Who doesn't use bird launchers and why?

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shaneroyce
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Who doesn't use bird launchers and why?

Post by shaneroyce » Tue Mar 06, 2012 10:51 am

I'm just curious how many of you don't use bird launchers in your training program. I have a local trainer that has been training ES/EP pups for about 50 years, and he uses carded pigeons only for bird work...no launchers. He has 1 launcher that he uses when teaching a dog to honor point (rarely uses it and thinks they are a waste of money...his opinion). For those that don't use launchers, what is your reasoning? Also, can a rookie trainer train a pup as well without them as with them (I guess everyone was a rookie at some point, right)? Thanks.

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Re: Who doesn't use bird launchers and why?

Post by Trekmoor » Tue Mar 06, 2012 11:01 am

I bought my first ever pigeon launcher only two weeks ago but I have been training various pointing breeds for about 30 years. I only bought one now because I'm getting too old to do all the walking needed to find enough wild game . Beginner trainers can easily train good hunting/pointing dogs without using release cages if the pup can be taken to enough wild birds on a fairly regular basis to let the pups make their "mistakes" on.

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Re: Who doesn't use bird launchers and why?

Post by mudhunter » Tue Mar 06, 2012 1:21 pm

I sold mine. I train with an old pro that doesn't use them and thats how I learned. A checkcord and a helper "at certian stages" you can train a dog for all situations you will need. Plus some people become too reliante on launchers and don't let a dog learn how to handle birds that are running, birds that walkout towards the dogs, birds that wouldn't flush, all things that a really well broke dog must be able to handle.

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Re: Who doesn't use bird launchers and why?

Post by sdoliver » Tue Mar 06, 2012 1:51 pm

I use them because i don't have a helper most of the time. I live on 4 acres so I can come home from work and set the launchers out loaded with birds and then get the dog out and work her on them. The kids have all grown and the grandkids aren't quite old enough to be much help.

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Re: Who doesn't use bird launchers and why?

Post by shaneroyce » Tue Mar 06, 2012 4:29 pm

Do they make the training curve a lot easier for a rookie trainer (literally a rookie...first pointer that I'm training)? I'm just thinking that steadying him up on point would be much easier with a launcher or 2. I would love to do it without one though, I just don't find much info on how to get them real steady to flush without the launchers. Seems like most guys use them to do that pretty early on. My pup just turned 1 the other day, and bumps and chases everything he finds in the way of wild birds. He points and holds pigeons pretty well, but he begins to creep and then chases at the flush. I think it's time to do a little more formal training on birds to get him steady to flush right now. I just don't have the wild bird contact opportunities to let them do all of the work! Hopefully some more pigeon work will help it "click" for him in the field sooner. Any thoughts on how you all steady them up without launchers (and I do have plenty of helpers running around my place)?

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Re: Who doesn't use bird launchers and why?

Post by Hookadooka BirdDogs » Tue Mar 06, 2012 5:31 pm

Being that I am a little older than some (going on 69) I learned about dog training from Wolters, Delmar, and others. I never used an e-collar (kid's braces had a higher priority). Same thing for launchers as they came in to vogue. My family got me one for Christmas. It is great for launching tennis balls for the kids to learn how to catch a fly ball. Haven't launched my first bird yet.
Call me old school if you want, but IMO, it all begins with whoa. I have had Britts, Gordons, ES, Llewellyns and they all knew whoa before just about any command. I still mainly grouse hunt and the dogs learn to stop on scent (whoa being wired into their brain). They stay whoa'd on flush. If I shoot and kill the bird, they release only on a hunt dead, then dead bird command. I don't enter the area of the fall because I don't want to introduce my scent to the area.
If the bird flushes and I don't shoot or I miss, they only release on an all right command, then they begin the hunt again. I do use an e-collar now for re-inforcing a known command but only on a low setting and never have found the need for one in the field.
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Re: Who doesn't use bird launchers and why?

