hunt close

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BuckeyeSteve
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hunt close

Post by BuckeyeSteve » Mon Jan 21, 2019 10:25 pm

My Brittany just hit one year old. He's doing really well on hunt drive, finding birds, and most commands I've trained. He's not doing well at quartering a field and hunting in the range I'd like him to....but that is because of my lack of training effort/knowledge in this area, not that he's not listening. I'm working on getting him to quarter better by doing the same myself and getting him to turn on my turns. On my other subject...hunting close.... I have no clue what to do. If I call him close, he'll somewhat quarter with me and stay close...but if I leave him to hunt on his own he ranges to a couple hundred yards, whether we're in fields or woods. Is there anything I can do to teach him to stay within 50-75 yards of me (especially in the woods)?

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Re: hunt close

Post by Trekmoor » Tue Jan 22, 2019 5:55 am

If your dog is to hunt within 70 yards from you then be consistent and train it on open ground to keep well within that range. Don't let it out further than the distance you can control it at.
You will have to command the turns for a good long time but eventually the dog will accept your range limit …..but..... it is in the nature of all hunting dogs with any real "drive" in them to hunt further out from you if no game can be found nearer to you. The dog will "pull out" on you.

This is not necessarily a bad thing with a pointing dog breed. It means that on wide open ground with a scarcity of game , the dog will pull out wider to find it. It is how I train all my pointing dogs , including brittanies. I don't use e-collars , I just get the quartering going well close in and then let the dog "pull out" on me . If , while doing that, the dog starts to get out of control, I at once bring it in close again and keep it in close until I am sure that I once more have the control I need to hunt over Britain's fields and moorlands and woods.

I am probably telling you something you already know here but I will mention it "just in case." When teaching quartering always "give the pup the wind." This means that, to begin with, you should always hunt the pup as directly into the wind as possible . Don't just arrive at a field and let the pup loose. Check the winds direction first and then walk around the field until you can hunt into the wind.

If a pup gets used to always having the wind in it's favour when it is young then it will always want the wind in it's favour and , later in it's life, when hunting "for real" it will adjust itself to the wind and to you and hunt accordingly no matter from what direction the wind is blowing ....no more training is needed.

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Re: hunt close

Post by cjhills » Tue Jan 22, 2019 6:56 am

I Don't really Have a lot to offer and Trekmor has much more knowledge then I do about quartering and control.
I never train my dogs to quarter, I like them to seek objectives and use the wind. Most dogs will develop a natural range as they gain hunting experience. As T says most will pull out if they are the kind of dogs most of us want. So we need to get some sort of handle. If you use planted birds or launchers, planting them at the general distance you want him to range may help. My way would be, put my Astro on him and let him roll.....Cj
Last edited by cjhills on Thu Jan 24, 2019 8:19 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: hunt close

Post by mnaj_springer » Tue Jan 22, 2019 7:05 am

Steve,

I’m curious... why do you want the dog in that range? Does it have to do with steadiness or more to do with not wanting to bust brush from 100 yards (I know that feeling)?

Trekmoor is right about pulling out to find more birds. A trick I’ve seen that may work is to bring a pigeon with in your game bag and if the dog works too far out plant it then encourage the dog to work back in range. Hopefully finding a bird closer will help keep the pup closer in general.

As for quartering, I don’t require my pointer to quarter. I want her to seek birdy areas and use her big nose. To get her to change direction I either turn that way (if she can see me) or I shut my mouth if she can’t see me because she checks in with me every so often to make sure we’re going the same direction. Finally, through some association I trained her to turn when I yell “yuuupp,” though I seldom use this in the field.

I’m not saying what I do is right but it might give you some ideas. When the pup is out beyond your idea range does he check back in if you stay silent and don’t move?
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Re: hunt close

Post by averageguy » Tue Jan 22, 2019 7:28 am

I let my pointing dogs hunt with minimal interference from me for the most part. A pointing dog using the wind and seeking objectives where they have learned birds are most likely to be is far more natural and effective than rote quartering.

My dogs are trained to recall silently to the tone on the ecollar, but I do not attempt to direct their ground pattern alot using it.

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Re: hunt close

Post by shags » Tue Jan 22, 2019 10:24 am

Check out Huntsmith videos, Rick has some footage on a training one where he shows how to use a check cord to get that windshield wiper motion going. Looks to me that it takes some pretty good cc skills.

So I've never bothered with it since for my purposes my dogs should reach to likely objective and hold birds until I get there. But there are times when I need them to hunt very close and controlled. To train for that, use a jacket or vest stuffed with pigeons, and while the dog is way forward, quick lightly plant a bird and call him in. Then use a command like "look here" or whatever, and keep him near until her finds the bird. You want to keep moving though, even a little bit, so the dog doesn't just stand there with you or run off to the front requiring more call back. Help him out by moving into the wind.

Once in a while you can toss a bird too and get in some STF training as well. The idea is that the dog figures out "Look here" means bird close by.

Use an old crappy vest or jacket for this, cleaning pigeon schmutz out of pockets is almost impossible :lol:

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Re: hunt close

Post by birddogger2 » Tue Jan 22, 2019 5:46 pm

Steve -

There is a technique called "bending" whereby you teach a dog to turn on command. You can search this and other gundog sites for a more thorough explanation, but here is my thumbnail version:

I don't do this with my dogs any longer, because I mostly field trial them. But when I mostly hunted, I found this helpful, especially in cover. Before e-collars I used the verbal cue HUT in conjunction with the check cord, followed by GEE and HAW(same as with horses) to turn them right or left. Sometimes it even worked.

You start out on a lawn or some such with your dog on a checkcord. Let the dog walk out and then turn and pop the checkcord to turn the dog. Turn back forward as the dog is coming across in front of you and at some point, turn in the other direction, pop the cord again to cue the dog to turn and come back in the other direction. Do this drill until the dog will turn on cue from the checkcord...then overlay the e-collar and start cueing the dog first with the e-color(tone would be fine, if you have it). if the dog does not respond to the tone cue, pop the checkcord and hit the dog with a low level(1-3) stim, preferably nicks.

