Training a dog in an area with no wild birds

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Beej1989
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Training a dog in an area with no wild birds

Post by Beej1989 » Fri Nov 09, 2018 7:37 pm

2 part question
Is it possible to train a dog with placed birds if there are no wild birds in the area that you live but you’re traveling to areas with wild birds a several times a season?

Is it ethical to train a bird dog when you don’t have the wild birds and can only take them several times a season?

Sorry if these are “dumb” questions but I’m new to the game but want some input before purchasing a pup bred for it?

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Re: Training a dog in an area with no wild birds

Post by Sharon » Fri Nov 09, 2018 7:43 pm

Welcome to the forum. Those are good questions.
Definitely possible to train a dog with the right placed birds. Many of us have that as our only option.
Same for question 2. Many of us have to train on placed birds and then go out in hunting season. That time period is a whole different kind of training opportunity , but it is what it is.
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Re: Training a dog in an area with no wild birds

Post by bonasa » Fri Nov 09, 2018 8:17 pm

Welcome to the forum, and what is your location?
1)As Sharon stated, planted birds are many people's only option for training. Many a fine bird dog has been developed on these alone.
2)Many people develop their dogs on planted birds, pigeons and quail in particular. These same dogs will go on a few excursions a season and perform adequately.

Surely there are plentiful wild birds within 2 hours of your location and possibly state released birds or a preserve even closer?

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Re: Training a dog in an area with no wild birds

Post by averageguy » Tue Nov 13, 2018 7:36 am

You have asked a great question, that unfortunately more upland bird hunters than not can now relate to.

The dog just prior to my current one was raised and trained in a situation where I had a dwindling population of wild bobwhites close to home, and many good waterfowl hunting opportunities close to home. I trained him using my normal combination of daily exposure in wild game country, (but not a great deal of wild bird contacts) properly used strong flying pigeons in launchers and 4 hour one way trips to where I could still get into good wild quail and pheasant populations. That dog turned out well, but I was still working at the time and so I hunted him on released pheasants and reasonably good flying quail more than any other dog I have owned before or since. And a steady diet of pen raised birds teach a dog bad habits. They smell to high heaven compared to a wild bird, they are dumb, run on the ground in plain sight of the dog, fly poorly ... Smart dogs learn to crowd them and catch them without a great deal of never ending discipline from the handler is my experience with the high prey drive breed I hunt with.

And crowding birds makes for a lot of bumped birds when that same dog attempts to do the same while hunting wild birds. Which can be very frustrating after driving and walking many a mile for that opportunity. If that dog is not afforded enough opportunity to hunt wild birds those mistakes will be honest ones due to the dog not having learned that wild birds put out a tiny fraction of the strong scent the released moron birds do. I have seen dogs which were used to guide on preserves with thousands of released birds gunned over them, look absolutely lost when put on wild birds.

My current young dog was raised where I am able to get him contacts with wild birds 3-5 times a week. Not populations which will withstand alot of hunting pressure, but the dog gets to find and work birds regularly. We travel to get into better populations and have some limit out days on our trips. In his first 2 years of extensive hunting this dog has been hunted on released birds only twice and we have been able to avoid crowding or catching birds because of it. I developed him using strong flying pigeons in launchers per methods I learned from the Perfection Kennel DVD series.

So having done both I know which is the better path. I am 60 with some leg and hip injuries from a motorcycle wreck at the age of 14. It would be so much easier to go hunt the released moron birds. I have a source to purchase them 5 miles from where I live and tall warm season grass fields where I could release and hunt them daily if I chose to do so. Instead my dog and I go hunt public area brush and shoot low numbers of birds locally and travel extensively through the fall/winter to get into better bird numbers out of state. We are in SD now.

I like to hunt a lot of things. Hunted upland birds in the morning 4 times and evening peak of rut bow hunts for whitetails 4 evenings last week. I will hunt with my Cousins Beagle pack later this winter and local friend coonhounds as well. Took a nice mature whitetail buck on Sat, packed and drove to SD yesterday to hunt grouse and pheasants, will hit the waterfowl Dec-March.

With the Lord's Blessing my current young dog will see me through until I am 70. If the bird populations, habitat and access to wild birds continue to decline he may well be my last bird dog. I will make that determination when I get there, but I will be hunting something somewhere if my health allows it. Might be following beagles however as it is so much easier to find and start a good rabbit race on public grounds in the MW than it is to hunt wild quail and pheasants. Raccoons and Whitetails have never been more plentiful and just outside my front or back door ...

I think training and hunting dogs on released birds is the only remaining path for many aging bird hunters and I encourage them to continue. But it pales in comparison to wild birds in wild places. Those two things I know for certain. Whether that should cause someone to not pursue raising and training another bird dog? - I lean towards no, but it probably will prevent me from continuing on that path down the road. Not a matter of ethics but a personal choice is how I see it.

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Re: Training a dog in an area with no wild birds

Post by crackerd » Tue Nov 13, 2018 8:06 am

Done thousands of times daily throughout North America by retriever trainers :wink:

MG

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Re: Training a dog in an area with no wild birds

Post by averageguy » Tue Nov 13, 2018 8:13 am

crackerd wrote:Done thousands of times daily throughout North America by retriever trainers :wink:

MG
Which is SO MUCH EASIER than training Pointing dogs which must behave the opposite on upland birds. Pointing dogs must use discretion and caution when they hit scent vs following it in boldly to flush as the retriever breeds perform.