Post by DonF » Tue Mar 06, 2012 8:03 pm

There's no reason why you can't train a dog without launcher's. You don't even need a check cord. I can't see anyway that anyone is going to train any dog as well anywhere near as fast as the guy with remote's. All I can say about the older guy's not likeing them is, old habits die hard. Something I have to wonder is how many of those guys train on pen raised birds? Lot of old guy's think training on pigeon's is wrong. If I trained with pen raised game birds, I wouldn't use traps either. A pidgeon dizzyed and thrown down could well be gone before you get back. A pidgeon put to sleep will make no effort to get away until it wakes up. A pen raised bird will not stay in one spot anywhere near a lond as a pigeon put to sleep or even dizzied. Neither pidgeon's nor pen raised game birds act like wild birds but pidgeon's can be made to come a lot closer by the way the traap is used.
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Re: Who doesn't use bird launchers and why?

Post by sniperjon » Tue Mar 06, 2012 8:16 pm

sdoliver wrote:I use them because i don't have a helper most of the time. I live on 4 acres so I can come home from work and set the launchers out loaded with birds and then get the dog out and work her on them. The kids have all grown and the grandkids aren't quite old enough to be much help.
I'm in the same situation.

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Re: Who doesn't use bird launchers and why?

Post by fishvik » Wed Mar 07, 2012 8:15 am

shayneroyce, You live in a perfect place to train and not use a launcher. I've trained a few pointing dog's without a launcher just using feral pigeons towing a piece of garden hose. No dizzying just let them fly. They drop after 150-200 yds and then after 3-4 flushes they usually can be grabbed up and replaced with a new bird. I would just head down to some public land to the south of Caldwell and work your dog. You might even run into some wild birds down there.

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Re: Who doesn't use bird launchers and why?

Post by Gordon Guy » Wed Mar 07, 2012 9:00 am

I'd teach him what Whoa means first. Start him in the yard, collar condition him and work up to making him stand (whoa) while a pigeon walks around on the ground in front of him. Then take it to the field and transfer it to wild birds, Now you have a way of correcting him if he starts to creep. This is over simplified and takes a while to do.

In this country and with these birds (Chukar and Quail) they like to run and often run in plain sight. If your dog isn't taught (By you) to stand still with running birds in front of him it may take a long time to teach himself on wild birds without you having any control.
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Re: Who doesn't use bird launchers and why?

Post by rinker » Wed Mar 07, 2012 10:16 am

I use launchers but only for a short period of time when I am getting the dog steady. I also am by myself about 99% of the time and launchers make things a little easier.

With only one dog I probably would not go to the expense of remote launchers. You can pick up manual launchers relatively cheaply. When I started out I made a cage, that had not bottom, the right size to hold a pigeon. I held a pigeon on the ground and set the cage on top of him and then put a brick on top of the cage. I had a long string tied to the cage, I could pull the string and tip the cage over releasing the pigeon.

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Re: Who doesn't use bird launchers and why?

Post by bb560m » Wed Mar 07, 2012 10:32 am

rinker wrote:I use launchers but only for a short period of time when I am getting the dog steady. I also am by myself about 99% of the time and launchers make things a little easier.

With only one dog I probably would not go to the expense of remote launchers. You can pick up manual launchers relatively cheaply. When I started out I made a cage, that had not bottom, the right size to hold a pigeon. I held a pigeon on the ground and set the cage on top of him and then put a brick on top of the cage. I had a long string tied to the cage, I could pull the string and tip the cage over releasing the pigeon.
And what if the dog is creeping in as you go in - a remote launcher can help a lot by telling the dog the second you move, bird flies...

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Re: Who doesn't use bird launchers and why?

Post by rinker » Wed Mar 07, 2012 10:47 am

And what if the dog is creeping in as you go in - a remote launcher can help a lot by telling the dog the second you move, bird flies...
You have a little trouble with reading comprehension. I said that I use launchers.

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Re: Who doesn't use bird launchers and why?