Eventually, the goal is to completely replace the checkcord with the e-collar. You need to be VERY consistent with the distance you allow the dog to range forward before you cue it to turn. Once the dog is responding well, turning on command and coming across in front you can go to the field.

I'd start off with a long(50 ft) checkcord in an open field. Let the dog surge forward and then turn it left and right with the checkcord, out near the limit of the cord. Then let the cord drag and begin doing the e-collar cues at a reasonable close hunting distance, like 50 yards. Turn the dog back and forth in front with collar cues, as you walk forward.

I used to overlay the verbal command/caution "HUNT CLOSE", when I was doing this drill, because I typically wanted my dog much further out and taking an edge. I only wanted my guys to hunt close when I needed close control or wanted the dog to really concentrate on a certain area. If I said nothing, the dog knew to range and hunt.

The suggestions about hunting into the wind are spot on and will help to cement the back and forth pattern. The caution about immediately bringing the dog back in and re-establishing control is also something you should take to heart. You can(and should, I think) vary the distance at which you cue the dog to turn based on the thickness of the cover. This gets the dog to thinking about pulling it in when it is tight and stretching it out when it is open.

You will begin to know that you are into your dog's head when your dog turns to come across the front just as you reach for the e-collar to cue it.

If you are consistent, insistent and persistent it will happen.

RayG

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Re: hunt close

Post by polmaise » Tue Jan 22, 2019 6:19 pm

BuckeyeSteve wrote:My Brittany just hit one year old. He's doing really well on hunt drive, finding birds, and most commands I've trained. He's not doing well at quartering a field and hunting in the range I'd like him to....but that is because of my lack of training effort/knowledge in this area, not that he's not listening. I'm working on getting him to quarter better by doing the same myself and getting him to turn on my turns. On my other subject...hunting close.... I have no clue what to do. If I call him close, he'll somewhat quarter with me and stay close...but if I leave him to hunt on his own he ranges to a couple hundred yards, whether we're in fields or woods. Is there anything I can do to teach him to stay within 50-75 yards of me (especially in the woods)?
Yea, ..Have all the birds 50-75 yards either side of You in woods .
...
Personally I would let the dog find the birds ..even if they were further than 100 Yards in woods . :wink: ...It will point them and you can catch up .

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Re: hunt close

Post by birddogger2 » Tue Jan 22, 2019 8:52 pm

:wink:
polmaise wrote:
BuckeyeSteve wrote:My Brittany just hit one year old. He's doing really well on hunt drive, finding birds, and most commands I've trained. He's not doing well at quartering a field and hunting in the range I'd like him to....but that is because of my lack of training effort/knowledge in this area, not that he's not listening. I'm working on getting him to quarter better by doing the same myself and getting him to turn on my turns. On my other subject...hunting close.... I have no clue what to do. If I call him close, he'll somewhat quarter with me and stay close...but if I leave him to hunt on his own he ranges to a couple hundred yards, whether we're in fields or woods. Is there anything I can do to teach him to stay within 50-75 yards of me (especially in the woods)?
Yea, ..Have all the birds 50-75 yards either side of You in woods .
...
Personally I would let the dog find the birds ..even if they were further than 100 Yards in woods . :wink: ...It will point them and you can catch up .

Polmaise -

Please don't tell him that!! Let him work his dog, get it just the way he wants and then, IT will happen. :wink: :wink:

One day, his dog will slide off to one side and won't come back. He will go over where he saw the dog last, search a little farther and find it hard on point, just waiting for him...a little way out beyond his (former) comfort zone.

If we are lucky, we get to have that happen to us in one way or another. :D

I have, many times, tried to describe to folks how the sense of apprehension, when I saw my dog head over the hill, turned to a sense of almost pure joy, exhilaration and relief, all rolled into one, when I topped that rise and saw that dog standing there... locked up, tight as a tick...just waiting for me.

But the crucial part of this equation is that if you never let your dog go over that hill, you can never make that awesome discovery.

It can be a hard thing for folks to trust their dogs enough to let them out of their sight.

RayG

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Re: hunt close

Post by Featherfinder » Wed Jan 23, 2019 9:44 am

Buckeye, admittedly you are just learning about pointing dogs so, your question is one I hear often. Take comfort in that.
In my experience, the question sometimes takes on another phase. It sounds more like, "My dog points fine, but he works too far."
Translation: The dog has not been trained to hold point properly, coupled with owners that accept said unruly performance and STILL fire over bumped birds (under the guise of, "I just want a meat/hunting dog, not a trial champion). As such, the dog learns that if he/she bumps a bird close in AND the owner can't get a shot, it's going to take a beating! So, the dog learns to get farther from the handler to have it's fun. Hence, the uninformed owners comment that his dog does point but ranges too far.
Specifically, the desired distance your dog works from you is determined by species and habitat (for pointing breeds) and not any one person's perception of range.
As a youngster, your dog should learn that for "success" YOU need to be an integral player. And that will serve both you and your dog going forward on most any species, anywhere.

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Re: hunt close

Post by polmaise » Wed Jan 23, 2019 12:44 pm

birddogger2 wrote: It can be a hard thing for folks to trust their dogs enough to let them out of their sight.

RayG
Yes !

