can ground sniffers hunt ruff grouse?

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JIM K
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can ground sniffers hunt ruff grouse?

Post by JIM K » Fri Oct 31, 2014 12:29 am

i have SMALL MUNSTERLANDER that is 2yr 6 month old.
he does point but do to his ground sniffing he is getting too close to ruff grouse.
its hard to get shot because he is too close to birds and they flush.

some say with time they will learn to holdback but i am not seeing it yet and breed [german] have ground sniffing factor .

any advice?

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Re: can ground sniffers hunt ruff grouse?

Post by ruffbritt4 » Fri Oct 31, 2014 4:12 am

I think he just needs more experience on ruffed grouse. I know during my hunting trip my dog really changed and became a better bird dog.

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Re: can ground sniffers hunt ruff grouse?

Post by setterpoint » Fri Oct 31, 2014 8:56 am

he may smell the bird and just trying to get to close. do you have a launcher. if you do you can help him along. with bird in launcher lead dog cross wind to the bird watch the dog close as soon as he act like he smells the bird if he don't point launch the bird.he should catch on quick. or just keep putting him on grouse they will teach him not to crowed hes still a young dog

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Re: can ground sniffers hunt ruff grouse?

Post by Doc E » Fri Oct 31, 2014 8:58 am

Maybe following a scent trail.
With experience, he will air scent when he gets closer.

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Re: can ground sniffers hunt ruff grouse?

Post by ridgerunner » Fri Oct 31, 2014 10:02 am

if he's not too far out and you have a shot..... I say shoot and try to get the bird..... hunt during the season..... train during the off season....

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Re: can ground sniffers hunt ruff grouse?

Post by JIM K » Fri Oct 31, 2014 2:21 pm

all good tips and about what i have been told.
SM does both ground/air BUT they are german hound type dog they say and ground sniff.
i was out with gordon setter .
she is older like 6 yrs.
when she hunts head is up and when she gets first scent, she stops and holds.
boy its real easy to get ruff grouse that way.

when your pup is covering territory and nose is halfway up off ground is he using air scents ?
i noticed Whiskers is doing this then he will slow way down and use nose on ground or he is covering ground in front of me and turns quick and puts nose down then about 25 ft or so up goes ruff grouse most times and sometimes he points just for second and up comes grouse 10 ft away in his face and usually i am too far back to get shot and i only shoot if he points.

maybe i am rushing things along to fast too and this is only about his 8 th time he has had contact with Ruff grouse as many days we see nothing ...

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Re: can ground sniffers hunt ruff grouse?

Post by bonasa » Fri Oct 31, 2014 3:30 pm

Ground sniffers do get lucky once in a while and hit a scent cone by chance when their head is high. Most will hit foot scent and bump the bird every time. The erratic stop and go of the dog deciphering the scent gets them into trouble every time. If you primarily hunt grouse and the dog has had more experience on them, I will say you have a lost cause on the dog being able to handle grouse well. Versatile breeds are supposed to scent the ground, although its not a fault , its not ideal. You could try and take the dog out of the woods for a season and a summer and begin popping the launcher on first scent, this may help, then again maybe not. Other than that, be happy with young wiskers and make the most of your time afield.

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Re: can ground sniffers hunt ruff grouse?

Post by JIM K » Fri Oct 31, 2014 10:20 pm

you are right. having Whiskers at least i am getting out more than i have in years.
if after working with launchers next spring etc and knowing the v dogs use ground to scent and he does not air scent and hold back ,would you hunt close to him so you can get shot when grouse goes up ?

would you then after say he does not holdback shoot a bumped ruff grouse?
i guess my question would you treat him like flusher hunting grouse IF things we suggested dont work?

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Re: can ground sniffers hunt ruff grouse?

Post by aulrich » Mon Nov 03, 2014 10:56 am

So why would grouse be any different than most other upland birds, short of the swirly nature of wind in the woods.

This sounds more like bird crowding issue than any real issue with hunt style, but to be honest I would expect a specialist pointing breed to out point a versatile most any day(by how much is a matter of debate).

It can also be a strength turning into a weakness sort of thing. My LM who has the same sort of build in hunting behaviors when he hits a foot scent he will track it down , if he hits the scent cone he will point head up or head down. But the trouble starts with tracks going downwind, but what I have learned with my dog is there is regular birdy body language and “there is a bird close” birdy when the second happens I make sure that I am in gun range. That works when I am in the open grass or cattails, much harder in the grouse woods.

