 11:21 pm

Yes me too. Sneak attack with 1 dog is the only option in late season. :D And yes Tekoa they do flush on sight, there's no fooling sharp tails once they've been educated.
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Re: Hunting late season sharptails

Postby Soignie » Fri Nov 11, 2016 4:05 am

Gamebirds that have been pressured all get jumpy whether it be bobwhite in the piney woods, pheasant in the midwest or sharptail/huns/chukar in the prairies/western States, birds start flushing wild or run off without being seen. Sharptails are notorious for being jumpy, field trial trainers who go to the Dakotas can attest to how the birds handle after being flushed a few times (and those birds aren't being shot at). Hunting one dog (two at the most) with minimal chatter between hunter and dog as well as between hunters is your best bet for success.
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Re: Hunting late season sharptails

Postby tekoa » Fri Nov 11, 2016 2:41 pm

Leeza,

I did't mean to say they wouldn't fly if they saw us, just that they seem to to sense our presence and flush long before they could have seen us or us them...........Without a good dog I doubt I'd ever see one.
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Re: Hunting late season sharptails

Postby Wyobio » Fri Nov 18, 2016 4:33 pm

Soignie wrote:Gamebirds that have been pressured all get jumpy whether it be bobwhite in the piney woods, pheasant in the midwest or sharptail/huns/chukar in the prairies/western States, birds start flushing wild or run off without being seen. Sharptails are notorious for being jumpy, field trial trainers who go to the Dakotas can attest to how the birds handle after being flushed a few times (and those birds aren't being shot at). Hunting one dog (two at the most) with minimal chatter between hunter and dog as well as between hunters is your best bet for success.


No doubt this is true, but sharptails take it to another level! Since they live exclusively in wide open country, they use their eyes and ears and will fly to the next county when they see a threat. In the late season when they bunch up, with more eyes on the lookout, they often will flush from a 1/4 mile or more. Pheasant found in the same habitat will use whatever cover to their advantage, but usually hold much more than sharptails (perfecting the backdoor escape).

I myself have had the best success on late season sharptails using the topography to hide my approach, then popping up and catching the birds unawares (which definitely requires stealth). Admittedly, this is usually by accident! But if you find them using a specific aspect and cover, other groups will likely be found in similar spots. I always run my dogs with the beeper collars off, and only use the tone to locate them if I have not seen them for a while....
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Re: Hunting late season sharptails

Postby slistoe » Fri Nov 18, 2016 11:50 pm

Late season sharptail - if you are really set on actually killing some birds for the table you are best to leave the dog at home, sight in the .22 for 75 yards and hope you can be stealthy enough to get that close. With a quick reload and some accurate shooting you might get 2 before they fly to the next county.
My experience has been that it really doesn't matter if the birds have been pressured or not throughout the season - when the young mature and the family coveys group together they just get jumpy.
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Re: Hunting late season sharptails

Postby fishvik » Sun Nov 20, 2016 2:29 pm

" sight in the .22 for 75 yards"
Slistoe, I agree, you don't how many times a flat shooting small caliber has been suggested my myself and buddies as the best solution for late season sharpies.
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Postby careyrob » Mon Mar 27, 2017 6:43 pm

My first introduction to upland hunting was on NE North Dakota Sharptails. I hunted them almost exclusively for the next 4 years and learned exactly what all of you are saying about late season birds. They get educated quickly and they're super sensitive to noise.
When there's no snow on the ground and the wind is blowing I always found them 20 yards from any cover out in plowed fields. Otherwise they seemed to like prairie grass that was knee high or taller.

They also tend to move off their roost later than pheasants and it's not uncommon for them to fly from wherever they pick up grit to their feeding grounds when they finally do get there about an hour or more after daybreak.

One trick I learn by pure luck was to hunt them in the rain. They hold better because the rain muffles your noise and they stay in thicker cover to try and stay dry so they can't see you coming either.

Sent from my SM-N910V using Tapatalk
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Re: Hunting late season sharptails

Postby Devilscreekw » Mon Apr 10, 2017 6:25 am

I have often noticed that sharptails often have a "lookout bird" sitting up in a tree while others are feeding on the ground. Makes it real tough to get close. Also in the late season, several groups will join together and make a "super covey". I have seen November flushes of 100 plus birds.
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Re: Hunting late season sharptails

Postby Scott Linden » Tue Apr 11, 2017 8:18 pm

i had a long discussion with some knowledgeable sharptail hunters last season, when I'd hunted both early and late season. In some places, second-week birds were as hinky as late season birds. Interestingly, those early birds who were so jumpy were in the big country used all summer by the pro trainers. For all practical purposes, those birds in the second week of September had already been "hunted' for 6-8 weeks. Anyone have any similar experience?
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Re: Hunting late season sharptails

Postby slistoe » Tue Apr 11, 2017 10:22 pm

Some of the areas I hunt are the same areas where folks will come to train and field trials are held. Can't really say that I have noticed a difference in the birds in areas that are "worked" versus areas that aren't. Cover, weather and time of day seem to be determining factors for how "jumpy" birds will be. The same covey of birds in early season will be jumpy and "tough" one day and hold well the next when the conditions under which they are found are different.
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Re: Hunting late season sharptails

Postby fishvik » Wed Apr 12, 2017 10:57 am

Scott Linden wrote:i had a long discussion with some knowledgeable sharptail hunters last season, when I'd hunted both early and late season. In some places, second-week birds were as hinky as late season birds. Interestingly, those early birds who were so jumpy were in the big country used all summer by the pro trainers. For all practical purposes, those birds in the second week of September had already been "hunted' for 6-8 weeks. Anyone have any similar experience?