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Re: hunt close

Post by Sharon » Wed Jan 23, 2019 1:46 pm

Many possible reasons why the OP wants his dog to hunt closely. Fear of losing his dog is definitely a possibility ( Well said Ray). What are you using Steve to give you some confidence - GPS? bell? locator collar? Could also be that OP doesn't have confidence that his dog will hold till he gets to the point. That fear is solved with training. The type of terrain that Steve is hunting in will also affect the distance in which he wants his dog to work.
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Re: hunt close

Post by polmaise » Wed Jan 23, 2019 2:27 pm

The MAIN Possible reason is often/Usual ,that lack of Control in an environment or situation is Not available , when Really ...Allowing that Control with the purpose and task is "Training" . (imo) and allowing the Dog to work it out with the game can and does require a little trust on both sides.
...
Training and conditioning a Turn whistle /and or command to Quest at a required distance left and Right is useful when the Cover is sparse and a Hunt whistle /and or command to teach the dog not to stick on residual scent when Hunting /Questing the ground .
End of the day ...The Dog will know where the Game is more than than any handler or Trainer .....Wind and fancy concepts and majestic quartering across ground with lovely patterns within a defined distance may look good . :wink:

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Re: hunt close

Post by Garrison » Wed Jan 23, 2019 3:17 pm

polmaise wrote:
birddogger2 wrote: It can be a hard thing for folks to trust their dogs enough to let them out of their sight.

RayG
Yes !
And way too easy to turn a dog in to a yo yo with an e-collar rather than a dog that turns on a voice command and stays in the hunt. One is a pleasure to hunt with, one not so much.

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Re: hunt close

Post by polmaise » Wed Jan 23, 2019 3:58 pm

Garrison wrote:
polmaise wrote:
birddogger2 wrote: It can be a hard thing for folks to trust their dogs enough to let them out of their sight.

RayG
Yes !
And way too easy to turn a dog in to a yo yo with an e-collar rather than a dog that turns on a voice command and stays in the hunt. One is a pleasure to hunt with, one not so much.
I would Not Know Garrison,as I dont use e-collar . You would be far more versed and experienced in doing this .

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Re: hunt close

Post by Garrison » Wed Jan 23, 2019 4:16 pm

[/quote]
I would Not Know Garrison,as I dont use e-collar . You would be far more versed and experienced in doing this .[/quote]

Or judging by the point of my post, not doing this and listening to Ray's advice. You my friend are a special kind of character. You seem to be so used to being disagreeable that you can't even agree with someone who was in fact agreeing with you. I'm sure there was a name for this in my freshman logic class, or maybe it was psychology. :wink:

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Re: hunt close

Post by polmaise » Wed Jan 23, 2019 4:30 pm

Garrison wrote:
I would Not Know Garrison,as I dont use e-collar . You would be far more versed and experienced in doing this .[/quote]

Or judging by the point of my post, not doing this and listening to Ray's advice. You my friend are a special kind of character. You seem to be so used to being disagreeable that you can't even agree with someone who was in fact agreeing with you. I'm sure there was a name for this in my freshman logic class, or maybe it was psychology. :wink:[/quote]

...........................................

I would like to keep it civil .
I agree with most folk on here ,they are a good bunch and real good dawg folk . !
Rays advice is Great ! (And I am sure He knows that I know that ;) ) ...
Have a nice day .... quote Polmaise

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Re: hunt close

Post by Garrison » Wed Jan 23, 2019 5:02 pm

polmaise wrote:
Garrison wrote:
I would Not Know Garrison,as I dont use e-collar . You would be far more versed and experienced in doing this .
Or judging by the point of my post, not doing this and listening to Ray's advice. You my friend are a special kind of character. You seem to be so used to being disagreeable that you can't even agree with someone who was in fact agreeing with you. I'm sure there was a name for this in my freshman logic class, or maybe it was psychology. :wink:[/quote]

....................................................
I would like to keep it civil .
I agree with most folk on here ,they are a good bunch and real good dawg folk . !
Rays advice is Great ! (And I am sure He knows that I know that ;) ) ...
Have a nice day .[/quotePolmaise]
.........................

Really strange couple of posts, but sounds good to me. Been great agreeing with you! [ quote Garrison ]

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Re: hunt close

Post by Sharon » Wed Jan 23, 2019 5:28 pm

Are you guys all right :)
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Re: hunt close

Post by Garrison » Wed Jan 23, 2019 5:39 pm

Sharon wrote:Are you guys all right :)
Sorry Sharon, I didn’t mean to flip over the Monopoly board and take my ball home. :D

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Re: hunt close

Post by Featherfinder » Wed Jan 23, 2019 10:58 pm

My expectations regarding my dogs on wild birds parallels Garrison's responses. Putting on a display of a mechanical performance rarely proves fruitful in wild bird hunting. With the proper early training, you and your canine companion learn trust. Trust is earned by your faith in the early training and the dog's success in said training. Trust is also developed by your dog - that you will be there to perform your part of the duet. Once this synergy blooms/grows, bird hunting grows to a level some rarely see while others - sadly - have no idea exists. It is there for all. Too many settle for mediocrity.

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Re: hunt close

Post by cjhills » Thu Jan 24, 2019 7:34 am

Many people, especially beginners are uncomfortable with the dog pulling out. Most weekend hunters depend on gamefarm birds.They don't like seeing the bird they pay $25 for fly away. If the bird flushes in range they shoot it. They are happy as could be with their dog. The dog is happy as can be with his life. So why do we need to convince him to do things our way. The dog is defintely not mechanical.
High level performance is in the high of the beholder, an aquired taste.
If he wants the dog close maybe we should help him with that. Everybody giving advice on this post admitted their dogs cheat when they get out of sight in a previous post. So maybe he is right.....Cj

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Re: hunt close

Post by gonehuntin' » Thu Jan 24, 2019 9:29 am

My personal opinion is that you should stop fighting the dog and adjust to him. Every dog has a God given, built in range. You can control it by constant hacking but you will never change it. 200 yards is not a long way out. At 70 yards you may as well own a flusher. Quartering is very useful if you hunt grouse or woodcock, not pheasant or sharpies. With those birds they should either run to objectives or hunt in large, kind of oval loops.