It raises a valid thought as to breed selection. Catching birds builds drive that benefits a retriever, whereas after the first few as a very young puppy it teaches bad habits which can ruin a pointing breed dog. The far easier row to hoe with pen raised birds is a retriever breed is my opinion.

And the issue is not just training the dog initially but what are the opportunities for hunting the dog? Seems to follow if there are no wild birds to train on locally then the dog is slated to be hunted on released birds for the most part. Which with a pointing breed brings all the real issues I laid out in my post. Seen it with many dogs.

I touched on it above, but to elaborate, I was invited to bring my GWP to hunt a farm with at least 6 coveys of wild bobwhites on it. The farm we hunted is owned by a Friend who among other things owns/operates a released bird hunting operation on a small portion of his farm using his own dogs to guide alot of hunts. He put his best male and female dogs down and I hunted my dog which had seen alot of wild bird hunts even at his much younger age. He had 15 productive finds/points and I shot a limit of birds out of 6 large coveys. My Buddy's dogs which had literally 1000s of pen raised birds shot over them, had 4 finds from his bitch and none from his male whose nose was frankly revealed to be average at best.

A dog must get opportunities on wild birds to excel on them and that becomes even more the case with some species such as prairie grouse which will not tolerate any creeping and require a lot of walking to get a few treasured opportunities to reward good dog work with a retrieve.

Why do so many pro pointing dog trainers travel great distances, living out of a horse trailer in order to spend their late summer on the prairies up north? Answer is self evident.
Last edited by averageguy on Tue Nov 13, 2018 4:29 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Training a dog in an area with no wild birds

Post by DonF » Tue Nov 13, 2018 9:37 am

Get over the idea of a wild bird and a pigeon, they are both a bird and the dog won't know the difference till you teach it! If you can get a hold of feral pigeons instead of homer's you can honestly tell yourself, and dog if need be, that your using wild birds. Use your wife's pet Parakeet's and they are still a bird. Your dog won't know the difference. Start shooting dicky birds your dog point's if you can get to them and your dog will hunt dicky birds!
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Re: Training a dog in an area with no wild birds

Post by averageguy » Tue Nov 13, 2018 9:50 am

DonF wrote:Get over the idea of a wild bird and a pigeon, they are both a bird and the dog won't know the difference till you teach it! If you can get a hold of feral pigeons instead of homer's you can honestly tell yourself, and dog if need be, that your using wild birds. Use your wife's pet Parakeet's and they are still a bird. Your dog won't know the difference. Start shooting dicky birds your dog point's if you can get to them and your dog will hunt dicky birds!
Many a puppy is started with pigeons including several of mine. No excellent wild bird dog is developed using pigeons alone or any other pen raised bird. There is way more to learn than planted birds can teach. Done right they get a puppy ready to learn from the wild birds is the best that is accomplished. Done wrong they do more harm than good.

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Re: Training a dog in an area with no wild birds

Post by crackerd » Tue Nov 13, 2018 12:29 pm

averageguy wrote:
DonF wrote:Get over the idea of a wild bird and a pigeon, they are both a bird and the dog won't know the difference till you teach it! If you can get a hold of feral pigeons instead of homer's you can honestly tell yourself, and dog if need be, that your using wild birds. Use your wife's pet Parakeet's and they are still a bird. Your dog won't know the difference. Start shooting dicky birds your dog point's if you can get to them and your dog will hunt dicky birds!
Many a puppy is started with pigeons including several of mine. No excellent wild bird dog is developed using pigeons alone or any other pen raised bird. There is way more to learn than planted birds can teach. Done right they get a puppy ready to learn from the wild birds is the best that is accomplished. Done wrong they do more harm than good.
average guy, I saw a certain photo recently that caused me to muse, what if the header for this thread was:

Training a dog in an area with no wild cats (or wildcats, ocelots, lynx, jaguars, etc.)

Couldn't resist that one! :wink:

MG

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Re: Training a dog in an area with no wild birds

Post by Warrior372 » Tue Nov 13, 2018 12:37 pm

Yes, you can totally do this. In Idaho we have a permit called a Sport Dog and Falconry training permit - I think I paid $20 for a 2 year permit - I am not sure how common this is in other states, but might be worth looking into. This allows me to go out on public land and plant pen raised birds out of the normal season for these birds - farmed pheasant, quail, chukar are the most common here. In order to differentiate your planted birds from wild ones they ask that you "mark the birds". The most common ways to do this are to cut one nail on each bird so if a game warden stops you, you can prove you are not poaching. If you use a bird for training that has no hunting season - here it would be pigeon - then obviously I would not need the permit at all.

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Re: Training a dog in an area with no wild birds

Post by cjhills » Tue Nov 13, 2018 1:26 pm

Warrior372 wrote:Yes, you can totally do this. In Idaho we have a permit called a Sport Dog and Falconry training permit - I think I paid $20 for a 2 year permit - I am not sure how common this is in other states, but might be worth looking into. This allows me to go out on public land and plant pen raised birds out of the normal season for these birds - farmed pheasant, quail, chukar are the most common here. In order to differentiate your planted birds from wild ones they ask that you "mark the birds". The most common ways to do this are to cut one nail on each bird so if a game warden stops you, you can prove you are not poaching. If you use a bird for training that has no hunting season - here it would be pigeon - then obviously I would not need the permit at all.
How do you tell when you flush the bird if it as toenail missing or not In minnesota we tie orange tape on the leg......Cj

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Re: Training a dog in an area with no wild birds

Post by JONOV » Tue Nov 13, 2018 1:29 pm

Beej1989 wrote:2 part question
Is it possible to train a dog with placed birds if there are no wild birds in the area that you live but you’re traveling to areas with wild birds a several times a season?