So would a specialist pointer use foot scent at all.

Bottom line, keep hunting your dog, stick to the only pointed bird thing. The crowding thing is easy to fix, my LM had way more planted birds shot over him, than wild (up until this season) so he did develop a bit of a bird crowding problem, a few sessions with remote launchers smoothed that over.

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Re: can ground sniffers hunt ruff grouse?

Post by Neil » Mon Nov 03, 2014 11:54 am

Ruff grouse when heavily hunted are special birds requiring great skill, it is not hype. I have had only a few of my accomplished quail/pheasant dogs that became even fair on grouse. Yet most had little trouble with sharptail, woodcock, Huns, blues, etc.

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Re: can ground sniffers hunt ruff grouse?

Post by Mountaineer » Mon Nov 03, 2014 12:33 pm

I would hazard a guess that some grouse have been shot at(or over :roll:) and that has interfered or set back rather than reinforced any training of Whiskers....Whiskers is getting his kicks independently, rather than as part of the team. :idea:
Another guess...any issue lies not with the SM and his manner of sniffing or the height of his nose above the ground.
No doubt SMs make fine grouse dogs...understanding of course, that making a grouse dog requires time and grouse....with any skill in hunting ruffed grouse driven by that time and those bird contacts.
Send Whiskers to a trainer.

Grouse learn and the more there is concerted effort in hunting populations, they will be less inclined to hold, that's all, nothing spooky or whatever....pre-dispersal birds somewhat exempted.
Hunting the same spots over and over the same way will also allow the birds to pattern the hunter.
Difficulty can arise, imo, with a learning curve re any bird...concentrate on one or two species and then too many expect the good dogs to automatically be good every time, first time on another species....even after a road trip.
That is not reality, again imo.

Ruffed grouse are special birds indeed but not for their occasional difficulty in front of a dog's nose...that, would be missing what a ruffed grouse can truely offer. :!:

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Re: can ground sniffers hunt ruff grouse?

Post by Grange » Mon Nov 03, 2014 9:00 pm

I've hunted behind ground sniffers and they do find grouse and can hold grouse. A lot of people don't realize how much grouse run, especially later in the season and, I strongly believe a faster moving dog will better be able to hold a running grouse. Ground sniffers in my experience are slower moving so they may not be able to hold a grouse as well as faster moving air sniffers, but the can still be effective on grouse.

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Re: can ground sniffers hunt ruff grouse?

Post by Bad River » Thu Nov 06, 2014 8:11 am

No ground sniffers have a hard time handling grouse. IMO

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Re: can ground sniffers hunt ruff grouse?

Post by JIM K » Thu Nov 06, 2014 5:37 pm

i was out this week and same area NO GROUSE.
last week 6 in 200 yards.
so Whiskers and me tried WC area.
he pointed 4 WC.
they were 5ft from him and i could not see them.
dont laugh i could not believe that i could not until they flew in my face.
he did track right to WC and pointed.

grouse as we know you cant get that close.
i am continuing to still not shoot the grouse Whiskers does not point.
now i am keeping myself CLOSE to him ,before i was letting him hunt out to 80 yards then i could hear flush and him barking etc.
this way i can see if he is bumping birds more.

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Re: can ground sniffers hunt ruff grouse?

Post by JIM K » Thu Nov 06, 2014 5:48 pm

Mountaineer wrote:I would hazard a guess that some grouse have been shot at(or over :roll:) and that has interfered or set back rather than reinforced any training of Whiskers....Whiskers is getting his kicks independently, rather than as part of the team. :idea:
Another guess...any issue lies not with the SM and his manner of sniffing or the height of his nose above the ground.
No doubt SMs make fine grouse dogs...understanding of course, that making a grouse dog requires time and grouse....with any skill in hunting ruffed grouse driven by that time and those bird contacts.
Send Whiskers to a trainer.

Grouse learn and the more there is concerted effort in hunting populations, they will be less inclined to hold, that's all, nothing spooky or whatever....pre-dispersal birds somewhat exempted.
Hunting the same spots over and over the same way will also allow the birds to pattern the hunter.
Difficulty can arise, imo, with a learning curve re any bird...concentrate on one or two species and then too many expect the good dogs to automatically be good every time, first time on another species....even after a road trip.
That is not reality, again imo.