When you have to train a dog to do something, restrict range or quarter be aware that if the dog doesn't like doing it, he will always revert to what HE wants to do unless corrected. To teach quartering is really very easy, in fact many times you don't have to teach it. If you don't say a word and just keep changing directions in the field, no whistle, the dog will learn to watch you, shorten his range somewhat, and quarter. The woods are tougher. Only way to do it there is for YOU to walk a logging road and walk into the woods, one side to the other. A real pain. You're worrying too much. Let poochie be a poochie.
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Re: hunt close

Post by shags » Thu Jan 24, 2019 9:37 am

cjhills wrote:Many people, especially beginners are uncomfortable with the dog pulling out. Most weekend hunters depend on gamefarm birds.They don't like seeing the bird they pay $25 for fly away. If the bird flushes in range they shoot it. They are happy as could be with their dog. The dog is happy as can be with his life. So why do we need to convince him to do things our way. The dog is defintely not mechanical.
High level performance is in the high of the beholder, an aquired taste.
If he wants the dog close maybe we should help him with that. Everybody giving advice on this post admitted their dogs cheat when they get out of sight in a previous post. So maybe he is right.....Cj
Dogs can be over-the-hill broke and honest. Depends how much work someone wants to put in, amd how vigilant they want to be until the dog is proofed. IMO it's easier to just get the dog broke and be done with it, than to spend the next ten years nagging at the dog to stay close.

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Re: hunt close

Post by cjhills » Thu Jan 24, 2019 9:49 am

absolutely agree with that. But lots of first dog have to learn that...... Cj

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Re: hunt close

Post by birddogger2 » Thu Jan 24, 2019 11:43 am

BuckeyeSteve(and others) -

I do not know why this thread went sideways and if my posts had anything to do with that, I apologize.

What I was TRYING to get across, was that it is crucial for the hunter/handler to develop a trust in their dog and not incidentally, for the dog to develop that same trust in their hunter/handler partner.

FWIW...I started out hunting behind big running dogs...long before there were things like GPS's, e-collars or beeper collars. I KNOW all about that lousy feeling in the pit of your stomach when the dog goes out of sight.

Is the dog going to hold the bird out there until I get there? What if the dog is out there and gets on a deer? If the dog does not come back, how do I explain that to the family? And YES...the ultimate question...Am I going to see that SOB alive again?

I know it takes a fair amount of "getting used to", ESPECIALLY for first time bird dog owners. I think it is more true today than it was in the past, partly because a lot of folks today are in to "managing" many if not most aspects of their lives. Lots of folks want to feel that they are in control.

Letting go is hard. I know.

I am an analytical chemist by training and also by disposition. As such, I am REQUIRED to micromanage and control every aspect of that type of activity, or you cannot produce reliable results. The first four letters of my chosen profession say all that needs to be said in that regard.

Chasing after big running, independent minded bird dogs is a form of therapy for me. It is right up there with tossing a pyramid sinker weighted striper rig into the surf at sunset and fishing through the night, waiting for the buzz on the drag that signals a bit, with just the sound of the surf for company. You put it out there, but it ain't up to you if the fish bites...or not. It is, ultimately, up to the fish. You have to have faith. Like I said...therapy.

The funny thing is that with almost sixty years of chasing after that kind of dog... I ain't lost one...permanently...YET. I have had a couple get gone on deer, but the next morning, they were lying on my jacket, waiting there for me. I hope I didn't just jinx myself! :lol: :lol:

For the new dog owner, it can take a lot of time and experience to develop that kind of trust and faith in the bonding and the desire of the dog to hunt with and for us. Developing that confidence via bending drills is one way, I think. Keeping the dog close and watching it hunt helps the new owner to understand what the dog "can" do. Many folks simply cannot fathom the willingness of the dog to submit to their pack leader that brings the dog back around. Heck...I have trouble with that myself.

A GPS is a HUGE help because it allows the hunter to "see" where the dog is and what it is doing, when it is in plain view, and with that knowledge, be able to have a real good idea of where it is going and pretty much what it is doing, at either 5 sec or 2.5 second intervals when it is out of sight.

But nothing takes the place of getting out there and working with the dog, learning what works for you and your "team". You learn your dog and your dog learns you. That, to me is how trust is built.

If that means you start out slow and close, fine. Whatever works for you. Enjoy.

RayG

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Re: hunt close

Post by shags » Thu Jan 24, 2019 12:25 pm

I remember at my first training session oit on a friend's farm, I was afraid to let my dog off his leash.

I've come a long way, baby! :lol:

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Re: hunt close

Post by gonehuntin' » Thu Jan 24, 2019 2:35 pm

shags wrote:
cjhills wrote:Many people, especially beginners are uncomfortable with the dog pulling out. Most weekend hunters depend on gamefarm birds.They don't like seeing the bird they pay $25 for fly away. If the bird flushes in range they shoot it. They are happy as could be with their dog. The dog is happy as can be with his life. So why do we need to convince him to do things our way. The dog is defintely not mechanical.
High level performance is in the high of the beholder, an aquired taste.
If he wants the dog close maybe we should help him with that. Everybody giving advice on this post admitted their dogs cheat when they get out of sight in a previous post. So maybe he is right.....Cj
Dogs can be over-the-hill broke and honest. Depends how much work someone wants to put in, amd how vigilant they want to be until the dog is proofed. IMO it's easier to just get the dog broke and be done with it, than to spend the next ten years nagging at the dog to stay close.
+100
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Re: hunt close

Post by averageguy » Fri Jan 25, 2019 8:50 am

shags wrote:
cjhills wrote:Many people, especially beginners are uncomfortable with the dog pulling out. Most weekend hunters depend on gamefarm birds.They don't like seeing the bird they pay $25 for fly away. If the bird flushes in range they shoot it. They are happy as could be with their dog. The dog is happy as can be with his life. So why do we need to convince him to do things our way. The dog is defintely not mechanical.
High level performance is in the high of the beholder, an aquired taste.
If he wants the dog close maybe we should help him with that. Everybody giving advice on this post admitted their dogs cheat when they get out of sight in a previous post. So maybe he is right.....Cj
Dogs can be over-the-hill broke and honest. Depends how much work someone wants to put in, amd how vigilant they want to be until the dog is proofed. IMO it's easier to just get the dog broke and be done with it, than to spend the next ten years nagging at the dog to stay close.
x3 or 4 or whatever we are up to now...