Is it ethical to train a bird dog when you don’t have the wild birds and can only take them several times a season?

Sorry if these are “dumb” questions but I’m new to the game but want some input before purchasing a pup bred for it?
Define "Ethical." No one here is going to say its unethical to use pigeons or go to the game farm. The important thing to remember about that is, not ask anyone's opinion on it. Its legal, and why is it "less ethical" to shoot a stocked pheasant than one that's descended from stocked pheasants (Pheasants aren't native to North America.) But asking this crowd is kind of like asking foxes about eating hens.

If by ethical, you mean "fair to the dog," yes, as long as your dog doesn't languish in a kennel the rest of the year. They need attention and exercise all the same. If you get a bird dog as a housepet, the dog will live a perfectly contented life given enough exercise, attention, and training.

You won't have the same manners develop naturally that someone with access to Wild Birds does. BUT, if you are making several trips a season, then you can likely do just as well as someone that has them in their backyard.

Other question; think hard about your definition of wild birds. Most people around here refer to that as "Quail." Other parts of the country it refers alternatively to Pheasants or Roughed Grouse. And, for many, many people, it refers to "Pheasants/Quail/Grouse in enough numbers that I can get on them easily and reliably and not have to work too hard at it."

I live in a state with p*$$ poor wild bird hunting. But, we do get woodcock, and you have to find them and they don't tend to be in spots where you see them in the North Woods. There are quail, but not many, and no one is going to tell you where they find them, so be prepared to walk, a lot. I went out four or five times at least before moving birds here. There are also grouse. I know people that get into them. Not like the UP or Maine, but they are there.

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Re: Training a dog in an area with no wild birds

Post by JONOV » Tue Nov 13, 2018 1:30 pm

cjhills wrote:
Warrior372 wrote:Yes, you can totally do this. In Idaho we have a permit called a Sport Dog and Falconry training permit - I think I paid $20 for a 2 year permit - I am not sure how common this is in other states, but might be worth looking into. This allows me to go out on public land and plant pen raised birds out of the normal season for these birds - farmed pheasant, quail, chukar are the most common here. In order to differentiate your planted birds from wild ones they ask that you "mark the birds". The most common ways to do this are to cut one nail on each bird so if a game warden stops you, you can prove you are not poaching. If you use a bird for training that has no hunting season - here it would be pigeon - then obviously I would not need the permit at all.
How do you tell when you flush the bird if it as toenail missing or not In minnesota we tie orange tape on the leg......Cj
Presumably you know where you planted your birds.

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Re: Training a dog in an area with no wild birds

Post by polmaise » Tue Nov 13, 2018 2:29 pm

Beej1989 wrote:2 part question
Is it possible to train a dog with placed birds if there are no wild birds in the area that you live but you’re traveling to areas with wild birds a several times a season?

Is it ethical to train a bird dog when you don’t have the wild birds and can only take them several times a season?

Sorry if these are “dumb” questions but I’m new to the game but want some input before purchasing a pup bred for it?
You can train a Dog to do anything it is physically and mentally capable of doing .
...
Ethics in Training is personal and legislative depending where you are .
...
There is no such thing as a Dumb Question .
...
You may be New to the game ,but You certainly are Not new .
..
How do You determine "Bred for it" ? :wink:
..
I can Command a Dog to hunt in a Wall-mart car park !..That would be Conditioning Training .
No need for Birds ..! You can add them later :wink: ......For that "Bred for it" ..Bit . :roll:

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Re: Training a dog in an area with no wild birds

Post by averageguy » Tue Nov 13, 2018 2:38 pm

JONOV wrote: You won't have the same manners develop naturally that someone with access to Wild Birds does. BUT, if you are making several trips a season, then you can likely do just as well as someone that has them in their backyard.
This will depend on the dog, the bird and the terrain being hunted but is generally not consistent with my experience.

I love hunting rooster pheasants because they are so widely available and quite challenging after experiencing some hunting pressure. An experienced bird hunter can easily predict the cover where they will be found before they drop their dog and start hunting. A dog which is put into that cover that will hunt, point and retrieve will likely supply the most common 3 bird limit if there are good numbers of pheasants in the area. However, some dogs with more experience will take pheasant hunting to a much higher level than less experienced dogs will. I had a Dropper that would loop out and cutoff a running rooster for example and he learned that wonderful trick from hunting wild roosters alot.

With many other species of open country birds however, a dog with more experience as to where to look for widely scattered birds and how to handle them once they find them will do far better than those lacking in opportunities to learn those lessons.

The more a dog is hunted on wild birds the better it is regardless of species is what I have seen across many dogs and a few decades of following them.

