Training With Wild Birds, Wisconsin

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BraqueFrancais115
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Training With Wild Birds, Wisconsin

Post by BraqueFrancais115 » Thu Aug 03, 2017 1:40 pm

Hello,

I have a 4.5 mo old pup and the goal is to expose him to more live birds. Getting pigeons is somewhat of a hassle and definitely a big expense at $10 a pop. There are some areas in SE WI with woodcock and grouse habitat, as labeled by the DNR in this website: https://dnrmaps.wi.gov/H5/?viewer=FFLIGHT

Given the time of the year, would it be wise to take the pup to these sections/habitats outlined by the DNR or a waste of time?

Thank you in advance.

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MidwestHunter77
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Training With Wild Birds, Wisconsin

Post by MidwestHunter77 » Thu Aug 03, 2017 6:23 pm

I'm curious to hear what people's opinions on this are too


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cjhills
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Re: Training With Wild Birds, Wisconsin

Post by cjhills » Fri Aug 04, 2017 5:19 am

Check with Wisc DNR To see what is legal. Obviously you cannot shoot a bird.
Make sure you have a good way to keep track of the dog, be aware of wolves and you should be good. About all you can get is bird exposure and you probably will not be allowed to use planted birds.......Cj

brianb
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Re: Training With Wild Birds, Wisconsin

Post by brianb » Fri Aug 04, 2017 5:39 am

You're not going to find any grouse in SE Wisconsin. You'll need to go to the areas in the northern 1/3 or the state. The ruffed grouse season opens Sept 14th in Zone A. Your can get your dog on free birds on public land in SE Wisconsin (minus cost of a license and pheasant stamp) on Oct 14th. These are DNR released pheasants and not wild. Here's a link to the regulations and areas where the DNR releases them.

http://dnr.wi.gov/topic/hunt/pheasant.html

Another idea is to go to some of the DNR dog training areas (Ottawa) on the day after a field trial and you can find leftover planted birds. You need a state park pass to get into Ottawa.

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luvthemud
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Re: Training With Wild Birds, Wisconsin

Post by luvthemud » Fri Aug 04, 2017 8:21 am

I would bite the bullet and buy birds.

I too have a 4.5 month old pup and while the thought of releasing $5 bills into the air to fly away right now is tough to swallow, it is all part of the game. Can always try catching your own pigeons?

There are a couple NAVHDA chapters that serve SE Wisconsin/Northern Illinois as well.

setterpoint
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Re: Training With Wild Birds, Wisconsin

Post by setterpoint » Fri Aug 04, 2017 8:42 am

a dog 4 months old in my op. is to young. at this point just let the pup be a pup hear in michigan the ferns are chest high and thick to much for a pup to handle i would take the pup to and open field and let it explore chase butterflys let the pup build conf.you can work on some basic things like chang directions and call the pup teach it to hunt with you but most of all let the pup have fun

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bonasa
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Re: Training With Wild Birds, Wisconsin

Post by bonasa » Fri Aug 04, 2017 12:45 pm

I would buy the birds to use in a controlled area and guarantee the outcome as per your training beliefs. Get your bird work in, get your gun breaking in and work on any weaknesses. Birds are good for the dog, but to many are not, as always quit a winner on a high note.

Meskousing
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Re: Training With Wild Birds, Wisconsin

Post by Meskousing » Mon Aug 07, 2017 5:20 am

There are times of the year when it is illegal to train on wild birds- public or private land. Today is not one of those times.

That's the legal answer. As stated above, what are you hoping to achieve with bumping wild birds? There are a myriad way to acquire birds. With your pointer, it may be worth the investment to get a pigeon loft and buy some homers. You can also make some investments in acquiring wild pigeons. Either, get a source to buy them or a source(s) to catch them. I've gone the catch 'them' route. This includes paying attention to where pigeons roost, so I can get permission to buildings and farms. In town, I've placed traps inside buildings. Farmers, especially farmers I know, have been very receptive to me carousing around their buildings at night and climbing their silos- not for the timid, though. Also, getting friendly with a farmer over pigeons that poop in their cattle feed is a great way to get access to their property for other activities, too. Remember, pigeons are a nuisance to most people, so they'll be happy to get rid of them. One man's trash is another man's treasure.

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NEhomer
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Re: Training With Wild Birds, Wisconsin

Post by NEhomer » Mon Aug 07, 2017 5:35 am

bonasa wrote:I would buy the birds to use in a controlled area and guarantee the outcome as per your training beliefs. Get your bird work in, get your gun breaking in and work on any weaknesses. Birds are good for the dog, but to many are not, as always quit a winner on a high note.
Pretty much this.

jczv
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Re: Training With Wild Birds, Wisconsin

Post by jczv » Mon Aug 07, 2017 4:18 pm

I realize I'm crazy reading the above because when I read all the don't run your young dog on wild birds advice it makes no sense to me.