I get to hunt a variety of birds and terrain each season. Bobwhites, Huns, Sharptails, Prairie Chickens - Let the dog hunt with minimal interference from me, find and hold birds until I get there is how we go about it.

Pheasants, it depends on the cover. My dogs have all tightened up naturally in heavy cover and in CRP I mostly let them hunt as they do not range as far in that type of cover as they do in open country and cover.

But when hunting late season pheasants I admit to toning my dogs in and walking them at heel across an open area when approaching a likely weed patch or cattail slough so that the dog does not arrive into the cover a couple of hundred yards or more ahead of me. Once we arrive at the likely cover I silently release the dog and let them hunt with minimal handling from me at that point.

I use the the tone on my ecollar as others use their voice.

When my dog emerges from cover in response to the trained ecollar tone, I can give it a hand signal to heel or I can continue walking in the direction I want to the hunt and dog either comes all the way in or hunts to the front in either case.

Not telling others what to do, but I much prefer silence and find it pays off once birds have been subjected to some hunting pressure.

GPS tracking has made this much easier and me an improved dog handler.

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Re: hunt close

Post by birddogger2 » Fri Jan 25, 2019 8:59 am

BuckeyeSteve -

I just remembered a drill you might try.

For our members across the pond...I got the idea from a book by a respected British trainer, Derry Argue.

When I wanted my pointers to put their noses down and vacuum the ground, I would take some puppy treats, throw a half dozen or so on the ground in a couple of spots in the yard and then call the dog over and command "hunt dead". Hungry puppies learn to put their noses to the dirtand find those treats very quickly.

Anyhow, Mr. Argue described how he took a certain dog's daily ration and put it down over a small field, a couple of kibble at a time. The dog scented its way from kibble to kibble until it finished its meal.

That gave me an idea for a handling drill. My dog had been well schooled in heel/whoa drills by that time.

In my side yard I put down a line of those puppy treats, one about every three or four feet then I walked up about 10-15 ft. and laid down another line of treats. I did about four lines all together. I then brought the dog, at heel and on a checkcord to the front of the lines. I cast him to one side with a "hut" and guided him with the checkcord. When he got to the end of the line I issued a "Hunt Dead" command. He dropped his nose and found the treat. I issued another hut and guided him with the cord while repeating the "hunt dead".

In very short order, like the third day I did this drill, the dog was going down the line in response to the "hut" or turn command, moving forward, again on command, to the next line and with the command "hunt dead" and "hut" he would vacuum up the next line of treats.

Fairly soon, I was able to dispense with the checkcord and the "hunt dead" command and simply work on the turn and move forward portions of the drill I could eventually heel him to the spot, cut him loose and he would advance to the first line upon release and then he would go up the line, as I commanded "hut" , and stop at the end(there was a fence) and wait for the release command to go to the next line.

By the time I stopped doing those drills with him, I was able to relase with a verbal command to advance him and turn him on command.

This translated fairly well to the field, and I was able to turn him across my line of march, pretty much at will.

If your dog is a chowhound, as mine was...it should work.

Hope this is of some use. Have fun.


RayG

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Re: hunt close

Post by Featherfinder » Sat Jan 26, 2019 3:38 pm

Quote: Many people, especially beginners are uncomfortable with the dog pulling out. Most weekend hunters depend on game farm birds. They don't like seeing the bird they pay $25 for fly away. If the bird flushes in range they shoot it. They are happy as could be with their dog. The dog is happy as can be with his life. So why do we need to convince him to do things our way. The dog is definitely not mechanical.
It is precisely this mentality that COSTS the "loosely" steady bird dog's handler birds. Inevitably - dogs being dogs - the aforementioned dog will find and bump birds out of range or in-the-least at the edge of effective range. And so for the rest of that dog's life, it is unreliable....bottom line. Or, as Shags stated, you train your dog to be steady, period. Birddogger2 reiterated my offering that you and your dog need to build trust. Once you have this trust - done properly - it matters not whether your dog is 50 yards or 250 yards away (dictated by species/habitat). Furthermore, I believe it is wrong to assume that IF the unreliable pointer bumps birds beyond the gun or at the edge of effective gun range - especially at a game farm where the birds were purchased - to ASSUME that the owner is "happy". Typically after the 2nd, 3rd or... 6th time, neither will the dog be "happy" once said owner gets his hands on that "S.O.B." of a dog!
My latest acquisition CHOOSES to remain steady and not via a check cord, e-collar, or discipline - least of all by virtue of being "whoa-ed". It is voluntary. It gets me quality shots and her the ultimate reward. This reliable dog translates into more opportunities for the gun and therefore, birds in the bag (whether at a game farm or on wild birds). It also offers a safer hunt for ALL involved - dogs/humans.
Finally, if you can't trust your dog and insist that it works within a defined close pattern, you have the wrong dog. You should have a flusher. Instead, what many end up with is what I call a plusher or flointer - the best of neither world and more commonly, a source of endless frustration.

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Re: hunt close

Post by polmaise » Sat Jan 26, 2019 4:25 pm

Reap what You Sow .
If you allow and condition a Hunt close ,then that is what you will get . If You allow and condition a Hunt wide ,the that is what you will get . If You allow and condition a free hunting Dog ,then that is what you will get .
......
Try reading the dog in front of you in the terrain you are training it ,to do what you want it to do . ....Oh! ...and did I mention wind ? Beg your pardon . (Burp) . Sorry ..I always /always/always . ! start any Hunting pattern /quest/control or establishing any perimeter of ... with a "Tail wind " . ...Yea goes against many I know ?>...But any dog will just Pull out with a head one . :wink:

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Re: hunt close

Post by birddogger2 » Sat Jan 26, 2019 9:25 pm

polmaise wrote:Reap what You Sow .
If you allow and condition a Hunt close ,then that is what you will get . If You allow and condition a Hunt wide ,the that is what you will get . If You allow and condition a free hunting Dog ,then that is what you will get .
......
Try reading the dog in front of you in the terrain you are training it ,to do what you want it to do . ....Oh! ...and did I mention wind ? Beg your pardon . (Burp) . Sorry ..I always /always/always . ! start any Hunting pattern /quest/control or establishing any perimeter of ... with a "Tail wind " . ...Yea goes against many I know ?>...But any dog will just Pull out with a head one . :wink:

For training patterning and maintaining control with a dog, hunting with the wind at the dog's back does make a lot of sense. The dog will not have a built in genetic reason to push out, but rather be inclined to swing back. As a training strategy that works for me. Thanks Polmaise.

