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Pointer hunting with flusher issues?

Pointer hunting with flusher issues?

Postby MNTrout68 » Mon Oct 30, 2017 11:56 am

Hi - This is my first post on this forum. I hope you can help with this situation and questions.

First, a little background: I grew up hunting pheasants in the fields around our farm in MN. We mostly just walked fence rows, but we also had a friend with a Brittany. I absolutely loved watching her work and I've wanted a bird dog ever since. Fast forward a LONG time, and I finally got a GSP pup last fall. He comes from hunting stock and, this being my first dog and my excuse to get back into hunting, we have been pretty careful in training him. He has gone through intro and intermediate courses with a well-regarded training kennel near the Twin Cities, and even went in for a week of brush-up training just before hunting season. He was gun-broken with no issues at about 6 months, and completed field training successfully at about 12 months. His style is not going to win any field trials at this point, but the trainers liked him and judged him to be a perfectly competent gun dog. He also happens to be a fantastic companion for me and my family and just a barrel of fun.

Yesterday I took him out for the first time. Our hunting party was four people and four dogs. The other three dogs were all labs - 12, 6 and 2 years old, all with prior hunting experience.

My dog was very happy to be out with us, and with the other dogs. On the first couple passes through the field, he worked out in front of me at about 10-20 yards, but also zoomed around with the labs some. On the third pass, he started to look a little stressed/nervous and pretty much walked at heel. After a water break he perked up, but then on the next shot he scooted back about 10 yards and sat down. I should mention that I shot over him a couple times and the other three hunters each shot a couple times as well, so there had been plenty of gunfire by this time.

When he balked at my companion's shot, I took him back to the truck and kenneled him. No anger or scolding on my part, just a lot of reassurance and slow, quiet movement. At this point, I was just worried that I had set him back or even ruined him by giving him too much too soon. I went back with the rest of the hunting party for another few passes (it was a big field). As the other three hunters and dogs left for the last down & back pass, I went to check on my dog and let him out of the truck.

I thought I would just let him run around in the grass, smell the birds on the air, etc. However, he jumped out of the truck and immediately started working the ground in front of me, showing no fear or apprehension. We walked a couple hundred feet and he went from a quick trot to a hard locked point just as prettily as you could imagine. The bird flushed, I shot twice (missed - I'm rusty), and my dog ran happily in the direction of the flight, tracking well and turning back when it was clear I had missed, showing no signs of gun shyness. He continued to work with me until the other hunters and dogs got back from their end of the field and we packed it in.

So what happened here? Was this just a lot of stimulus for a green young dog? Should I back up and hunt in smaller parties or solo a couple times?

Are high energy flushing labs not very compatible with my more methodical slow-working GSP at this stage?

Thanks for your help!
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Re: Pointer hunting with flusher issues?

Postby Sharon » Mon Oct 30, 2017 2:18 pm

WElcome to the forum. :)

What happened?
" Our hunting party was four people and four dogs. " quote

A young learning dog shouldn't be taken out with other dogs imo. No harm done but the sound of it , but I would not do that again until the dog is more confident/ mature. Even then, 4 shooters is a LOT for any dog.
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Re: Pointer hunting with flusher issues?

Postby polmaise » Mon Oct 30, 2017 6:13 pm

Sharon wrote:
A young learning dog shouldn't be taken out with other dogs imo. No harm done but the sound of it , but I would not do that again until the dog is more confident/ mature. Even then, 4 shooters is a LOT for any dog.

Problem with the internet is the interpretation of the situation>?
Young Hounds are often and common practice 'coupled' to older ones :wink: . To 'learn a few things' in a pack.
Most driven shoots have 8 guns , and Grouse/Partridge have 10 , so the number is not the key. , Anyhow, one gun blasting the same as ten can be a pain.
I reckon the 'fast forward' is the issue .
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Re: Pointer hunting with flusher issues?

Postby deseeker » Mon Oct 30, 2017 7:23 pm

I agree with Sharon--to many dogs and too many guns. For the first year hunt your dog by himself with just you and maybe 1 friend. Limit your shots to 1 or 2 per bird. After he has a season under his collar, then you can start the big party hunts. You did right putting him in his kennel when it started to go south :roll: Hunt him by himself with just a shot or 2 per bird this season and he'll be fine. Good luck :D
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Re: Pointer hunting with flusher issues?

