Bird Hunting


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Zeke/PA
February 5, 2013, 05:08 PM
Anyone who wants to talk about "Pointer Dogs" and bird hunting, I'm game.
SHOOT!

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MtnCreek
February 5, 2013, 06:01 PM
I wish we had some birds to talk about. I know of a few good coveys near home, but they're few and far between. They’re on power lines and old abandoned farms. Most bird hunting around here is for released birds. What kind of birds do you have up there?

Loc n Load
February 5, 2013, 07:09 PM
Live in Central West Indiana.....I hunt birds here regularly, but it is on a game preserve.....there are still a few wild quail around here, but I haven't seen a covey of wild birds for decades...those of us who hunt seriously hunt on preserves.....here in Indiana we have a lot of predatory critters and a lot less cover for birds...I used to live in Arizona and we used to hunt birds out there.
Amazingly they have tons of quail out there in the desert.....we used to hunt on horse back because of the amount of territory that we covered.....have had German short hairs & Brittany's .....hunt with a friend who has dogs now...I am retired and I don't want the responsibility of caring for a bunch of wound up bird dogs any more.....still love to see them work....we usually hunt from Nov thru Feb here.....this year has been good....no serious snow or ice.

kbbailey
February 5, 2013, 10:07 PM
Hello fellow bird hunters. I am a quail hunter, as was my father, and grandfather. As a farmer I had an unfair advantage because I kept track of where the birds were throughout the year. However, the birds are scarce now. I still have a Brittany female, but I go to a shooting preserve now if I want action. It is sad, I used to take over 100 birds/yr, and that was only over points.
Every year we have less habitat, despite crp acres, and quail buffer strips, the habitat keeps declining.
I have killed the limit (8) with a .410,... I'm not sure I could find 8 birds on our entire farm now.

gbran
February 5, 2013, 10:18 PM
I Jeep (or ATV) hunt quail in the mountains. See a covey, jump out and shoot. Foot chase them, they usually don't go far. Sometimes, call them back after they settle down. Generally get my limit (10/day) with this method. Never tried this down in flatter country where gogs work pretty good.

Takem406
February 5, 2013, 10:29 PM
Not upland but I got a goose hunting addiction!

Though I love huntin pheasants! My uncle has a place in North Central Montana that has hundreds!

In God and Glock we Trust

MCgunner
February 5, 2013, 10:51 PM
Me, too, and ducks. Lived on the gulf coast of Texas most of my life, but just moved to near Eagle Lake which claims to be the "Goose hunting capital of the world". Gonna book me a few hunts next season through one of the outfitters, here. I would like to get into a hunting club, but they're ridiculously expensive and I can run down to the coast and hunt for free, well, 48 bucks a year..

http://i47.tinypic.com/ilvxgz.jpg

MCgunner
February 5, 2013, 10:58 PM
Oh, yeah, I have a thing for doves, too. :D

http://i259.photobucket.com/albums/hh305/goose150/PICT0185.jpg

returningfire
February 5, 2013, 11:14 PM
Here in the mountains of WNC we have some grouse left, a lot of walking over steep mountains and through laurel and briar thickets to get one. The quail and the farms are all gone, all housing subdivisions now. I have two Brits about a year old and are coming on pretty good. But I use the preserves for training, quail and pheasants. Young dogs have to find something once and awhile or they loose interest. But I do love it, the dogs working and the side by sides I usually hunt with make it all addictive. It's not about the birds, it's about the dogs and the guns and the time in the field and woods. A true bird dog lives for it as do I.
Would like to go to Michigan next season, they say there are plenty of grouse there, they say. Anybody know a good place there? Or have a connection?
I'm not the expert, but I do love it.:)

Patocazador
February 6, 2013, 12:07 AM
Very few wild quail here anymore. I used to have pointers and then Brittanies but now have a Boykin. I've killed 5 wild quail in 2 yrs. and only got into birds 4 times.
Had the worst duck season in 15 years this year. Only doves and turkeys seem to be hanging on.

MtnCreek
February 6, 2013, 09:17 AM
Returningfire,

Sounds like you must be near Asheville. I’ve hunted a lot in Pisgah Nat (~45min east of Aville). The Forestry maintains roads and some fields all through the nat forest. Not a lot of quail, but real good grouse and rabbit hunting. The roads and the edges of some fields have produced some quail for me, but I’ve also had some luck on ridge lines that were cut with a year or two growth on them. The fields are fescue grass and not really suited for quail, but some of those fields bounded by pines have some birds. I’ve tried grouse hunting in wooded hollers, but never had much luck at that.

Zeke/PA
February 6, 2013, 09:22 AM
Here in PA at one time the Ringneck population was awesome.
In late Summer, on a late afternoon drive through the farm country, one could see 500 or more birds in the cut hay and short grass fields.
It seems that the birds suddenly declined with the Avian Flu curse that occured in the mid-80"s.
Some of the farms are still there but, sadlly, the birds are long gone.
I have great memories of Pointers and Ringnecks.

Pilot
February 6, 2013, 09:26 AM
Yeah, in PA you need to belong to a game reserve/Pheasant farm now. When I was a kid Pheasants were everywhere. Now I never rarely see them.

When I moved to Colorado I did more bird hunting with my German Shorthaired Pointer. Can't recommend these dogs enough. You need a good bird dog to bird hunt. Plus, they are great companions.