Post by jimbo&rooster » Wed Mar 07, 2012 10:52 am

rinker wrote:
And what if the dog is creeping in as you go in - a remote launcher can help a lot by telling the dog the second you move, bird flies...
You have a little trouble with reading comprehension. I said that I use launchers.
Check cord....

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Re: Who doesn't use bird launchers and why?

Post by Buckeye_V » Wed Mar 07, 2012 11:35 am

I only use them to fix an issue here and there. I think reliance on them is foolhardy and the dogs become wise to it. Just my opinion.
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Re: Who doesn't use bird launchers and why?

Post by DonF » Wed Mar 07, 2012 12:51 pm

Buckeye_V wrote:I only use them to fix an issue here and there. I think reliance on them is foolhardy and the dogs become wise to it. Just my opinion.
Dave Walker told me about the same thing years ago. He claimed that the dog would be out in the field looking for the traps. No they don't, they do look for birds. If that wasn't the case, every dog trained with them would look for them and by pass the birds. I have only found a trap one time. Most people pick them up when they leave. Now this is not to say they won't find you a trap if someone leaves one out there. Lucky day!
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Re: Who doesn't use bird launchers and why?

Post by bb560m » Wed Mar 07, 2012 1:00 pm

DonF wrote:
Buckeye_V wrote:I only use them to fix an issue here and there. I think reliance on them is foolhardy and the dogs become wise to it. Just my opinion.
Dave Walker told me about the same thing years ago. He claimed that the dog would be out in the field looking for the traps. No they don't, they do look for birds. If that wasn't the case, every dog trained with them would look for them and by pass the birds. I have only found a trap one time. Most people pick them up when they leave. Now this is not to say they won't find you a trap if someone leaves one out there. Lucky day!
I've found that as a puppy they will investigate the trap after it launches, maybe re-point. Let them explore - but nothing exciting happens - they eventually can care less about empty traps and can distinguish the smells...

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Re: Who doesn't use bird launchers and why?

Post by gonehuntin' » Wed Mar 07, 2012 1:57 pm

DonF wrote:There's no reason why you can't train a dog without launcher's. You don't even need a check cord. I can't see anyway that anyone is going to train any dog as well anywhere near as fast as the guy with remote's. All I can say about the older guy's not likeing them is, old habits die hard. Something I have to wonder is how many of those guys train on pen raised birds? Lot of old guy's think training on pigeon's is wrong. If I trained with pen raised game birds, I wouldn't use traps either. A pidgeon dizzyed and thrown down could well be gone before you get back. A pidgeon put to sleep will make no effort to get away until it wakes up. A pen raised bird will not stay in one spot anywhere near a lond as a pigeon put to sleep or even dizzied. Neither pidgeon's nor pen raised game birds act like wild birds but pidgeon's can be made to come a lot closer by the way the traap is used.
+1. Trap's are right behind my ecollar in importance to me. I can train them faster, better, and more humanely with traps and ecollars.
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Re: Who doesn't use bird launchers and why?

Post by Vman » Wed Mar 07, 2012 2:23 pm

+1. Trap's are right behind my ecollar in importance to me. I can train them faster, better, and more humanely with traps and ecollars.
+2.

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Re: Who doesn't use bird launchers and why?

Post by h&t » Wed Mar 07, 2012 6:06 pm

to address the question about carded birds. I am yet to make them work - you need certain cover (not too high not too low), no trees or high brush or pigeons tangle in them. I will give it another go this spring.
I'd prefer to let the pup train on wild birds, but don't have that many around :cry:

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Re: Who doesn't use bird launchers and why?

Post by 4dabirds » Thu Mar 08, 2012 7:49 am

You should be asking why a launcher is good and what can you do with it that you can not do with wild birds or dizzied birds.

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Re: Who doesn't use bird launchers and why?

Post by Buckeye_V » Thu Mar 08, 2012 7:56 am

OK.