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Re: Training a dog in an area with no wild birds

Post by Warrior372 » Tue Nov 13, 2018 3:56 pm

cjhills wrote:
Warrior372 wrote:Yes, you can totally do this. In Idaho we have a permit called a Sport Dog and Falconry training permit - I think I paid $20 for a 2 year permit - I am not sure how common this is in other states, but might be worth looking into. This allows me to go out on public land and plant pen raised birds out of the normal season for these birds - farmed pheasant, quail, chukar are the most common here. In order to differentiate your planted birds from wild ones they ask that you "mark the birds". The most common ways to do this are to cut one nail on each bird so if a game warden stops you, you can prove you are not poaching. If you use a bird for training that has no hunting season - here it would be pigeon - then obviously I would not need the permit at all.
How do you tell when you flush the bird if it as toenail missing or not In minnesota we tie orange tape on the leg......Cj
I live next to the Boise foothills, so fortunately I can run my dog on wild California quail and / or Hungarian partridge depending on the time of year. If I do use pen / farm raised birds for training to refine any bad habits, I know they are mine because I use a launcher and know where I rigged them. Orange tape sounds like a good idea on a dizzied bird without a launcher though!

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Re: Training a dog in an area with no wild birds

Post by averageguy » Tue Nov 13, 2018 4:03 pm

crackerd wrote: average guy, I saw a certain photo recently that caused me to muse, what if the header for this thread was:

Training a dog in an area with no wild cats (or wildcats, ocelots, lynx, jaguars, etc.)

Couldn't resist that one! :wink:

MG
:lol:

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Re: Training a dog in an area with no wild birds

Post by JONOV » Tue Nov 13, 2018 6:55 pm

averageguy wrote:
JONOV wrote: You won't have the same manners develop naturally that someone with access to Wild Birds does. BUT, if you are making several trips a season, then you can likely do just as well as someone that has them in their backyard.
This will depend on the dog, the bird and the terrain being hunted but is generally not consistent with my experience.

I love hunting rooster pheasants because they are so widely available and quite challenging after experiencing some hunting pressure. An experienced bird hunter can easily predict the cover where they will be found before they drop their dog and start hunting. A dog which is put into that cover that will hunt, point and retrieve will likely supply the most common 3 bird limit if there are good numbers of pheasants in the area. However, some dogs with more experience will take pheasant hunting to a much higher level than less experienced dogs will. I had a Dropper that would loop out and cutoff a running rooster for example and he learned that wonderful trick from hunting wild roosters alot.

With many other species of open country birds however, a dog with more experience as to where to look for widely scattered birds and how to handle them once they find them will do far better than those lacking in opportunities to learn those lessons.

The more a dog is hunted on wild birds the better it is regardless of species is what I have seen across many dogs and a few decades of following them.
I agree, mostly I was referring to steadiness and manners. No argument that dogs learn from the real thing and will hunt more likely cover. If Inwere to go to the Dakotas or Canada or MT looking for sharp tails, my dog doesn’t have the same knowledge base that others have, I know last time I had to hack him where I expected to find birds, like the south side of a hill on a cold and sunny afternoon or the side out of the wind on a windy day.

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Re: Training a dog in an area with no wild birds

Post by Steve007 » Tue Nov 13, 2018 8:01 pm

polmaise wrote: There is no such thing as a Dumb Question .
Yes, there is. That's a nice-sounding phrase which is demonstrably false. But this isn't it.

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Re: Training a dog in an area with no wild birds

Post by cjhills » Wed Nov 14, 2018 10:25 am

A few things about pen raised birds. A lot depends on the preserve's operation, cover and size of the fields.
I hunt occasionally on a shooting preserve. Their birds are kept in 5+ acres covered pens they have automatic feeders and waterers. The birds have no human contact other than when they are released in large (1/4 section or more fields). They are about the same as wild birds. I do not personally care much for pheasant hunting. It is really not much of a challenge for a decent dog unless the numbers are low. Also I don't find late season birds any different. They may be a bit smarter. We go to South Dakota in Mid December after the last rifle deer season. We get a lot of points and generally limit easily. Huns are my bird of choice. Sharptails are okay. Booth require better dog work and the dogs seem to take a little time to change species.
Birds are birds and there is no reason why a dog that is totally trained on good flying properly released (not in a launcher) pen raised birds can't be as good or better than one who is totally trained on wild birds. The problem is not getting out often enough not buying enough birds...…...Cj

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Re: Training a dog in an area with no wild birds

Post by DonF » Wed Nov 14, 2018 12:02 pm

You would have to do a lot of driving around here to train on wild bird's. Not many to be found here anymore. But even when there were lots of birds I trained mostly on pigeons and then let the dog's finish out on wild game birds in season. I have used pen raised birds a bit in the past but the thing I found with them is they are best at teaching your dog's bad habits! Especially quail as often they just don't fly well. Then the chukars often time's like to run around a lot! If you don't have good big flight pens to raise game birds for training, it can be very frustrating. Pen raised bird's simply don't act like wild birds. Something I always add abut training is to use a remote launcher and make your pigeon act like a wild bird, you become the bird and let the dog and the bird work it out, they will. From there whenever your ready, go to the wild bird and your dog will catch on very quick. But it's important to me to make the training bird act like a wild bird. The remote launcher is the best training aide I have ever see just because it allows you to do that and you know birds are down and where they are.

I have watched people with those launcher's give their dogs a second chance on the same bird thinking they are teaching the dog something, they are not. A bird, regardless of type that does not act like a wild bird will work over time but a training bird, regardless of type that allows the dog to catch it will not work if allowed to many time's. A pigeon in a remote trap will not allow the dog to catch it. You might but the bird will come out and land in a tree or power line but seldom on the ground. Your job is to shut your mouth and allow your dog to learn! You cannot check cord your young dog into many wild bird assuming you could find them in the first place and they would let you and your dog get that close!