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Re: hunt close

Post by cjhills » Sun Jan 27, 2019 7:36 am

When you hunt the midwestern prairies in the fall a normal day is a 25 mph breeze. If you can Flush the bird into the wind or crossing you get a lot better shot. They reach mach 1 pretty quick straight with the wind......Cj

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Re: hunt close

Post by averageguy » Sun Jan 27, 2019 8:37 am

I find Dogs benefit greatly from having the wind in their face when hunting Sharptails and Prairie Chickens which do not tolerate a dog getting too close most of the time. I head towards my best, most likely cover with the dog working into the wind. But at some point you have to get back to the truck so it is most often unavoidable to hunt in a cross wind or at your back somewhere along the way. A dog ripping down a prairie ridgetop with the wind at its back is going to put some birds in the air. There is no way to avoid it completely, but I control what I can when I can and will make a bigger loop to get back to the truck to at least get some cross wind if there is good territory yet hunted along the way.

I find the best way to develop a puppy to pay attention to the direction I am hunting in and want to go with me, is to take the puppy into natural cover where it will find wild game at an early age and often. I know where the likely coverts are and walk to them, the pups are being conditioned to go with me and as they become bolder to seek out those coverts ahead of me.

Yea, a guy can do a bunch of drills and pull a pup around on a check cord to build a mechanical ground pattern, but how many of us enjoy a finished dog working in this manner?

I have hunted relatively open country with dogs which would turn when their handlers sang to them, my GWPs will do the same to the silent ecollar tone, but none of the best wild bird pointing dogs I have hunted behind worked in a mechanical trained quartering ground pattern.

Instead those standout dogs hunted constantly and consistently to find birds using their natural ability and vast experience, in cooperation with their handlers.

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Re: hunt close

Post by gonehuntin' » Sun Jan 27, 2019 8:47 am

I very rarely hunt in to the wind. I think it promotes creeping and gives the dog too narrow a scent cone to hunt. I like either hunting downwind, which gives you the same narrow cone BUT when the dog points, the bird is pinched between you and the dog. I do think the best though is crosswind. The dog is using the wind to his greatest advantage and points are instantaneous rather than tentative.

In reality when I hunt, I don't pay much attention anymore. Whatever direction the wind is blowing when I leave the truck is fine with me.
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Re: hunt close

Post by cjhills » Sun Jan 27, 2019 2:31 pm

I never really pay a lot of attention to the wind direction and let the dogs work it out. Obviously you can't do only one or the other or you would never get home. Fast dogs that hunt with the wind on their side get the end swapping, spectacular points and the birds seem to hold better than they do for slower dogs and dogs that hunt straight into the wind dogs.......Cj

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Re: hunt close

Post by polmaise » Sun Jan 27, 2019 2:44 pm

birddogger2 wrote:
polmaise wrote:Reap what You Sow .
If you allow and condition a Hunt close ,then that is what you will get . If You allow and condition a Hunt wide ,the that is what you will get . If You allow and condition a free hunting Dog ,then that is what you will get .
......
Try reading the dog in front of you in the terrain you are training it ,to do what you want it to do . ....Oh! ...and did I mention wind ? Beg your pardon . (Burp) . Sorry ..I always /always/always . ! start any Hunting pattern /quest/control or establishing any perimeter of ... with a "Tail wind " . ...Yea goes against many I know ?>...But any dog will just Pull out with a head one . :wink:

For training patterning and maintaining control with a dog, hunting with the wind at the dog's back does make a lot of sense. The dog will not have a built in genetic reason to push out, but rather be inclined to swing back. As a training strategy that works for me. Thanks Polmaise.

RayG

RayG
For the purpose and reasoning for the Original Posters concern for "Hunt Close" :wink: .
In our Group Training class today ,it was mentioned that many Novices want the finished article of the hunting and or flushing dog with them ,before the dog or the handler has basically trained for it .
......Quotes and specifics from Pros or Finished/accomplished like Hunting the wind in ..whatever?? catskills or prairies or even a Scottish Heather moor ..are mere inconsequential,If the dog just "Stravaigs" ,and finds birds ! ? :wink:

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Re: hunt close

Post by Steve007 » Sun Jan 27, 2019 2:53 pm

BuckeyeSteve wrote: Is there anything I can do to teach him to stay within 50-75 yards of me (especially in the woods)?
For $2 plus postage, you can own a (used) book entitled "Hunt Close!" by Jerome Robinson. See Amazon. A little more comprehensive than a few paragraphs on the internet.

https://www.amazon.com/Realistic-Traini ... hunt+close

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Re: hunt close

Post by polmaise » Sun Jan 27, 2019 4:07 pm

I wonder why most folks dont use Libraries so much these days? ..
In our place ,it is because they have been closed . Books were available for Free. Never did find one that told the story of a particular /specific Dog and me . Found plenty saying what "Should be done" . Especially with them and theirs .

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Re: hunt close

Post by BuckeyeSteve » Sun Jan 27, 2019 4:14 pm

birddogger2 wrote:Polmaise -

Please don't tell him that!! Let him work his dog, get it just the way he wants and then, IT will happen. :wink: :wink:

One day, his dog will slide off to one side and won't come back. He will go over where he saw the dog last, search a little farther and find it hard on point, just waiting for him...a little way out beyond his (former) comfort zone.