Ruffed grouse are special birds indeed but not for their occasional difficulty in front of a dog's nose...that, would be missing what a ruffed grouse can truely offer. :!:
i was out with a Gordon Setter and she hunted same way as Whiskers back /forth of you about 50 yards out max.
she pointed from 25 yards away every ruff grouse ,i believe around 7.
it actually was very easy to get ruff grouse ,i did not shoot but i know i could have got most

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Re: can ground sniffers hunt ruff grouse?

Post by Grange » Sat Nov 08, 2014 8:20 pm

We spent the day grouse hunting in some balsm fir mixed forests and I found that the two ground sniffers did very well. Over the last two days we got about three inches of snow which caused the limbs of the balsam fir trees to hang down. The grouse were hanging out either in the balsams or under the limbs. The ground sniffers were great at finding the birds a the base of the balsam firs trees.

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Re: can ground sniffers hunt ruff grouse?

Post by JIM K » Sat Nov 08, 2014 10:22 pm

again its nice to have so many that have great advice on here .being this is my first SM and he is hoot. :D
today he found 4 ruff grouse. 8)
he was covering ground in front of me back and forth out to about 50 yards and moving fairly steady.
his nose was about 10 inchs off ground.
i did see him move into 3 of 4 grouse and they flushed or bumped as is said here.
1 of ruff grouse i saw him stop and hold and actually beeper on my garmin alpha went off and i saw grouse flush.
BUT he was very close to that grouse and that one for some reason held . :o
i dont believe he tracked any of those 4 grouse as i believe they were not moving thru woods and feeding in their little spot.
when he lowers his nose to inch off the leaves and tail going he is tracking a grouse. :wink:
so i got good look today at what is happening by keeping myself close to Whiskers and keeping him in sight.

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Re: can ground sniffers hunt ruff grouse?

Post by Grange » Sun Nov 09, 2014 9:41 pm

Grange wrote:We spent the day grouse hunting in some balsm fir mixed forests and I found that the two ground sniffers did very well. Over the last two days we got about three inches of snow which caused the limbs of the balsam fir trees to hang down. The grouse were hanging out either in the balsams or under the limbs. The ground sniffers were great at finding the birds a the base of the balsam firs trees.
Here is a picture of the cover where the ground sniffers excelled.
Image

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Re: can ground sniffers hunt ruff grouse?

Post by aulrich » Mon Nov 10, 2014 11:24 am

One thing that strikes me is if you want to do grouse one yard training that I think grouse hunter need to do more work with than your typical grassland hunter is steadiness with a bird in sight. birds jumping up on logs can be hard on a dog, especially at a distance where OB starts weakening.

I had an interesting talk with a guy who was running a setter(he described the dog as a born and bred grouse dog) on the weekend. Differences in working styles were clearly obvious head down VS head up, range and speed (age may have been a factor2.5 vs 7 years). And the big one that setter does not utilize foot scent at all whereas my LM mixes it up but is mostly nose down.

One point he did make is his dog is a careful hunter, my LM can be meticulous almost to the extreme I would not call him careful at all . Spooky birds and a hard charging dog crashing cover can’t be a good thing.

One thing I am learning with mine LM is managing his tracking ability, he will track birds downwind he will pin a few but mostly just bust them, learning his body language and how to handle him in a downwind track will put birds in the bag, but also trust him to air scent birds as well, they won’t run past birds. I look at it as a wash birds he did not scent because of the air current being above his head are made up by birds he found by cutting tracks.

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Re: can ground sniffers hunt ruff grouse?

Post by Grange » Mon Nov 10, 2014 12:03 pm

aulrich wrote:
One point he did make is his dog is a careful hunter, my LM can be meticulous almost to the extreme I would not call him careful at all . Spooky birds and a hard charging dog crashing cover can’t be a good thing.
I think a hard charging fast moving dog that doesn't crash cover but rather navigates through it is the best grouse dog.

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Re: can ground sniffers hunt ruff grouse?

Post by JIM K » Wed Nov 12, 2014 10:24 pm

both of you are right. gordon setter i hunted with was QUIET .almost like she had bedroom slippers on.she glided thru brush.she pointed from 25 yds away.
i saw same with ryman setter they flow thru woods.