Should you get some birds and setup some training situations - yup (heck if you ever get a loft I'll give you some homers).
Should you catch pigeons if possible - yup grown birds are much better then the squeekers that farm kids catch (at least in my experience)
Should you follow a training program of your choosing - yup, eventually.
Should you do enough to get the dog some bird and gun exposure - yup, especially so you can safely run the dog once hunting season starts.
Should you run on others training birds after events - a couple times yes - to often no - Sunday night birds are crap, Monday are OK, Tuesday there usually gone.
Should you let your dog run on the local woodcock (the only plentiful wild birds in SE Wisconsin) outside of nesting season - I can't understand why not. If you find some he may bump and chase, so what? Chasing is only an issue with a young dog if he's going to consistently catch something. It's about the lowest pressure 'training' your going to find. Get him used to the swamp edges, wet field edges, buckthorn understory where they live around here. Find some muddy paths that lead to older buckthorn stands etc. With as wet as its been this year it should be a bumper crop. And when they migrate back through next Feb/March you can really go to town.
Anyway if you want some areas to work PM me your general location and I send you some local places if I know any.

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Featherfinder
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Re: Training With Wild Birds, Wisconsin

Post by Featherfinder » Mon Aug 07, 2017 6:26 pm

Great info already supplied! I would definitely run on wild birds but not too frequently. Pigeons are vital in my processes because they are strong fliers that don't land prematurely as do other pen-raised game birds. There are some situations you should be aware of though.
Running on wild birds is great because young dogs learn that these birds won't take too much crowding (hard to catch) and the dog learns where to typically find the species (habitat). However, wild birds in too much density can create bad habits. I have see dogs run smack dab into a woodcock "flight". In short order, this dog simply REFUSED to run! Every few steps the dog would cat-walk. Sure enough, there was another bird! She took a few fast steps followed by many more slow ones in anticipation of yet ANOTHER find! I carried that young dog out of the woods before it got really messed up!
Add to this that there are key indicators that I look for when training a young dog. For example, young dogs that find their legs believe they can catch birds. Elusive wild birds or well planted pigeons will eventually discourage the dog's belief that she/he can catch birds. They will convey this very clearly. When this indicator/milestone is achieved, you need to take the next step in a structured process to cultivate holding point - no more relentless chasing. If you don't recognize this indicator and allow certain dogs to continue chasing, they soon believe that chasing (not pointing) is THE intended game. If this persists, this dog can be a royal pain in the ___ to break later on. Again, the un-training has created a major re-training process.
With any arranged training scenario, I like to know where the birds are to ensure the dog is learning the planned/intended lesson. Basically, I control most of what transpires then I simply immerse the dog without a pile of yacking and hacking so that they can learn from the pre-arranged set-up. That can be virtually impossible with wild birds, regardless of species because you obviously don't have the control/anticipation factor.
Hence, I suggest you use a blended approach. Wild birds will teach a dog respect but if it's a structured lesson you are hoping to provide, you also need to know where the birds are in general increasing your odds to be in a position to capitalize - timing being critical. At this juncture, planted pigeons are the ticket, in my opinion.
P.S. I was literally ridiculed for using pigeons 30 years ago. Now, most have figured them out but surprisingly, few know how to use them effectively.
Last edited by Featherfinder on Thu Aug 10, 2017 6:03 am, edited 3 times in total.

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bustingcover
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Re: Training With Wild Birds, Wisconsin

Post by bustingcover » Tue Aug 08, 2017 2:27 am

Sounds like you have the right idea with your pup. Go for it, you can use the time out there to scout covers for the future. Work on your basics in the yard and let it chase wild birds. It's a baby, nothing wrong with letting it bump wild birds and learn. Puppies don't win the National.
You like these dogs because you like the truth. And these dogs, if you watch them, they will show you the truth.

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gonehuntin'
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Re: Training With Wild Birds, Wisconsin

Post by gonehuntin' » Tue Aug 08, 2017 4:32 am

You will never find enough wild birds to train on in Wi. You will train your dog faster and better if all initial training is done on planted birds and wild birds finish him.
LIFE WITHOUT BIRD DOGS AND FLY RODS REALLY ISN'T LIFE AT ALL.

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NEhomer
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Re: Training With Wild Birds, Wisconsin