Tuff thing in some of the eastern states is pheasant hunting sound's like it's for released birds only. Obviously will work but wonder what the birds are actually like? Lack of birds around here and the distance I have to go to find some, I think next year I will go back to raising my own game birds. Still train on pigeons and then hunt the pen raised birds. Of course I'll know where the birds are but I go to watch the dog in the first place. I could be happy blanking every bird and letting it go but I do like to eat them and they will cost me money, hate throwing away my money!

These training thread's come up a lot and the problem most people have is making more out of it than it actually is. They go out there with some method of artificially teaching their dog to do what they want on a bird they can control. The training is simple. Close your mouth and think like a bird that does not want to be caught by the dog! Don't try to rationalize thing's, neither the dog or the bird will do that. you want to teach your dog something, teach it heel or come or some other command but don't pretend that you can teach it more about wild birds than wild birds can. There for, with out the wild bird you have to be the bird and that means make the dog catch you off guard! The dog has to point the bird so fast when it hit's the scent cone that you simply didn't have time to launch. No second chance to point! If the dog is up wind but getting close to the bird the wild bird will likely be bumped and leave, that's what you need to do. Don't give the dog any opportunity the wild bird wouldn't! You become the bird and the dog learns to find and point the bird. In the training field you give yourself the advantage of knowing where the bird is and what the air is doing so you know where the dog should hit scent, easy! Don't make it more than it is!
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Re: Training a dog in an area with no wild birds

Post by averageguy » Wed Nov 14, 2018 2:22 pm

Don F - our posts are often similar and we approach the pigeon/launcher work in similar fashion. Works excellent to give a pup a foundation going into its first hunting season. But to get a great wild bird dog requires hunting the dog on wild birds, the more the better.

CJ - Late season pressured roosters are easy. HA! I see many guys in the motels who beg to differ. Over 40 years of chasing wild roosters in 7 states so far for me. I find educated public land roosters excellent sport and I am far from alone in the opinion.

Huns - Who doesn't love em but they are far less available than are the roosters,

Sharptails/Prairie Chickens - Love them too but opportunities for good dog work once the weather turns cold and the family groups come together into large flocks become few and far between, especially on public lands. They become an occasional bonus bird to pheasant hunt past the first 3 weeks of season.

I love to hunt bobwhite quail but they do not hold a candle to late season rooster pheasants for survival skills against man and dog.

Pen raised bird operations - my buddy's is one of the best. Birds are on automatic feeders/waterers in tall and large flight pens, when he has to refill he does it at night with nightscope googles. His cover is the best - tall warm season grasses of Big Bluestem, Indian Grass, Switch Grass. A quality released bird operation is sure better than not hunting at all but folks are kidding themselves when they say they are the same as wild birds.
Last edited by averageguy on Wed Nov 14, 2018 3:05 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Training a dog in an area with no wild birds

Post by Trekmoor » Wed Nov 14, 2018 3:01 pm

Although I often hunted HPR's on shooting estate pheasants I also did a great deal of hunting , mainly for pheasants, on the public land within a few miles of my house. The few pheasants living on that land were all wild bred and just one find on them was worth dozens of finds on the easy birds released by the hundreds onto shooting estate land.


The wild bred birds were much, much smarter ! Almost all of them would run from the point ….if the dog could find them in the first place ! I found it fascinating to then watch the duel between bird and dog as the dog tried to re-establish another point on it from which the bird did not run. Just one mistake on the following dogs part would see the bird taking to wing ….outside of gunshot range !

Those wild bred birds had managed to keep on living despite the best efforts of foxes, badgers, stray cats and stray dogs to catch them and eat them. A pointing dog good enough to find those birds and follow them and eventually re-establish a point on them was a very good hunting dog that really understood it's business.

I've often had 3 - 5 months old pointing pups that found and pointed the estate birds with very few problems but it took a lot of experience before they could find, point and produce a wild bird well within gun-shot range. I think the 5 wild pheasants one of my HPR's somehow managed to produce for me in one day was truly exceptional as , even with a pretty good dog, I often either saw no birds at all …..or saw a bird fly off a long , long way from me because my dog had made a mistake during it's follow.

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Re: Training a dog in an area with no wild birds

Post by averageguy » Wed Nov 14, 2018 3:04 pm

Trekmoor wrote:Although I often hunted HPR's on shooting estate pheasants I also did a great deal of hunting , mainly for pheasants, on the public land within a few miles of my house. The few pheasants living on that land were all wild bred and just one find on them was worth dozens of finds on the easy birds released by the hundreds onto shooting estate land.


The wild bred birds were much, much smarter ! Almost all of them would run from the point ….if the dog could find them in the first place ! I found it fascinating to then watch the duel between bird and dog as the dog tried to re-establish another point on it from which the bird did not run. Just one mistake on the following dogs part would see the bird taking to wing ….outside of gunshot range !

Those wild bred birds had managed to keep on living despite the best efforts of foxes, badgers, stray cats and stray dogs to catch them and eat them. A pointing dog good enough to find those birds and follow them and eventually re-establish a point on them was a very good hunting dog that really understood it's business.

I've often had 3 - 5 months old pointing pups that found and pointed the estate birds with very few problems but it took a lot of experience before they could find, point and produce a wild bird well within gun-shot range. I think the 5 wild pheasants one of my HPR's somehow managed to produce for me in one day was truly exceptional as , even with a pretty good dog, I often either saw no birds at all …..or saw a bird fly off a long , long way from me because my dog had made a mistake during it's follow.