Postby Sharon » Mon Oct 30, 2017 8:13 pm

polmaise wrote:
Sharon wrote:
A young learning dog shouldn't be taken out with other dogs imo. No harm done but the sound of it , but I would not do that again until the dog is more confident/ mature. Even then, 4 shooters is a LOT for any dog.

Problem with the internet is the interpretation of the situation>?
Young Hounds are often and common practice 'coupled' to older ones :wink: . To 'learn a few things' in a pack.
Most driven shoots have 8 guns , and Grouse/Partridge have 10 , so the number is not the key. , Anyhow, one gun blasting the same as ten can be a pain.
I reckon the 'fast forward' is the issue .

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

Absolutely. I bred and trained beagles for many years ; often worked young dogs with more experienced dogs, but ONE gun.
Actually that is an interesting thought. Hounds learn that way, but pointing breeds don't learn well in that way imo. Wonder why that is?
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Re: Pointer hunting with flusher issues?

Postby gonehuntin' » Tue Oct 31, 2017 5:35 am

Don't take a Pointer out with labs. Two things will happen: 1) He will develop a short range. 2) He may start to flush and not point due to the competetion and from learned behavior from the labs.

Just hunt him alone or with one other person until he fully understands what is going on.
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Re: Pointer hunting with flusher issues?

Postby Featherfinder » Tue Oct 31, 2017 6:38 am

I take the unique position of suggesting that my pointing dog people to never hunt more than one dog at a time. Keep in mind that I trialed for years in braces. That aside, my preferred situation when developing a young hunting dog is that the owner of said dog should care about retaining or maintaining the investment in training time and $$$$ by focusing more on his dog and less on the shooting, at least early on. In order to do this, I suggest that the dog owner bring along a friend to gun which allows said owner to stay on top of his dog's performance. If that gunning friend has a dog, you can switch responsibilities so as to support him/his goals, at least until you have ingrained the canine fundamentals rules of the sport.
Hunting a pointing dog with a flusher is less-than-ideal on a number of levels. Now....I'm not saying you CAN'T do that and I'm sure many folk here have wonderful experiences of this depending on your preferred hunting situation/species/environ.
For me, the primary operating mode of these two distinctly diverse processes is conflicting. The flusher has a number of parameters but for the die-hard hunter, distance/pattern is a critical aspect. Without demanding the stringent expectations of the trial flusher, you still need a dog that patterns and flushes for the gun.
Although this can be a huge leap for some first time (and some long time) pointing dog owners, the pointing dog is not supposed to pattern in the first place. The effective pointing dog looks at the terrain and deducts (through proper training then inured through hunting experience) the most strategic cover that may host quarry. He is designed to cover a large portion of ground within the same time period (quarry/habitat being a HUGE aspect of this approach) therefore, in order to be effective must use that application to reach out, find, and hold point for the gun. In-other-words, the pointing dog should reach out beyond gun shooting range (within reason) and take you to those places that will most likely domicile birds. The vernacular within the sport is called "hitting the objectives". As such, blending these two diverse principles, especially in a young dog can bring with it ambiguity in the least or much worse issues, as you discovered.
Furthermore, what happens when you encounter a bird(s)? The flusher rips in to flush, as it should. Your young pointing dog that is supposed to point experiences a new way of handling birds from this - one that will likely bring with it a GREAT deal of frustration for you going forward.
Hey, I've seen folk use a hammer for a lot more than just driving or pulling nails but.......it's your call.
In closing, many a long time friendships have been destroyed by hunting more than 1 pointing dog at a time.
If you own a flointer or a plusher disregard all of the above, other than pattern perhaps. Or, you can just add to your team of gunners. :lol:
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Re: Pointer hunting with flusher issues?

Postby crackerd » Tue Oct 31, 2017 9:21 am

gonehuntin' wrote:Don't take a Pointer out with labs. Two things will happen: 1) He will develop a short range. 2) He may start to flush and not point due to the competetion and from learned behavior from the labs.


Or 3) the Lab will start to "point" as learned behaviour from the pointer. :mrgreen:

GH, would you believe, way back when Rick Hall wrote a nifty piece on his beagle in Gundog mag 25 years ago, somebody in South Carolina was advertising "pointing Boykins." :roll:

MG
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Re: Pointer hunting with flusher issues?

