Question on bye-passing a sitting bird

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Thornapple
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Question on bye-passing a sitting bird

Post by Thornapple » Wed Dec 12, 2012 7:37 am

I throw this question open to those of you that have more experience than I (hunted for 60 years minus two in Vietnam). My Spinone bitch has substantial experience hunting grouse, woodcock, and pheasant. In brief we hunt frequently and she has developed a great sense of the field, nose, and how to use these effectively. She has passed both her Master AKC and NAVHDA utility tests, so she is a proven versatile dog. However something happened recently that I am at a loss to explain and wondered if any of you know the answer.
Last Saturday hunting pheasants at our gun club she walked literally within inches of a sitting rooster and passed it. It in fact was not hidden under grass. I too walked past and it was a walk along guest following that spotted it. Now before I continue I should add this is the second time this happened with this dog; in the first case a hen, again sitting in plain view, and within inches of my dog passing.
Conditions were a bit wet for the rooster with no appreciable wind, and for the hen dry and no wind. Interestingly both incidents were in the same plot of sorghum cover.
Has anyone experienced this or understand what may have occurred?

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Re: Question on bye-passing a sitting bird

Post by JIM K » Wed Dec 12, 2012 11:55 am

i seen VERY good setters go right by bird that did not move and my small munsterlander come by and point it.
sometimes dog covering ground fast misses birds that a slower working dog finds.

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whatsnext
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Re: Question on bye-passing a sitting bird

Post by whatsnext » Wed Dec 12, 2012 12:05 pm

Even dogs have bad day's and we have to accept that i guess :D

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Re: Question on bye-passing a sitting bird

Post by Mountaineer » Wed Dec 12, 2012 3:27 pm

Little scent for some reason reaching the dog's nose...so what?

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ezzy333
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Re: Question on bye-passing a sitting bird

Post by ezzy333 » Wed Dec 12, 2012 4:46 pm

Mountaineer wrote:Little scent for some reason reaching the dog's nose...so what?
Right on. Has nothing to do with the dog as it happens to all of them. Last year my female couldn't find a bird I had shot and I saw her run right over it as I walked in. All we can do is guess what happens to the scent cone at any given time.

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Pappy
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Re: Question on bye-passing a sitting bird

Post by Pappy » Thu Dec 13, 2012 11:13 pm

I would not worry about it. I too have train lots of dogs and seen them go right pass the birds. I have also seen other dogs do the same. Just last week while hunting quail my german short hair walked right pass a small covey. I just about stepped on them. I thought how did the darn dog miss that. I don't quite understand it either but maybe they are just having a bad day.

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Re: Question on bye-passing a sitting bird

Post by RyanGSP » Fri Dec 14, 2012 12:37 am

If its the 2nd time in the same patch I would say the cover is holding the scent, especially when there is no wind.

Lots of times we are pushing cattails with dogs out front. I stop to rest, take a drink, duck for passing ducks, or whatever only to have a pheasant "bleep" near take my hat off from under my feet. Some cover just holds scent.

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Re: Question on bye-passing a sitting bird

Post by slistoe » Fri Dec 14, 2012 12:43 am

One time hunting pheasants it was very cold and frosty morning after a light snow. There were no birds moving anywhere - they were tucked in deep and sitting still. There was not a breath of breeze. The dogs were coming up completely empty when just ahead of me my Amelia dog went airborne as she was prone to do to clear a cattail clump. In midair as she passed over the clump she contorted her body, twisted around 180 degrees and hit the ground in a skidding point. My buddy and I laughed at her contortions and then hustled up to bag the bird over the only point of the morning.

Who knows what is really up with scent somedays.

Thornapple
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Re: Question on bye-passing a sitting bird

Post by Thornapple » Fri Dec 14, 2012 7:26 am

All thanks,
As I am new as to what to expect from a dog in the field, I am glad others confirm what I thought but was not sure. I find that even after three years of actively hunting with my dog I find that I am learning more and yet know less. I appreciate everyone's insight as it is helpful. My puppy yesterday had his first encounter with a woodcock. I think I was more surprised than him. His point was not photogenic, but he remained still until I arrived next to him thinking he wanted me to untangle his check chord from the multifloral rose, which it wasn't. I remember an old hunt test judge once saying, "always trust your dog, they know more than you!"
Merry Christmas everyone, BP

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Re: Question on bye-passing a sitting bird

Post by tdhusker » Tue Jan 08, 2013 4:54 pm

I've seen some exceptional dogs do this sort of thing. Dogs get used to a routine. They look at cover and birds the way you do and they go to where they think the birds will be. It's not unusual for them to run by a pen raised bird that is sitting in the wide open or run over a dead bird when they are in full finding mode. If they are focused on something like some great looking cover within view, I wouldn't worry much about the odd situation like a tame bird sitting in an open area.

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RoostersMom
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Re: Question on bye-passing a sitting bird

Post by RoostersMom » Tue Jan 08, 2013 5:38 pm

In studies looking at dogs hunting wild birds, they find about 50% of the birds out there. No shame in your girl missing a few! I was involved in the Missouri research project, not the one in the SE, but they both were about 50%.

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Re: Question on bye-passing a sitting bird

Post by Neil » Tue Jan 08, 2013 7:35 pm

Dogs have to exhale, it is a wonder they find the birds they do. Twice is not a problem, not even a trend. Not to worry.

Thornapple
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Re: Question on bye-passing a sitting bird

Post by Thornapple » Wed Jan 09, 2013 6:31 am

In fact since I wrote this, read all of your comments, I watched and experienced this one or two more times. Also in speaking with trainers with a "modicum" of experience they mentioned everything y'all said. "If the dog has a good nose and instincts it will find birds!"
Thornapple

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Re: Question on bye-passing a sitting bird

Post by mountaindogs » Wed Jan 09, 2013 6:59 am

Think survival. If the birds were smellable ALL the time and always findable which ones would live to reproduce? I would expect that coyotes, foxes and wolves, raccoons, bobcats etc... have pretty good noses too. It's not just an obsession for them, its life and death whether they find food. BUT some how with all the creatures trying to find them... some birds are missed. By some very good hunters.

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Big Dave
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Re: Question on bye-passing a sitting bird

Post by Big Dave » Wed Jan 09, 2013 7:05 am

Scenting conditions are hard for humans to understand and I agree with Neil, they are not always breathing in scent. They must exhale and sometimes this may happen when they are in the scent cone of a bird.

Thornapple
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Re: Question on bye-passing a sitting bird

Post by Thornapple » Thu Jan 10, 2013 8:05 am

Those of you that responded with scenting conditions can alter dramatically a dog's capability to pick up a bird seems to be the consensus among many experienced bird dog owners. It is interesting that this dog of mine walked right by a cock pheasant a few weeks ago is known for its incredible nose and scenting ability. I fact two dogs missed it within yards of the bird! It was only a "walk-along" behind me that spotted it.

For those interested in this subject and the capability of our dogs to pick up, or not, scent is little understood other than empirical evidence of upland bird hunters. I have spoken to some of the leading canine researchers at Clemson University, Univ. of Mississippi, and University of Montana on this and I am finding little has been studied. It would be fascinating for someone to explain first the capacity of canine scent (which is understood), conditions under which scent is given, types of scent (birds principally), and then its relationship to the bird dog. This maybe more than what most want to know. Yet it seems to me the more we know about our dogs the more we know how to respond to them, and under what conditions.
Thornapple

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