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Re: Training a dog in an area with no wild birds

Post by polmaise » Wed Nov 14, 2018 3:16 pm

The word "Training" .
Yes you can .. I am sure some that quote how wondrous the Hunting dog is on wild game . But You can Train or shape behaviour before this innocuous first day .
Surely ,some sort of communication and training is required before these Hounds are released .
Fairy tales of Wild birds and released birds and pigeons and quail ,and all manner of (personal methods) ..Pretty soon you will have certain folk saying "The x way" ...and pics of Dogs pointing and flushing in all various seasons and cover .
You can Train a dog to stop whistle in an area with No wild birds ?
You can Train a dog to Heel in an area with No wild birds ?
You can Train a dog to quest in an area with No wild birds ?
You can Train a dog to re-call in an area with No wild birds ?
...
I could go On .. :roll:
...
When the time comes to "Train a dog in an area with wild Birds " ...Then you can start all that Bird stuff . 8)

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Re: Training a dog in an area with no wild birds

Post by Trekmoor » Wed Nov 14, 2018 4:18 pm

Eh ? That's too deep for me Robert .

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Re: Training a dog in an area with no wild birds

Post by cjhills » Wed Nov 14, 2018 6:28 pm

Until I reduce my kennel numbers two years ago I routinely took 5 or 6 6 to 8 month old puppies to South Dakota in Late November and after December 15th By the end of ten days I routinely shot limits of pheasants over these puppy's points. This was on public land that had been hunted regularly. With a little snow on the ground and low temperatures ,The roosters go in the heavy cover and hold very tight, sometimes you can step on them. Pheasants are the dumbest bird on the planet. No, Chukars are but they live in heck. Some places in Montana have good Hun numbers and of course Sharptails and Huns require a lot of walking or horse. I am looking for a quality hunt rather than quantity at this stage of my life. I have killed enough critters. Now I just marvel at how hard the dogs work and shoot an occasional a bird for their reward. Except Ruffed Grouse I try to shoot every one of them I can. They are delicious......Cj

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Re: Training a dog in an area with no wild birds

Post by averageguy » Wed Nov 14, 2018 6:53 pm

cjhills wrote: Pheasants are the dumbest bird on the planet. Cj


Not looking to change your mind or thinking I could. But You are in a mighty small population of folks who would agree with that opinion stated as though it were a fact. I know better.

If you steer clear of hunting the pheasants in SD that is one less person hunting the public areas on a daily basis which is a good thing for those who do.

I am all in for quality hunts and take a lot of them. They include shooting birds over points, giving my dog opportunities to perform the other critical tasks of recovering downed birds and retrieving them to hand. Enjoy the meals afterwards as well.

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Re: Training a dog in an area with no wild birds

Post by cjhills » Wed Nov 14, 2018 7:07 pm

averageguy wrote:
cjhills wrote: Pheasants are the dumbest bird on the planet. Cj


Not looking to change your mind or thinking I could. But You are in a mighty small population of folks who would agree with that opinion stated as though it were a fact. I know better.

If you steer clear of hunting the pheasants in SD that is one less person hunting the public areas on a daily basis which is a good thing for those who do.

I am all in for quality hunts and take a lot of them. They include shooting birds over points, giving my dog opportunities to perform the other critical tasks of recovering downed birds and retrieving them to hand. Enjoy the meals afterwards as well.
Did not say I steer clear of pheasant hunting In SD. It may come as a surprise but my dogs also Point,locate down birds and retrieve to hand. I do enjoy sand occasional pheasant meal but the get old pretty quick and until this year I bought at least three SD licenses.
I have no problem being in a small percentage of the population who believe intelligence of pheasants
is grossly over rated.
Ever hunt Sand Lake Refuge?that is a challenge. That will make a man out of you and your dog........Cj

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Re: Training a dog in an area with no wild birds

Post by averageguy » Wed Nov 14, 2018 7:14 pm

CJ,

This is my dog before he was 2 years old pointing the first Hun he ever smelled. In Montana. The next day my Brother and I shot our limits of Huns over his points. Which went on for several days on that trip.

Does my success in hunting them then make Huns Dumb?

Here I thought we were having a Ball doing what Bird Hunters do with Bird Dogs.

Image

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Re: Training a dog in an area with no wild birds

Post by cjhills » Wed Nov 14, 2018 7:46 pm

averageguy wrote:CJ,

This is my dog before he was 2 years old pointing the first Hun he ever smelled. In Montana. The next day my Brother and I shot our limits of Huns over his points. Which went on for several days on that trip.

Does my success in hunting them then make Huns Dumb?

Here I thought we were having a Ball doing what Bird Hunters do with Bird Dogs.

Image
Don't look much like normal Hun cover.
What the heck does my post have to do with you having fun and what does the photo of your dog pointing have to do with anything. Sorry, I didn't mean to make you feel bad. I did not say anything about any hunting not being fun. Even dumb birds are fun. You and your dog probably did well. I think you should go to Sand Lake. Maybe I will see you there The Snow geese will be there by the millions now. Can't hunt there yet though.
I am done now.....Cj

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Re: Training a dog in an area with no wild birds

Post by averageguy » Thu Nov 15, 2018 8:31 am

cjhills wrote: Don't look much like normal Hun cover.
What the heck does my post have to do with you having fun and what does the photo of your dog pointing have to do with anything. Sorry, I didn't mean to make you feel bad. I did not say anything about any hunting not being fun. Even dumb birds are fun. You and your dog probably did well. I think you should go to Sand Lake. Maybe I will see you there The Snow geese will be there by the millions now. Can't hunt there yet though.
I am done now.....Cj
Well see there CJ, I am helping you learn already because there was a 20 bird covey of Huns living right there. That young dog nailed them twice in that spot, a week apart on each of the two drops we made there.