Postby MNTrout68 » Tue Oct 31, 2017 9:46 am

Thanks for all the input. I spoke with our trainer yesterday too. His inclination was that the behavior was more about all the gunfire than the other dogs, but I take this board's advice about labs vs. pointers too.

The net of all the research and input is that we're going to hunt solo a couple times, probably for the rest of this season.

So in other words, I have gathered a lot of professional advice that says I need to get my dog out in the field more, solo, and soon, or risk eroding all our investment of time and money in his training.

My hands are tied. I'm just going to have to hunt more. :D
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Re: Pointer hunting with flusher issues?

Postby Trekmoor » Tue Oct 31, 2017 9:54 am

Both dogs know a pheasant is in this cover but I encouraged this cocker to "point" which he does but not with any style and usually not for very long ! If I didn't want him to make the flush I used to "sit whistle" him then send the vizsla or my Brittany in to make the flush.

Far from the pointing dogs closing down on their range to match the flushing dog , the spaniel would greatly increase his range to match the pointers .....if I wasn't careful !

Image

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Re: Pointer hunting with flusher issues?

Postby ezzy333 » Tue Oct 31, 2017 11:51 am

Trekmoor wrote:Both dogs know a pheasant is in this cover but I encouraged this cocker to "point" which he does but not with any style and usually not for very long ! If I didn't want him to make the flush I used to "sit whistle" him then send the vizsla or my Brittany in to make the flush.

Far from the pointing dogs closing down on their range to match the flushing dog , the spaniel would greatly increase his range to match the pointers .....if I wasn't careful !

Image

Bill T.

I found the range thing to work like you said. Flusher gets bigger.
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Re: Pointer hunting with flusher issues?

Postby JONOV » Tue Oct 31, 2017 12:04 pm

MNTrout68 wrote:Thanks for all the input. I spoke with our trainer yesterday too. His inclination was that the behavior was more about all the gunfire than the other dogs, but I take this board's advice about labs vs. pointers too.

The net of all the research and input is that we're going to hunt solo a couple times, probably for the rest of this season.

So in other words, I have gathered a lot of professional advice that says I need to get my dog out in the field more, solo, and soon, or risk eroding all our investment of time and money in his training.

My hands are tied. I'm just going to have to hunt more. :D

Sorry Honey, Having dogs isn't easy, its a lot of work, you have to invest in the dog, time and money, Its for his own good luv-ya-bye :D :D :D
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Re: Pointer hunting with flusher issues?

Postby polmaise » Tue Oct 31, 2017 12:41 pm

crackerd wrote: would you believe, way back when Rick Hall wrote a nifty piece on his beagle in Gundog mag 25 years ago, somebody in South Carolina was advertising "pointing Boykins." :roll:

MG

Or Flushing retrievers even.
http://www.spanielsinthefield.com/2017/ ... -six-pack/
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Re: Pointer hunting with flusher issues?

Postby crackerd » Wed Nov 01, 2017 7:03 am

polmaise wrote:
crackerd wrote: would you believe, way back when Rick Hall wrote a nifty piece on his beagle in Gundog mag 25 years ago, somebody in South Carolina was advertising "pointing Boykins." :roll:

Or Flushing retrievers even.
http://www.spanielsinthefield.com/2017/ ... -six-pack/


That's actually how most folk over here work retrievers afield, Robt. - sometimes to their detriment. Here's a familiar name for you telling about a day of pheasant hunting 15 years ago when it all went wrong: https://www.in-depthoutdoors.com/community/forums/topic/dogs_69482/

MG
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Re: Pointer hunting with flusher issues?

Postby polmaise » Wed Nov 01, 2017 2:04 pm

crackerd wrote:
polmaise wrote:
crackerd wrote: would you believe, way back when Rick Hall wrote a nifty piece on his beagle in Gundog mag 25 years ago, somebody in South Carolina was advertising "pointing Boykins." :roll:

Or Flushing retrievers even.
http://www.spanielsinthefield.com/2017/ ... -six-pack/


That's actually how most folk over here work retrievers afield, Robt. - sometimes to their detriment. Here's a familiar name for you telling about a day of pheasant hunting 15 years ago when it all went wrong: https://www.in-depthoutdoors.com/community/forums/topic/dogs_69482/

MG

I doubt it MG.
USA is big and Alaska has some nice country in the summer .
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Re: Pointer hunting with flusher issues?