Scott I hunt southeast Idaho and most of the sharptail habitat is characterized by bitterbrush, sage, tall grasses and chokecherry. Big country but not real open and to my knowledge it is not used much by trainers. Birds are definitely getting "hinky" by 2nd week of a 31 day season. I think it just the nature of the bird. And I've also observed sentry sharpies in trees.
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Re: Hunting late season sharptails

Postby slistoe » Wed Apr 12, 2017 11:36 pm

fishvik wrote:I think it just the nature of the bird. And I've also observed sentry sharpies in trees.

As a kid growing up we hunted game birds a lot. With the 22. A shotgun was considered unethical on a number of levels. I still remember vividly the day I was successful in hitting 5 consecutive beer bottle caps in the sand bank at 25 paces shooting rapid fire while my Dad counted out the time allowance. I was then considered good enough to be allowed to shoot at real game.
Anyway - in regards to the Sharptails it was imperative that a perfect head shot was made on the sentry birds if a person was to have any chance of getting close enough to harvest a couple of birds feeding further out in the exposed stubble. Body shot birds would still sound an alarm as they fell from the tree and the covey would vacate to the next county. Coveys of feeding birds were generally located by scanning for the sentry birds. Shots on sentry birds were generally in the 40 yard + range, but if there was only one sentry and it was successfully down a good stalk would get you into 25 yards of the main group.
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Re: Hunting late season sharptails

Postby HUNTS » Tue Apr 18, 2017 10:30 am

Very cool thread! Learned a bit here.
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Re: Hunting late season sharptails

Postby fishvik » Tue Apr 18, 2017 5:48 pm

HUNTS wrote:Very cool thread! Learned a bit here.

Hunts, Do you have a lot of sharptails in your area? Here in Idaho we only have a 1 month season but they are one of my favorite birds to hunt.
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Re: Hunting late season sharptails

Postby Scott Linden » Sun Apr 23, 2017 10:23 pm

Scott I hunt southeast Idaho and most of the sharptail habitat is characterized by bitterbrush, sage, tall grasses and chokecherry. Big country but not real open and to my knowledge it is not used much by trainers. Birds are definitely getting "hinky" by 2nd week of a 31 day season. I think it just the nature of the bird. And I've also observed sentry sharpies in trees.[/quote]

I've seen them treed in Wyoming, too. Still worth chasing them, even if we have to climb.
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Re: Hunting late season sharptails

Postby fishvik » Wed Apr 26, 2017 9:21 am

Scott Linden wrote:Scott I hunt southeast Idaho and most of the sharptail habitat is characterized by bitterbrush, sage, tall grasses and chokecherry. Big country but not real open and to my knowledge it is not used much by trainers. Birds are definitely getting "hinky" by 2nd week of a 31 day season. I think it just the nature of the bird. And I've also observed sentry sharpies in trees.


I've seen them treed in Wyoming, too. Still worth chasing them, even if we have to climb.[/quote]

I wonder what breed of dog would be best for pointing grouse in a tree? Southeast squirrel dog?
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Re: Hunting late season sharptails

Postby slistoe » Thu Apr 27, 2017 12:04 am

fishvik wrote:I wonder what breed of dog would be best for pointing grouse in a tree? Southeast squirrel dog?

German Wirehairs bark treed quite well on ruffies :D Just need to train them to "bark at first sight" and they should be serviceable for those Sharpies. :wink:
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Re: Hunting late season sharptails

Postby fishvik » Thu Apr 27, 2017 9:18 am

slistoe wrote:
fishvik wrote:I wonder what breed of dog would be best for pointing grouse in a tree? Southeast squirrel dog?

German Wirehairs bark treed quite well on ruffies :D Just need to train them to "bark at first sight" and they should be serviceable for those Sharpies. :wink:


I was thinking more of the photo op of a dog on point on one end of a branch and a bird on the other. :D
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Re: Hunting late season sharptails

Postby tailcracken pointer » Sat Apr 29, 2017 8:50 am

fishvik wrote:
slistoe wrote:
fishvik wrote:I wonder what breed of dog would be best for pointing grouse in a tree? Southeast squirrel dog?

German Wirehairs bark treed quite well on ruffies :D Just need to train them to "bark at first sight" and they should be serviceable for those Sharpies. :wink:


I was thinking more of the photo op of a dog on point on one end of a branch and a bird on the other. :D

hey fish I sent you a pm , did you get it?
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