Post by NEhomer » Tue Aug 08, 2017 6:26 am

Featherfinder wrote:Great info already supplied! I would definitely run on wild birds but not too frequently. Pigeons are vital in my processes because they are strong fliers that don't land prematurely as do other pen-raised game birds. There are some situations you should be aware of though.
Running on wild birds is great because dogs learn that these birds won't take too much crowding (hard to catch) and the dog learns where to typically find the species (habitat). However, wild birds in too much density can create bad habits. I have see dogs run smack dab into a woodcock "flight". In short order, this dog simply REFUSED to run! Every few steps the dog would cat-walk. Sure enough, there was another bird! She took a few fast steps followed by many more slow ones in anticipation of yet ANOTHER find! I carried that young dog out of the woods before it got really messed up!
Add to this that there are key indicators that I look for when training a young dog. For example, young dogs that find their legs believe they can catch birds. Elusive wild birds or well planted pigeons will eventually discourage the dog's belief that she/he can catch birds. They will convey this very clearly. When this indicator/milestone is achieved, you need to take the next step in a structured process to cultivate holding point - no more relentless chasing. If you don't recognize this indicator and allow certain dogs to continue chasing, they soon believe that chasing (not pointing) is THE intended game. If this persists, this dog can be a royal pain in the ___ to break later on. Again, the un-training has created a major re-training process.
With any arranged training scenario, I like to know where the birds are to ensure the dog is learning the planned/intended lesson. Basically, I control most of what transpires then I simply immerse the dog without a pile of yacking and hacking so that they can learn from the pre-arranged set-up. That can be virtually impossible with wild birds, regardless of species because you obviously don't have the control/anticipation factor.
Hence, I suggest you used a blended approach. Wild birds will teach a dog respect but if it's a structured lesson you are hoping to provide, you also need to know where the birds are in general increasing your odds to be in a position to capitalize - timing being critical. At this juncture, planted pigeons are the ticket, in my opinion.


Terrific post. 8)

rinker
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Re: Training With Wild Birds, Wisconsin

Post by rinker » Tue Aug 08, 2017 10:43 am

If you have a decent population of wild birds, I assume woodcocks, and it is legal, you should absolutely run your dog in those areas. The more wild birds that the dog can knock and chase, the better.

The only negative that can come from this is if the dog just starts running wild, chasing deer, etc... As long as the dog is going with you and is under reasonable control, he/she can do no wrong and he/she is learning with every step, and certainly every flush.

Most well bred bird dogs will break themselves to a degree, with enough wild bird exposure. Advanced manners, such as steady to wing and shot, etc... might need some additional training, but there are many dogs in areas with good bird populations that have never seen a pigeon or released game bird.

This is why professional trainers travel 1000++ miles and spend their summers on the Northern prairies.

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Featherfinder
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Re: Training With Wild Birds, Wisconsin

Post by Featherfinder » Tue Aug 08, 2017 9:19 pm

A big part of why pros travel south is that the winter weather up north is training-prohibitive or in the least, unpalatable. The colder snowy climes also bring with it huge liabilities in terms of injuries for both dog and trainer, as well as accessibility challenges. As such, going south extends their training season while providing them a chance to better work the large dog numbers.
I agree with you in that some trainers never need to use pigeons or planted birds. You might be surprised at how many STILL do so to address some of the finishing touches or problem dogs.
A key component of training a dog is "time". If you live where you can afford to run on wild birds and in time achieve goal, I tip my hat to you. A trainer has the added dynamic of achieving the expectations within a reasonable window of time. Running on wild birds alone might not address the customer's expectation for a fully finished bird dog within a reasonable time frame.

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NEhomer
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Re: Training With Wild Birds, Wisconsin

Post by NEhomer » Wed Aug 09, 2017 9:27 am

I'm very fortunate to live beside a several hundred acre swamp and woods that has lately held a good population of woodcock. My setter is on point right at the edge of my property several times a week. He wears his Alpha collar almost every day. He's incredibly staunch now.

BraqueFrancais115
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Re: Training With Wild Birds, Wisconsin

Post by BraqueFrancais115 » Wed Aug 09, 2017 12:06 pm

Thank you, everyone, for the overwhelming amount of replies - I truly appreciate the nature of this forum and every individual member's willingness to extend a helping hand. I'm new at not only training my pup but also dog ownership in general. Seems like being buried in books and different training methodologies is part of the experience - quite the learning curve, let me tell ya.

So far, from what I've gathered:

-continue to train with pigeons in a controlled environment, helps structure training and also address weak areas (bonasa)
-continue to buy or start trapping pigeons - they're a necessary cost (Meskousing)
-reach out to farmers in regards to pigeons. there's a possibility that they'll allow the hunting/trapping of this nuisance species
-supplement training with local wild birds - lots of exposure helps the pup gain experience and "train itself" on that given species/habitat
-run pup on land where field trials are held (i had never even thought about this - thank you JCZV and BrianB for the insight)
-chasing is fine at first, but pointing instinct will need to be reinforced or conditioned soon-ish (featherfinder)
-training on wild woodcock can be beneficial for young pups (NEhomer, rinker). Swamps it is.
-let the pup be a pup (setterpoint, bustingcover) and join local chapter to get pup on more birds (luvthemud)

Just wanted to summarize what I've learned thus far for anyone in my situation, who is interested in learning more.

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Featherfinder
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Re: Training With Wild Birds, Wisconsin

Post by Featherfinder » Wed Aug 09, 2017 7:28 pm

Well NEHomer, sounds like you've got a gem of a dog. Congrats!

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