If we are lucky, we get to have that happen to us in one way or another. :D

I have, many times, tried to describe to folks how the sense of apprehension, when I saw my dog head over the hill, turned to a sense of almost pure joy, exhilaration and relief, all rolled into one, when I topped that rise and saw that dog standing there... locked up, tight as a tick...just waiting for me.

But the crucial part of this equation is that if you never let your dog go over that hill, you can never make that awesome discovery.

It can be a hard thing for folks to trust their dogs enough to let them out of their sight.

RayG
Hey Ray,
I'm actually pretty comfortable with my dog at distance.... he's good about checking back in on a regular basis, and we've even gotten to the point where I can keep moving when he's out of sight and I can move a few hundred yards to a different area and I know he will track me down. We're pretty good on the trust issue at this point, my issue is I've been hunting him (mostly) in brushy field land.... state managed land for released pheasants. I hunt him in my fields for released quail. I'm wanting to hunt him in heavy cover in the mountains of PA for grouse. If he get's 250 yards away from me in thick grouse cover and his bell stops ringing, I could walk all day and never find him if he's on point. That's my concern. When we hunt heavy cover, I want him to stay 50-100 yards so I know I can find him if he locks up on a bird. I don't have a GPS, and don't plan on getting one. In open woods and brushy fields, this isn't too much of a problem. In HEAVY grouse cover, this is a concern to me. Maybe it will just work itself out, but it's a worry I haven't dealt with yet.

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Re: hunt close

Post by BuckeyeSteve » Sun Jan 27, 2019 4:23 pm

Sharon wrote:Many possible reasons why the OP wants his dog to hunt closely. Fear of losing his dog is definitely a possibility ( Well said Ray). What are you using Steve to give you some confidence - GPS? bell? locator collar? Could also be that OP doesn't have confidence that his dog will hold till he gets to the point. That fear is solved with training. The type of terrain that Steve is hunting in will also affect the distance in which he wants his dog to work.
Hey Sharon, per my above reply to Ray, I'm worried about not finding the dog on point. I'm using a bell (LCS Northwoods Long Range Bell), and if I get into some of the thick PA mountain terrain around me, I'm worried I'll have a hard time finding my dog on point if he's way out. The way sound bounces around the hills, I'm worried I could leave him on point for 2 hours while I try to find him....and worry about the bad habits he'll learn (breaking point) if I don't find him in a reasonable time. What happens if he's in a deep thicket and I'm not even searching the right area.... it could get dark and I don't have my dog, or the bird will eventually wander off on its own.... or I could end up calling him off of a great point b/c I can't find him, or whatever other negative things could happen while I'm walking around wondering where my dog is. Because we hunt different terrains, it worries me how his pheasant experience will translate to the grouse woods (we haven't taken that step yet).

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Re: hunt close

Post by polmaise » Sun Jan 27, 2019 4:44 pm

birddogger2 wrote: Polmaise -

Please don't tell him that!! Let him work his dog, get it just the way he wants and then, IT will happen. :wink: :wink:
Yup . That will work too .

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Re: hunt close

Post by Sharon » Sun Jan 27, 2019 4:59 pm

BuckeyeSteve wrote:
Sharon wrote:Many possible reasons why the OP wants his dog to hunt closely. Fear of losing his dog is definitely a possibility ( Well said Ray). What are you using Steve to give you some confidence - GPS? bell? locator collar? Could also be that OP doesn't have confidence that his dog will hold till he gets to the point. That fear is solved with training. The type of terrain that Steve is hunting in will also affect the distance in which he wants his dog to work.
Hey Sharon, per my above reply to Ray, I'm worried about not finding the dog on point. I'm using a bell (LCS Northwoods Long Range Bell), and if I get into some of the thick PA mountain terrain around me, I'm worried I'll have a hard time finding my dog on point if he's way out. The way sound bounces around the hills, I'm worried I could leave him on point for 2 hours while I try to find him....and worry about the bad habits he'll learn (breaking point) if I don't find him in a reasonable time. What happens if he's in a deep thicket and I'm not even searching the right area.... it could get dark and I don't have my dog, or the bird will eventually wander off on its own.... or I could end up calling him off of a great point b/c I can't find him, or whatever other negative things could happen while I'm walking around wondering where my dog is. Because we hunt different terrains, it worries me how his pheasant experience will translate to the grouse woods (we haven't taken that step yet).
Now you got me worried. :) The bottom line is that whenever you let that dog off the leash, yes, bad things can happen. But like raising a child, there comes a 'point" when independence has to be permitted. I think using something better than a bell would give you more peace. I 've never been able to use a GPS unit here in ON ( new one possible actually now ) so I use the Dogtra 2700B/T. I can hear that beeper for quite a distance. See the thread on the Garmin Alpha in the General Chat category ; that would give you greater peace of mind. Yes, bad things can still happen , but that's life Sir.
Until your dog is MUCH older and well trained there will definitely be a chance it won't hold point until you get there or the bird will move on. That is all part of the process. You will not be perfect in handling every bird encounter perfectly. For example, if you miss shooting the bird , that does not mean your dog will give up on pointing.