Whiskers the SM more or less plods thru woods,SO FAR. not that flowing type of run.

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Re: can ground sniffers hunt ruff grouse?

Post by JIM K » Wed Nov 12, 2014 10:33 pm

Grange wrote:
Grange wrote:We spent the day grouse hunting in some balsm fir mixed forests and I found that the two ground sniffers did very well. Over the last two days we got about three inches of snow which caused the limbs of the balsam fir trees to hang down. The grouse were hanging out either in the balsams or under the limbs. The ground sniffers were great at finding the birds a the base of the balsam firs trees.
Here is a picture of the cover where the ground sniffers excelled.
Image

that type of condition is where SM would shine bigtime..i hunt in feb with him like that and grouse are close shots as he points them in that stuff.
i agree this is where a setter does not shine.
same with pheasants, SM shines in my opinion over setters.i have gone behind setters with SM and got pheasants that setters missed.

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Re: can ground sniffers hunt ruff grouse?

Post by Lucky Dog » Thu Nov 13, 2014 6:20 pm

It would seem to me that you have two issues that are leading to your dog not handling grouse well.
The first is that is sounds like tour dog is crowding them, I'd bet it is not because he is a "ground sniffer" but because he just wants to get a little close. I'd go back to the training birds and teach him to establish a point at first scent, a bit further away than he is used to.

The second issue is that he is probably working too close. You said he was working"out to" 50 yards. In my experience if your dog is within 50 yards the hunter is having an influence on how the bird behaves more so than the dog. If you are intentionally keeping him in close, don't. If he is a naturally close worker, there are methods to use that encourage him to range out, and I'd encourage you to use them.

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Re: can ground sniffers hunt ruff grouse?

Post by JIM K » Fri Nov 14, 2014 11:07 am

LD,
going to work on FIRST smell thing with launchers this winter.if i can trap pigeons.
having Whiskers on WC he gets very close and locks up on them as WC will not flush on close point.
normally Whiskers hunts out around 50 yd area or less.
i try to keep myself close to him,if not all i hear is flush of ruff grouse that he is too close too.
i still have not shot ruff grouse unless Whiskers pointed it that has been about 2 out of 50 ruff grouse.
being he does not point back 25 yds usually he is within 10 yards or less when i see ruff grouse flush.

i did see he was tracking at time all grouse flush NOT bumping them as he covers back/forth in front of me.
so yes, IF he held at first scent i believe the ruff grouse may hold,not sure .
Whiskers does check in with me a lot ,he will go out more than 50 yards if i stay still but a few minutes later he is covering ground BACK to me, lifts his head to see me and continues too hunt.

i kind of like that type of dog hunting because i see action happening enjoying hunt too with him.
this is why i liked the GORDON SETTER i hunted with. she hunted same way as Whiskers back/forth out front 50 yards or less and pointed 7 ruff grouse
only difference was she locked up at first air scent and she kept her head high never too ground.

i could have shot at least 6 of those ruff grouse,it really opened my eyes on that setter.
these were PRESSURED ruff grouse too.
Last edited by JIM K on Fri Nov 14, 2014 11:22 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: can ground sniffers hunt ruff grouse?

Post by JIM K » Fri Nov 14, 2014 11:18 am

Neil wrote:Ruff grouse when heavily hunted are special birds requiring great skill, it is not hype. I have had only a few of my accomplished quail/pheasant dogs that became even fair on grouse. Yet most had little trouble with sharptail, woodcock, Huns, blues, etc.
neil, you are right on pressured ruff grouse.
paul fuller was doing ruff grouse show in wisconsin.
he had his dog DILLION a gsp.
he went on the hunt and his dog could not get point on ruff grouse.
this gsp had 100s of bird contacts before.
he blamed the pressure.
i agree but he has GROUND SNIFFER same as me and its hard on pressured ruff grouse with any dog that sniffs ground.

it was so bad that he went to PRIVATE ground where ruff grouse were not pressured so much and dillion got the points for show.
top dog trainer from north said to paul, GSP DOG ARE GROUND SNIFFERS AND NO GOOD ON RUFF GROUSE.
what should have been said is, GROUND SNIFFERS ARE NOT GOOD ON PRESSURED RUFF GROUSE.... :wink:

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