Using Herding Methods for Flushing - bird herding

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jtrowbridge
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Using Herding Methods for Flushing - bird herding

Post by jtrowbridge » Mon Nov 26, 2012 10:34 am

There's quite a lead up to the question, but I promise there is a question here... ;)

My labrador and I hunt upland game in northeastern Nebraska. She does quite well during most weather conditions except for when the wind is blowing like heck. I've noticed there are two major problems:

1. The bird's scent cone is dispersed over such a wide area that it is tough for a dog to pinpoint the source
2. The birds are usualy not inclined to flush into such a strong head wind so they opt to run (which puts forces the dog to have to track all over again)

My buddies and I usually compensate for this issue by placing a few guys at the end of the field. The other hunters and the dog work the field from the opposite end towards the guys at the other end. Eventually, we pinch the birds and they have no choice but to take to the air.

This works pretty well, but you need to have a decent sized hunting group. Also, I'm not a huge fan of the inherrent safety issues of this method. This got me to thinking...

Say I had two dogs (or subsitute the hunter for one of the dogs). I could put one dog (or the hunter) on the birds and hold point. I could then hook the other dog around and past the birds and then have it come back and pinch the birds between the two dogs (or just the hunter). You would likely improve your odds of forcing a bird to flight on a super windy day, even with a small hunting party.

I suppose with enough training on a curved cable, you could teach a dog to hook around and behind a brid. Then have it flush or quarter back to the hunter. The more I thought about it, the hooking and flushing behavior is really more along the lines of what a herding dog does.

So finally, the question. Has anyone had experience or heard of someone adding herding (think sheep dog) skills to a hunting dog's skillset? Or for that matter, teamed up a shepard with a bird dog in the field?

Thanks in advance

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Re: Using Herding Methods for Flushing - bird herding

Post by topher40 » Mon Nov 26, 2012 11:05 am

When you own a dog that points and pins the dogs down there wouldnt be a need for a "herding" type approach/dog. :wink:
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Re: Using Herding Methods for Flushing - bird herding

Post by Garrison » Mon Nov 26, 2012 11:13 am

topher40 wrote:When you own a dog that points and pins the dogs down there wouldnt be a need for a "herding" type approach/dog. :wink:
Ever try this approach on wild pheasants in a sunflower field?

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Re: Using Herding Methods for Flushing - bird herding

Post by birdshot » Mon Nov 26, 2012 11:16 am

I have read of hunters handling thier lab around the birds then give the lab a come in call. Usually used in ditch type hunts.
I hunt with a cocker and when the wind is blowing hard, I like to hunt downwind. This allows him to find the birds between us, the birds flush into the wind giving me an easy shot and most importantly I don't have cold wind on my face.

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Re: Using Herding Methods for Flushing - bird herding

Post by DonF » Mon Nov 26, 2012 11:50 am

I pretty much gave up hunting in the wind. Usually in the afternoon around here we get wind, not a breeze but wind. Over east where I used to hunt the wind wasn't the problem it can be around here. Then just hang it up until the next day.
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Re: Using Herding Methods for Flushing - bird herding

Post by topher40 » Mon Nov 26, 2012 12:27 pm

Garrison wrote:
topher40 wrote:When you own a dog that points and pins the dogs down there wouldnt be a need for a "herding" type approach/dog. :wink:
Ever try this approach on wild pheasants in a sunflower field?
Yes. Shot lots of birds out of sunflower fields.
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4dabirds
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Re: Using Herding Methods for Flushing - bird herding

Post by 4dabirds » Mon Nov 26, 2012 1:16 pm

Bird dogs hunt by scent and herding dogs generally see the herd. If the herding dog has no scent or sight how does it know what it is herding.

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Re: Using Herding Methods for Flushing - bird herding

Post by Ruffshooter » Mon Nov 26, 2012 1:22 pm

topher40 wrote:When you own a dog that points and pins the dogs down there wouldnt be a need for a "herding" type approach/dog. :wink:
Why would you want to pin a dog down? :mrgreen:
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Re: Using Herding Methods for Flushing - bird herding

Post by cjuve » Mon Nov 26, 2012 1:29 pm

topher40 wrote:When you own a dog that points and pins the dogs down there wouldnt be a need for a "herding" type approach/dog. :wink:
+ 1 pointing dogs need to learn to handle birds that move

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Re: Using Herding Methods for Flushing - bird herding

Post by Garrison » Mon Nov 26, 2012 1:37 pm

cjuve wrote:
topher40 wrote:When you own a dog that points and pins the dogs down there wouldnt be a need for a "herding" type approach/dog. :wink:
+ 1 pointing dogs need to learn to handle birds that move
Moving and flat out running in thin cover are very different.