I never said that dogs will point traps and not birds. I said they become wise to them and what they do. I don't care for all that when I am training.

They are used to fix things, but not every danged time on the ground. At some point you have to transition away from them and I find it easier to do it from the beginning.
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Re: Who doesn't use bird launchers and why?

Post by Vman » Thu Mar 08, 2012 8:10 am

At some point you have to transition away from them and I find it easier to do it from the beginning.
The exact same thing can be said about E-Collars also, but you use them.

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Re: Who doesn't use bird launchers and why?

Post by shaneroyce » Thu Mar 08, 2012 9:16 am

4dabirds wrote:You should be asking why a launcher is good and what can you do with it that you can not do with wild birds or dizzied birds.
Great question 4dabirds, so I'll ask it. It seems as though the majority of people on this forum and others use launchers. I'd love to hear some thoughts on this. Also, what are some of the typical mistakes that a newbie makes using launchers? I'm a hunter, not a trialer, does the transition to wild birds come easier with more pigeon work, or does it make the transition harder? Thanks.

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Re: Who doesn't use bird launchers and why?

Post by Buckeye_V » Thu Mar 08, 2012 9:56 am

True. They are tools to be used for specific situations and not all. I use launhers to fix creepers and to help with STF, but once those issues are licked I leave the traps in the shed.

I use the e-collar to trashbreak and teach recall and then put it away while I am breaking the dog. Once they can be trusted with a limp cord and then dragging a cord, we start to bring the tickle collar back.

I think too often rookies see pictures of dogs with an e-collar on and think that it is imperative to have that or they hear us talk about how great launchers are and think they have to run out and get them. Not true. Helpful yes, but not a must-have.
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Re: Who doesn't use bird launchers and why?

Post by rinker » Thu Mar 08, 2012 10:02 am

I said in my earlier post that I only use launchers for a short time period. When the dog is standing his birds pretty well and seems to know what is expected and is letting me flush in front of him I quit the launchers. I transition to johnny house quail at this point.

I think that there are two mistakes that can potentially be made with launchers.
-Training the dog to point on first scent is generally a good thing but it can sometimes lead to excessive non-productives. A launcher can not teach the dog how to deal with ground scent left from walking birds. The launcher teaches him to point on any bird scent which will cause non-productive point when on wild birds.
-The launcher can not help a dog learn to deal with birds that run around instead of flying, or flush right back at him, or do anything unusual.

These are my observations only, and others may have had different experiences.

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Re: Who doesn't use bird launchers and why?

Post by bb560m » Thu Mar 08, 2012 10:48 am

rinker wrote:I said in my earlier post that I only use launchers for a short time period. When the dog is standing his birds pretty well and seems to know what is expected and is letting me flush in front of him I quit the launchers. I transition to johnny house quail at this point.

I think that there are two mistakes that can potentially be made with launchers.
-Training the dog to point on first scent is generally a good thing but it can sometimes lead to excessive non-productives. A launcher can not teach the dog how to deal with ground scent left from walking birds. The launcher teaches him to point on any bird scent which will cause non-productive point when on wild birds.
-The launcher can not help a dog learn to deal with birds that run around instead of flying, or flush right back at him, or do anything unusual.

These are my observations only, and others may have had different experiences.
What do you do with puppies that will chase birds and catch them if they don't fly well - like most pen-raised birds?

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Re: Who doesn't use bird launchers and why?

Post by rinker » Thu Mar 08, 2012 11:47 am

What do you do with puppies that will chase birds and catch them if they don't fly well - like most pen-raised birds?
I would probably have a couple of different answers to this depending on the age of the pup, and where the pup is at in it's developement. The easiest answer is a check cord. I would also point out that quail that have been kept in a johnny house and used to work dogs multiple times get pretty wild acting. They are pretty tough to catch if released in decent cover.

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Re: Who doesn't use bird launchers and why?