Here's another one.

Image

Make me feel bad. Na, your posts are not capable of that.

If it would make any difference I would connect the Dots for you as to how my last post relates to your posts, but it would not, and I believe the OP has good information to consider already.

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Re: Training a dog in an area with no wild birds

Post by ezzy333 » Thu Nov 15, 2018 11:13 am

Average Guy, if you are nearing 70 you are probably a little younger than most of the experienced hunter that post on here. And if those years are how we determine experience then you may be a little less experienced as well. I do not have a clue how you rank quality of experience but much of what you are posting is valid for you And I am sure others like myself have enjoyed reading them but they sure do not apply accurately to me or my area. One of the advantages of a growing and large forum like this is being able to learn from others in places I have not been.

I am posting this on the open forum because it applies to all of us but it seems to have become a greater problem for you lately. My advice is drop the constant referral to your age and experience but just state it and then learn form the others that post.
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Re: Training a dog in an area with no wild birds

Post by averageguy » Thu Nov 15, 2018 12:07 pm

Ezzy, I think a commenter’s experience with a subject is entirely relevant and useful to share. And the kind of content I would never expect an admin monitor to think they have any need or reason to comment on. So we disagree on that as well.

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Re: Training a dog in an area with no wild birds

Post by polmaise » Thu Nov 15, 2018 12:12 pm

averageguy wrote: That young dog nailed them twice in that spot, a week apart on each of the two drops we made there.

Here's another one.

Image
Where did the Trees Go ?

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Re: Training a dog in an area with no wild birds

Post by cjhills » Thu Nov 15, 2018 12:18 pm

AG:
To add a little to Ezzy's post
If you live long enough you may learn that killing a limit of birds every day is not really indicative of success or even good dog work. It just means good bird numbers. If several days would mean 4 days, a limits for 2 people in Montana is 64 birds. Seems like a lot. it is legal. Anybody on this forum has photos of dogs on point. They look nice but most pointing dogs will do that...…..Cj
Polmaise: they all froze. it snows every month in northern MONTANA

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Re: Training a dog in an area with no wild birds

Post by polmaise » Thu Nov 15, 2018 12:27 pm

cjhills wrote: Polmaise: they all froze. it snows every month in northern MONTANA
Just Not those two weeks . 8)

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Re: Training a dog in an area with no wild birds

Post by averageguy » Thu Nov 15, 2018 12:30 pm

CJ you posted as “proof” of how easy late pheasants are to hunt, your claim your puppies routinely found and pointed limits of them. I simply applied the same set of criteria you used, to Huns which is a bird you hold in much higher regard, which can also be handled by a talented young dog. And were. My ethics are no different than yours.

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Re: Training a dog in an area with no wild birds

Post by polmaise » Thu Nov 15, 2018 1:16 pm

Beej1989 wrote:2 part question
Is it possible to train a dog with placed birds if there are no wild birds in the area that you live but you’re traveling to areas with wild birds a several times a season?

Is it ethical to train a bird dog when you don’t have the wild birds and can only take them several times a season?
Yes and Yes :wink:

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Re: Training a dog in an area with no wild birds

Post by JONOV » Thu Nov 15, 2018 1:27 pm

The relative difficulty of birds is so heavily influenced by conditions that the conversation seems kind of silly. I don't think any bird species is inherently "smart" or "dumb," its a question the conditions relative to the lifecycle of the bird, and how educated they are.

Its not that different than fishing or deer hunting. Walleye are easy to catch in May, harder to catch in the dog days of summer. You want to kill a booner buck? Guys that do it a lot will tell you that you might get an opportunity opening morning of Bow season, or otherwise hope he's chasing a doe during the rut; the big ones don't get big by being dumb or predictable. Its easier to kill a Gobbler in the spring than the fall. Its easier to kill pheasants after a little snow. Etc, etc...

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Re: Training a dog in an area with no wild birds

Post by averageguy » Thu Nov 15, 2018 2:07 pm

Ok Heckel and Jeckel, Let me make your day. Got 5 minutes into our hunt this morning and we were headed back to the truck and then an hour to the nearest Vet. Probably heading home in the morning.

Seems like you two think you have a real bone to chew on with this silliness of, "where did the trees go?" (they are shrubs BTW). I never said the second photo was in the same spot. CJ's thinly veiled inference that my pup was not pointing Huns because according to him it did not look like Hun habitat, was the reason I posted the second photo from the next day where the Pup had a covey pointed in the wide open.

But apparently you are laboring under the misconception that Huns will not be found around shrubs. Let me clear that up for you.

Note the nearby shrubs as my pup brings in a live prisoner.

Image

See that line of shrubs running up that cut in the Hillside. My pup pointed and relocated 3 times in the row of shrubs. Birds ran to the end and then went up as I advanced past my pup, and I shot a triple. Pup then recovered them all. Which is why I recorded the spot with my camera. An entirely different location than the retrieve photo above.

Image

CJ, I did not mean to imply we shot limits of Huns every day on that trip and we did not. We shot a double limit the day after the first photo. The pup was hunting Huns for the first time in country neither of us had ever been in. He averaged finding a covey an hour for the 5 days we hunted Huns. Did some waterfowl hunting on that trip as well and went at the Huns with less fervor as the days rolled by. It was a Great Trip.