Postby Trekmoor » Wed Nov 01, 2017 2:42 pm

Sorry but I have sort of lost track of the meaning of this thread ?

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Re: Pointer hunting with flusher issues?

Postby crackerd » Thu Nov 02, 2017 2:15 pm

Trekmoor wrote:Sorry but I have sort of lost track of the meaning of this thread ?


Bill - did Robt. get hacked?!? Or is he contemplating another visit to one of these "fitty" states? Didn't sound like his kind of reply, honestly, nor have I heard him reference Alaska before - but he could in fact be a strong contender for the next cast of "Life Below Zero." Imagine that! - especially if the producers of "Duck Dynasty" trade a Cajun accent for his Scots burr!

MG
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Re: Pointer hunting with flusher issues?

Postby Sharon » Thu Nov 02, 2017 5:42 pm

Trekmoor wrote:Sorry but I have sort of lost track of the meaning of this thread ?

Bill T.


LOL Let's go back and see the first time poster's thread. Of course we know , like a dog, that we get off course sometimes. :)

,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,

Pointer hunting with flusher issues?
Postby MNTrout68 » Mon Oct 30, 2017 1:56 pm

Hi - This is my first post on this forum. I hope you can help with this situation and questions.

First, a little background: I grew up hunting pheasants in the fields around our farm in MN. We mostly just walked fence rows, but we also had a friend with a Brittany. I absolutely loved watching her work and I've wanted a bird dog ever since. Fast forward a LONG time, and I finally got a GSP pup last fall. He comes from hunting stock and, this being my first dog and my excuse to get back into hunting, we have been pretty careful in training him. He has gone through intro and intermediate courses with a well-regarded training kennel near the Twin Cities, and even went in for a week of brush-up training just before hunting season. He was gun-broken with no issues at about 6 months, and completed field training successfully at about 12 months. His style is not going to win any field trials at this point, but the trainers liked him and judged him to be a perfectly competent gun dog. He also happens to be a fantastic companion for me and my family and just a barrel of fun.

Yesterday I took him out for the first time. Our hunting party was four people and four dogs. The other three dogs were all labs - 12, 6 and 2 years old, all with prior hunting experience.

My dog was very happy to be out with us, and with the other dogs. On the first couple passes through the field, he worked out in front of me at about 10-20 yards, but also zoomed around with the labs some. On the third pass, he started to look a little stressed/nervous and pretty much walked at heel. After a water break he perked up, but then on the next shot he scooted back about 10 yards and sat down. I should mention that I shot over him a couple times and the other three hunters each shot a couple times as well, so there had been plenty of gunfire by this time.

When he balked at my companion's shot, I took him back to the truck and kenneled him. No anger or scolding on my part, just a lot of reassurance and slow, quiet movement. At this point, I was just worried that I had set him back or even ruined him by giving him too much too soon. I went back with the rest of the hunting party for another few passes (it was a big field). As the other three hunters and dogs left for the last down & back pass, I went to check on my dog and let him out of the truck.

I thought I would just let him run around in the grass, smell the birds on the air, etc. However, he jumped out of the truck and immediately started working the ground in front of me, showing no fear or apprehension. We walked a couple hundred feet and he went from a quick trot to a hard locked point just as prettily as you could imagine. The bird flushed, I shot twice (missed - I'm rusty), and my dog ran happily in the direction of the flight, tracking well and turning back when it was clear I had missed, showing no signs of gun shyness. He continued to work with me until the other hunters and dogs got back from their end of the field and we packed it in.

So what happened here? Was this just a lot of stimulus for a green young dog? Should I back up and hunt in smaller parties or solo a couple times?

Are high energy flushing labs not very compatible with my more methodical slow-working GSP at this stage?

Thanks for your help!
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Re: Pointer hunting with flusher issues?

Postby polmaise » Thu Nov 02, 2017 6:08 pm

Sharon wrote:
LOL Let's go back and see the first time poster's thread. Of course we know , like a dog, that we get off course sometimes. :)


Often ,the course is set by the 'Hare' :wink:
Sorry if I took the thread off course . Some take their own road down a track .
Pleased it's on the straight and narrow with a pointer in the right direction now though . lol
.....
:D
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Re: Pointer hunting with flusher issues?

Postby Featherfinder » Mon Nov 06, 2017 8:15 am

MNtrout, your choice to hunt your dog alone for this season is right on the mark.
Good call.
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