Post by bb560m » Thu Mar 08, 2012 12:02 pm

rinker wrote:
What do you do with puppies that will chase birds and catch them if they don't fly well - like most pen-raised birds?
I would probably have a couple of different answers to this depending on the age of the pup, and where the pup is at in it's developement. The easiest answer is a check cord. I would also point out that quail that have been kept in a johnny house and used to work dogs multiple times get pretty wild acting. They are pretty tough to catch if released in decent cover.
What if you are afraid of hurting their range by using a check cord. I rather let a puppy run free then introduce check cord while breaking...

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Re: Who doesn't use bird launchers and why?

Post by Buckeye_V » Thu Mar 08, 2012 12:11 pm

#1 - If I think the pup is going to catch the bird - I don't put it out. Once they get used to birds in general I move to chukar and homers right quick.

#2 - My dogs are both pretty good runners and I don't thinka check cord ever hurt their desire to run bigger. It's a system. You start with them on the cord and when they do it right like that, you move them on to dragging the cord and so on and so forth.

You can find an excuse to use any toy you want, but it all comes back to basics. Theyhave to do it eventually without all of that.
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Re: Who doesn't use bird launchers and why?

Post by rinker » Thu Mar 08, 2012 12:28 pm

#1 - If I think the pup is going to catch the bird - I don't put it out. Once they get used to birds in general I move to chukar and homers right quick.

#2 - My dogs are both pretty good runners and I don't thinka check cord ever hurt their desire to run bigger. It's a system. You start with them on the cord and when they do it right like that, you move them on to dragging the cord and so on and so forth.

You can find an excuse to use any toy you want, but it all comes back to basics. Theyhave to do it eventually without all of that.
+1

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Re: Who doesn't use bird launchers and why?

Post by Elkhunter » Thu Mar 08, 2012 3:24 pm

Shane with you living in ID and the wild birds that are available you should not be needing any launchers till you want the finished product. With a young dog I would be focusing on nothing but wild birds in the beginning.

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Re: Who doesn't use bird launchers and why?

Post by jlowery » Thu Mar 08, 2012 4:15 pm

Very good post... Thanks for the input provided, i am right in the middle of breaking my year old Setter, and just ran him in some Derby trials this past weekend, and i got some great comments of how well my dog casted, and responded, telling me that i didn't have to hack at him at all, and he worked every single area that wild birds would be, and had all the potential to be a great all age gun dog, yet no find, although scenting conditions were tuff, One of the judges asked will he point and hold a bird, and i said sure, but all i have worked him on is pigeons, qauil, and phez in launchers, and he said get those birds out of the launcher, so i have been carding birds and getting him to hold on that while a friend goes in and flushes the bird. So now my launchers are not even being used, except for the first bird planted, bc if he decides he is gonna be a little creeper on the first one, Gone goes the bird, then he holds a lot better on the next 3-4.

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Re: Who doesn't use bird launchers and why?

Post by DGFavor » Thu Mar 08, 2012 4:27 pm

Shane with you living in ID and the wild birds that are available you should not be needing any launchers till you want the finished product. With a young dog I would be focusing on nothing but wild birds in the beginning.
Used to be the day that was good advice bu no wild birds in ID anymore - dang wolves. Everyone I know is working their pups on the urban quail that live down in the shrubs at the Capital building...you can call down to the front desk to reserve a time. Good luck.

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Re: Who doesn't use bird launchers and why?

Post by Elkhunter » Thu Mar 08, 2012 9:46 pm

DGFavor wrote:
Shane with you living in ID and the wild birds that are available you should not be needing any launchers till you want the finished product. With a young dog I would be focusing on nothing but wild birds in the beginning.
Used to be the day that was good advice bu no wild birds in ID anymore - dang wolves. Everyone I know is working their pups on the urban quail that live down in the shrubs at the Capital building...you can call down to the front desk to reserve a time. Good luck.
I have heard the wolves have been hard on the birds, we just had a wolf pack sighting in UT so I am assuming all birds will be dead soon! :D

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