There are those who enjoy dog work as much as I do, but none more.

To be criticized for posting beautiful photos seems really odd to me.
Last edited by averageguy on Thu Nov 15, 2018 2:25 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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Re: Training a dog in an area with no wild birds

Post by polmaise » Thu Nov 15, 2018 2:22 pm

Pictures look great ! Thanks for sharing .
They look nothing like the same spot though . :wink:

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Re: Training a dog in an area with no wild birds

Post by averageguy » Thu Nov 15, 2018 2:32 pm

polmaise wrote:Pictures look great ! Thanks for sharing .
They look nothing like the same spot though . :wink:
I do have a photo of my pup's second find at that same location a week apart. But at the time I did not think ahead that I might need to capture the shrubs in the photo for use in responding to some no value heckling on a public forum down the road.

Instead I used the zoomed in lens to capture the intensity of my pup when he suddenly found himself in very close proximity to a Hun as he ran by with the wind at his back and slammed into a low station point.

Image

Believe what you want.

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Re: Training a dog in an area with no wild birds

Post by polmaise » Thu Nov 15, 2018 2:48 pm

averageguy wrote: Believe what you want.
Love seeing pictures of folks dogs mate . :wink:
Now, Training a dog in an area with no wild birds ? :mrgreen:

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Re: Training a dog in an area with no wild birds

Post by averageguy » Thu Nov 15, 2018 2:57 pm

polmaise wrote:
averageguy wrote: Believe what you want.
Love seeing pictures of folks dogs mate . :wink:
Now, Training a dog in an area with no wild birds ? :mrgreen:
I provided some excellent thoughts on the subject, read them, ignore them, comment on them as you choose.

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Re: Training a dog in an area with no wild birds

Post by cjhills » Thu Nov 15, 2018 6:11 pm

averageguy wrote:CJ,

This is my dog before he was 2 years old pointing the first Hun he ever smelled. In Montana. The next day my Brother and I shot our limits of Huns over his points. Which went on for several days on that trip.

Does my success in hunting them then make Huns Dumb?

Here I thought we were having a Ball doing what Bird Hunters do with Bird Dogs.

Image
what does your post say . Ethics are ethics everybody is entitled to theirs if it is legal. I just don't have much use for that many birds.
Anyhow who cares. your dog is nice enjoy. most dogs do what he does. No need to defend him or yourself.
If any birds were smart they would simply fly away when we got within 60yards. We would never get one. In natures scheme of things birds are prey animals. If they were not easy the predators would starve.....Cj

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Re: Training a dog in an area with no wild birds

Post by birddogger2 » Fri Nov 16, 2018 9:21 am

averageguy -

Thanks for the pics on the dog. Very nice. I would consider myself fortunate to hunt behind dogs such as yours.

And don't concern yourself about what others may nitpick about. You know what you have.

As far as the OP's question...I believe it has been answered in the affirmative by the preponderance of the folks on this board.

I can only add that it is indeed possible to train a dog on pigeons and pen raised birds to a very high level. It is done all the time, actually, by professional trainers. In fact I do not know ANY professional trainers who do not use pigeons or pen raised birds at some point during the training process(and I know quite a few).

The key to the transition on wild birds is opportunity. A good dog will figure it out. It my take some time and a dog that has been indoctrinated with wild birds may well be "better at it" than one which was not... but ...given the opportunity, a good dog will make quick progress along that learning curve.

As to the ethics and such...all I will say is that... if the dog is trained on pigeons and pen raised birds...the dog don't care whether the bird is wild or not. If you kill a bird, I think any dog will enjoy wrapping its gums around it, wild or not. That is good enough for me. If the dog is doing what it was put on this earth for and enjoying it, I generally am as well.

Hunt the dog as much as you can...where you can... when you can... and that will be good enough for the dog... and you.

RayG

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Re: Training a dog in an area with no wild birds

Post by averageguy » Fri Nov 16, 2018 2:00 pm

Ray G, Nice post. You are a consistently classy guy and I appreciate it.

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Re: Training a dog in an area with no wild birds

Post by ezzy333 » Sat Nov 17, 2018 10:11 am

averageguy wrote:Ray G, Nice post. You are a consistently classy guy and I appreciate it.
Right on. We can usually find what we look for and it throws me that so many try to find fault instead od a dog and a man in the field doing what they like to do as well as I always thought most of us but I begin to wonder at times Are we as a forum providing help ,education, and enjoyment to our members or just a contest to see how many things that you can find wrong with the pic and the post.
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Re: Training a dog in an area with no wild birds

Post by Beej1989 » Sun Dec 09, 2018 6:14 pm

I haven’t quite figured out how the forum works just because I haven’t taken the time to do so, but I cant tell you all how much I appreciate the information. I live in northeast Texas but I have hunted the Dakotas, Kansas and Montana for wild birds and Oklahoma, Texas, and Mississippi for pen raised birds on preserves just because we don’t have the wild birds to chase (of any species, at least the areas Ive been) and loved every second of it. The ethics I referred to was, in fact, “is it fair to the dog”. I want a puppy so bad I cant stand it but wanted some opinions and information before I did so and I have gotten what I need (through this forum and other sources) and look forward to reading more from everyone on other threads. Hopefully sooner than later Ill have my puppy so I can get a few more pointers and suggestions. Thanks all and shoot straight!

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