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Re: Using Herding Methods for Flushing - bird herding

Post by topher40 » Mon Nov 26, 2012 2:39 pm

Ruffshooter wrote:
topher40 wrote:When you own a dog that points and pins the dogs down there wouldnt be a need for a "herding" type approach/dog. :wink:
Why would you want to pin a dog down? :mrgreen:
Smart A! You know what I meant. :lol:
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Re: Using Herding Methods for Flushing - bird herding

Post by tdhusker » Mon Dec 10, 2012 4:14 pm

Getting your lab to take the place of another hunter and dog is going to be frustrating experience.

Frankly, the best way for one or two guys to hunt in those conditions is to have a dog(s) that cover a great deal of ground and a labrador just doesn't work that way. If you have a friend with a dog that has good range, you can work the birds toward each other. If they get confused they will stick but you have to accept the fact that you will flush 90% of them wild.

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Re: Using Herding Methods for Flushing - bird herding

Post by chrokeva » Fri May 23, 2014 7:08 pm

I am a completely new to gun dogs but I have trained a trialed herding dogs and this got me thinking. You can send out a very well trained border collie on what is called a "blind outrun" where the dog does not see (or smell) the livestock but it is very much about the dog trusting the handler to know where the livestock are. Any well trained border collie should be able to do a blind outrun of several hundred yards with very little problem but If the dog did not find the livestock once or twice your dog would get discouraged very quickly.
Getting those big outruns what you call "hooking around" has a lot to do with a border collies natural ability (you won't find other herding breeds that can do the distances a border collie can). A outrun must be wide enough not to spook the livestock until the dog is behind them (so a wide outrun is pretty darn important). A border collie also has what is called "eye" which seems to me similar to what a bird dog shows on point however border collie people go to great lengths to keep a dog from being what we called "sticky" as it is very important that the dogs eye does not keep the dog from moving forward (i.e. moving its livestock). Not sure if any of this helps but figured I actually could add to this conversation (for a change) :).

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Re: Using Herding Methods for Flushing - bird herding

Post by gundogguy » Tue May 27, 2014 3:45 am

birdshot wrote:I I hunt with a cocker and when the wind is blowing hard, I like to hunt downwind. This allows him to find the birds between us, the birds flush into the wind giving me an easy shot and most importantly I don't have cold wind on my face.


+1 I have used that as well it is a very effective technique with my Springers. Windy conditions can really be your friend. I truly love gunning in windy condtions.
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Re: Using Herding Methods for Flushing - bird herding

Post by Trekmoor » Tue May 27, 2014 4:42 am

I'm not sure how having a lab or a herding breed of dog at the far end of the field would work. Even if the dog went to the far end of the field wouldn't it take a fairly straight line back towards the handler if he blew recall ? If a well trained dog could be seen at the far end of the field and if the dog could see the handler then maybe the handler could "quarter" the dog back towards him using arm signals in retrieving test fashion in order to flush birds ?

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Re: Using Herding Methods for Flushing - bird herding

Post by Neil » Tue May 27, 2014 8:39 am

I have done it, but only when hunting alone or with one other hunter. And only in heavy cover with flushers. If there are 3 of us two push one blocks. The blocker keeps one dog sitting at his side.

For your plan, I take a well trained flusher to the end and sit him and I loop around and call him to me. Works better in theory than practice.

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Re: Using Herding Methods for Flushing - bird herding

Post by chrokeva » Tue May 27, 2014 12:17 pm

With a herding dog much of there work really starts when they get to the other end of the outrun (or field) so you do not blow a recall and bring them back to you but instead would give a "come by" and "away" (clockwise and counter clockwise) command. You also would have a stop whistle and a walk up whistle. Herding dogs do not work off hand signals at all as many times they are out of sight and should be watching other things besides the handler, they should however being listening to there directional whistle commands. I really am not sure how you would go about getting a dog to hunt while this is happening? I imagine you could train any dog to do this with enough patience but the end result I would think would be a very mechanical dog.