PS Are you training strictly on wild birds?
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Re: hunt close

Post by BuckeyeSteve » Sun Jan 27, 2019 5:14 pm

Featherfinder wrote:My expectations regarding my dogs on wild birds parallels Garrison's responses. Putting on a display of a mechanical performance rarely proves fruitful in wild bird hunting. With the proper early training, you and your canine companion learn trust. Trust is earned by your faith in the early training and the dog's success in said training. Trust is also developed by your dog - that you will be there to perform your part of the duet. Once this synergy blooms/grows, bird hunting grows to a level some rarely see while others - sadly - have no idea exists. It is there for all. Too many settle for mediocrity.
Hey Featherfinder,
I was (on Sharon's advice) actually going to PM you to ask a couple questions on this...but since you fortunately have joined in on the thread I'll just talk here. I'm on board with what I believe is the gist of your direction here. I have been working for a while to develop a trust between me and my dog on staying together. Someone (sorry, forget who now....thinking it may have actually been you or Ray) gave me some great advice a while back when I was worried about losing my dog while we were walking (as an adventuresome young pup) to hide behind a tree when he got a ways away and make him find me. It was stressful for me....but it worked great. I now have a good 99% belief that my dog will always find me, and he's proven pretty good at it. I still play the hiding game a year later. So.....point being, I don't have a lack of trust in that my dog will get lost. I have a lack of confidence I'll find my dog in really heavy terrain if he goes on point and does his job of staying on point indefinitely. To your point above that my dog learns that I will be there for my part of the "duet", per my replies above to Sharon and Ray, I'm worried that I'll cause issues by not being there for my part of the deal. If the dog grew up in grouse thickets, i'd feel confident he would naturally learn to hunt at appropriate range and things would fall together. How much issue, if any, should I worry about having taking a 1 year old (by the time next grouse season comes in he will be approaching 2 and have even more open field experience) dog used to open field work ranging at 100-300 yards into mountainous heavy thicket terrain for grouse. Am I worried about something that is not an issue, or am I right in concern that I won't be able to find the dog when the bell stops and negative issues could arise? And if so....what do I do about that? I'd really like to not go to a GPS if I can avoid it.

Thanks!!

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Re: hunt close

Post by birddogger2 » Sun Jan 27, 2019 5:30 pm

BuckeyeSteve -

Regarding locating a dog in heavy cover...

There are several beeper options you might consider for your dog. Like everything else in this world, the more options, the higher the price.

A straight up beeper with a point only alert mode option might be all you need. They are in the $100 neighborhood. If you have a top mounted speaker(which I very much recommend) you can hear the beeper for at least a couple hundred yards in cover. Also the top mounted speaker gives a better idea of just where the dog is.

The units with a speaker low on the dog's neck will be muffled by the dog's body when it is facing away from you, and so, sound like they are much farther away...if you can hear them at all.

I have an old Lovett's which I can hear, on a normal day, out to about 400 yards in medium cover.

There are units that can be remotely activated, but I have no idea what the activation ranges are. I suspect they might be on the order of 100-200 yards, but it is something I would definitely check into before I went that way. I think these are a bit pricier.

RayG

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Re: hunt close

Post by BuckeyeSteve » Sun Jan 27, 2019 6:14 pm

Steve007 wrote:
BuckeyeSteve wrote: Is there anything I can do to teach him to stay within 50-75 yards of me (especially in the woods)?
For $2 plus postage, you can own a (used) book entitled "Hunt Close!" by Jerome Robinson. See Amazon. A little more comprehensive than a few paragraphs on the internet.

https://www.amazon.com/Realistic-Traini ... hunt+close
Thanks... just ordered this. I don't know if an all the time close hunting dog is what I'm looking for, again I just want to solve my concern on far away in heavy cover...and not sure if this book is for pointers or flushers.... but at $6 with shipping seems like a good read regardless. Much appreciated.

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Re: hunt close

Post by BuckeyeSteve » Sun Jan 27, 2019 6:19 pm

Sharon wrote: Now you got me worried. :) The bottom line is that whenever you let that dog off the leash, yes, bad things can happen. But like raising a child, there comes a 'point" when independence has to be permitted. I think using something better than a bell would give you more peace. I 've never been able to use a GPS unit here in ON ( new one possible actually now ) so I use the Dogtra 2700B/T. I can hear that beeper for quite a distance. See the thread on the Garmin Alpha in the General Chat category ; that would give you greater peace of mind. Yes, bad things can still happen , but that's life Sir.
Until your dog is MUCH older and well trained there will definitely be a chance it won't hold point until you get there or the bird will move on. That is all part of the process. You will not be perfect in handling every bird encounter perfectly. For example, if you miss shooting the bird , that does not mean your dog will give up on pointing.

PS Are you training strictly on wild birds?
Hey Sharon,
Thanks... Honestly as a very new dog owner, that is really the bottom line to what I'm asking and needing to be comfortable with. If the dog points and I can't find it...something will eventually happen (dog breaks or bird leaves), and that won't be the end of the world.

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Re: hunt close

Post by BuckeyeSteve » Sun Jan 27, 2019 6:22 pm

Oh yeah... I forgot your question. No, mostly not on wild birds. I have my flight pen raised quail which are mostly okay...some bad ones, but some good flighty ones. I hunt state released pheasant that are essentially wild (I don't hunt right off the release, I hunt survivors that have been out there weeks or months). I also occasionally hunt farm pheasants. My goal is to mostly hunt the state released pheasant survivors and grouse.

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Re: hunt close

Post by BuckeyeSteve » Sun Jan 27, 2019 6:25 pm

birddogger2 wrote:BuckeyeSteve -

Regarding locating a dog in heavy cover...

There are several beeper options you might consider for your dog. Like everything else in this world, the more options, the higher the price.

A straight up beeper with a point only alert mode option might be all you need. They are in the $100 neighborhood. If you have a top mounted speaker(which I very much recommend) you can hear the beeper for at least a couple hundred yards in cover. Also the top mounted speaker gives a better idea of just where the dog is.

The units with a speaker low on the dog's neck will be muffled by the dog's body when it is facing away from you, and so, sound like they are much farther away...if you can hear them at all.

I have an old Lovett's which I can hear, on a normal day, out to about 400 yards in medium cover.

There are units that can be remotely activated, but I have no idea what the activation ranges are. I suspect they might be on the order of 100-200 yards, but it is something I would definitely check into before I went that way. I think these are a bit pricier.

RayG
Hey Ray,
That sounds like a pretty good option. Not to ask a dumb question, but when I sound the beeper, it doesn't scare the birds into a wild flush? I worried the same thing about the bell at first, and so far it has had no effect....so I guess the beeper is the same?

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