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Re: Using Herding Methods for Flushing - bird herding

Post by Sharon » Tue May 27, 2014 12:40 pm

Don't hunt in "very strong wind" or hunt downwind only. I wouldn't want my pointing breed to start "herding" anything and I don't want folks shooting in my direction in a strong wind either. :wink:
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Re: Using Herding Methods for Flushing - bird herding

Post by gundogguy » Fri May 30, 2014 4:12 pm

jtrowbridge wrote:There's quite a lead up to the question, but I promise there is a question here... ;)

My labrador and I hunt upland game in northeastern Nebraska. She does quite well during most weather conditions except for when the wind is blowing like heck. I've noticed there are two major problems:

1. The bird's scent cone is dispersed over such a wide area that it is tough for a dog to pinpoint the source
2. The birds are usualy not inclined to flush into such a strong head wind so they opt to run (which puts forces the dog to have to track all over again)

My buddies and I usually compensate for this issue by placing a few guys at the end of the field. The other hunters and the dog work the field from the opposite end towards the guys at the other end. Eventually, we pinch the birds and they have no choice but to take to the air.

This works pretty well, but you need to have a decent sized hunting group. Also, I'm not a huge fan of the inherrent safety issues of this method. This got me to thinking...

Say I had two dogs (or subsitute the hunter for one of the dogs). I could put one dog (or the hunter) on the birds and hold point. I could then hook the other dog around and past the birds and then have it come back and pinch the birds between the two dogs (or just the hunter). You would likely improve your odds of forcing a bird to flight on a super windy day, even with a small hunting party.

I suppose with enough training on a curved cable, you could teach a dog to hook around and behind a brid. Then have it flush or quarter back to the hunter. The more I thought about it, the hooking and flushing behavior is really more along the lines of what a herding dog does.

So finally, the question. Has anyone had experience or heard of someone adding herding (think sheep dog) skills to a hunting dog's skillset? Or for that matter, teamed up a shepard with a bird dog in the field?

Thanks in advance

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Re: Using Herding Methods for Flushing - bird herding

Post by CDN_Cocker » Fri May 30, 2014 7:34 pm

gundogguy wrote:
One could always rely on the old Scottish wisdom "Liver and white for Spaniels, Black white for sheep dogs"
With that reasoning mine would be a sheep dog lol
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Re: Using Herding Methods for Flushing - bird herding

Post by gundogguy » Sat May 31, 2014 3:52 am

CDN_Cocker wrote:
gundogguy wrote:
One could always rely on the old Scottish wisdom "Liver and white for Spaniels, Black white for sheep dogs"
With that reasoning mine would be a sheep dog lol
Cass, the book is still out on your dog :lol:
That what I was told one day in the gallery at a rabbit trial in Scotland. As you know there is a lot of generalized statements about dogs that lead to stereotypical thinking!
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Re: Using Herding Methods for Flushing - bird herding

Post by CDN_Cocker » Sat May 31, 2014 8:44 am

LOL Hal! I was planning a big road trip today to get in on some spanner training but they canceled due to cover quality! No way I'll be able to drive 6 hours every week for training with my young family and work but I plan on trying to get out once a month hopefully. Maybe that will make him more spaniel-esque! hahaha
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Re: Using Herding Methods for Flushing - bird herding

Post by gundogguy » Sat May 31, 2014 2:06 pm

CDN_Cocker wrote:LOL Hal! I was planning a big road trip today to get in on some spanner training but they canceled due to cover quality! No way I'll be able to drive 6 hours every week for training with my young family and work but I plan on trying to get out once a month hopefully. Maybe that will make him more spaniel-esque! hahaha
Not sure where you live in relation ship to Toronto and farther west to Winsor, But between those points there must some one training Spaniels that you have missed. If it a six hour drive to training I would spend 6 hours searching for someone a wee bit closer. I might start with the CKC and see what resources they have with breeders in your providence.
How far are you from Becancour,Quebec,? spaniel club, Club de Chiens de Chasse de Quebec is some where around there.
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Re: Using Herding Methods for Flushing - bird herding

Post by CDN_Cocker » Sat May 31, 2014 5:10 pm

gundogguy wrote: Not sure where you live in relation ship to Toronto and farther west to Winsor, But between those points there must some one training Spaniels that you have missed. If it a six hour drive to training I would spend 6 hours searching for someone a wee bit closer. I might start with the CKC and see what resources they have with breeders in your providence.
How far are you from Becancour,Quebec,? spaniel club, Club de Chiens de Chasse de Quebec is some where around there.
I'm just over 2 hours east of Toronto. Yes there are some between TO and Windsor which is where I am going, a place named Balinasfad. Its about 3.5 hours one way so 6-7 hours round trip. Thats the closest there is.
Cass
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