MtnCreek
February 6, 2013, 09:35 AM
Zeke,
Have you tried releasing any weathered pheasant? They're pretty hardy compared to quail. I know a guy here in GA that has a nice quail setup, but he's invested a lot in it. Pheasant would probably be a lot easier if you have a few acres not dedicated to anything else. Around here, DNR will come out and help with planning and they're also a good source for trees/plants.

returningfire
February 6, 2013, 12:15 PM
MtnCreek
Located in a small town about 60 miles southwest of Asheville. We have a lot of public land, US and NC, Nantahala Natl. forest etc. Lots of woods and land but few birds. Between the abundant population of predators; hawks snakes, racoons, skunks, bobcats, foxes, coyotes, and the comeback of turkeys (they will destroy a grouse clutch, eggs or chicks) we are probably lucky to have any grouse left. And then there are the poachers who ride the roads and shoot grouse out the truck window, poor birds don't know you should get away from vehicles instead of stare at them in amazement.
But grouse hunting here makes for a good walk in the woods, and helps keep me and the dogs in shape.
Hopefully there be abundant grouse in Valhalla.
How are the quail over your way?

Zeke/PA
February 6, 2013, 01:20 PM
Yeah, in PA you need to belong to a game reserve/Pheasant farm now. When I was a kid Pheasants were everywhere. Now I never rarely see them.

When I moved to Colorado I did more bird hunting with my German Shorthaired Pointer. Can't recommend these dogs enough. You need a good bird dog to bird hunt. Plus, they are great companions.
The Bird Dog/ companion thing is of course an understatement especially if you have broken the dog yourself and He/She knows what the word "Whoa" means.
The times that I've come in from a hunt and watched a daughter or two lavish effection on "Kim"(my best Pointer)) are priceless.

41magsnub
February 6, 2013, 01:26 PM
I hunt a private pheasant preserve here in MT. Great training for the dog, my GWP is 8 months old and has seen a lot of birds.

I expect great things from her next year, this year for most of the season she had a hard time keeping up with the adult dogs so she was not getting first crack at many of the birds. She is gaining speed and endurance fast now. She is a champ at honoring points, I didn't have to train her to do that.. she just did it naturally. Only twice has she flushed a bird another dog was pointing.

We need to get her out solo more. The few times I did that this year she did pretty well, mostly holding points. She retrieves like a lab. In the off season this year we are going to learn that whoa means fricking WHOA. Not whoa until she can't stand it anymore. She's trying, it is all just so exciting and she is still a pup!

DAP90
February 6, 2013, 01:50 PM
I mostly hunt pheasants and doves in McCook Nebraska, sometimes quail and on rare occasionís turkeys.

It was a tough year for pheasants. They were out there but the drought was so bad this year there were a lot of unpicked fields and with the heat the birds were spread out all over creation. I had the best success in unpicked milo fields. I found hardly any in pockets. With 2-4 guys and one poorly trained dog a large, unpicked field is tough to hunt with any degree of success.

I missed out on doves this year (darn it) and while I saw turkeys I didnít buy a license.

No quail. Last year was OK but I saw only one or two coveys this year and only in deep cover where I donít like to shoot them. Without a trained dog to go find them I only shoot them in low cover fields where I can find them.

My BIL went to South Dakota and went on a guided hunt for planted birds. After 30 years of wild birds he wasnít thrilled with the experience. He said they saw and shot bunches of them but there wasnít any challenge to it. He also said the guides lined them up staggered on opposite sides of a pocket and they basically had a small arc to shoot in before they would be shooting directly at someone else. A couple of guys got hit and one had a tooth chipped by an errant pellet.

Zeke/PA
February 6, 2013, 02:28 PM
I hunt a private pheasant preserve here in MT. Great training for the dog, my GWP is 8 months old and has seen a lot of birds.

I expect great things from her next year, this year for most of the season she had a hard time keeping up with the adult dogs so she was not getting first crack at many of the birds. She is gaining speed and endurance fast now. She is a champ at honoring points, I didn't have to train her to do that.. she just did it naturally. Only twice has she flushed a bird another dog was pointing.

We need to get her out solo more. The few times I did that this year she did pretty well, mostly holding points. She retrieves like a lab. In the off season this year we are going to learn that whoa means fricking WHOA. Not whoa until she can't stand it anymore. She's trying, it is all just so exciting and she is still a pup!
Hunt Her solo for BEST results!
Does she know the meaning of the word "WHOA"?

Zeke/PA
February 6, 2013, 02:48 PM
41mag snub,
Do the WHOA breaking NOW while the dog is relativly young.
In a small room, place the dog on/in a side/corner and walk away.
When she follows, put her back with a collar and under rear legs grab, set her forcefully back and say "WHOA".
After a couple of sessions she will begin to get the idea at which time a reward (baloney ends are great) is in order.
Use judgement, don't make the sessions long or too severe.
A properly broken Pointer is a pleasure to behold and the jittery dog "on point" is controlled by the word "whoa".
The dog should be steady to "flush,wing and shot" UNTIL YOU send her on to retrieve.
You will hear folks talk about their exploits with their "bird dogs" and the amount of game that they harvest.
True BUT it AIN'T always good dog work.
In truth, in good Ringneck country, more birds can be harvested using a Beagle.

41magsnub
February 6, 2013, 04:03 PM
Graet ideas, thanks!

Zeke/PA
February 6, 2013, 06:47 PM
Graet ideas, thanks!
I wish that you lived closer as I'd just love to help you break your "pointer dog".
Respectfully, Zeke

Double_J
February 6, 2013, 08:15 PM
Been a few years since I went dove hunting. I had a friend with a small patch of knee high grass, and we would go out there with a 20 ga. single shot each. The good days we limited out quick, the not so good days we thinned out the crow population. I moved away from that part of the country a few years ago, and I have not bothered to find a new bird hunting area.

I do have a couple of guys at work that are big into duck/goose hunting. I just can not get over the sitting in COLD, smelly water and waiting all day for the chance to get 2 ducks. They seem to love it, and I don't mind when they cook some duck for our potluck lunch. :)

MCgunner
February 6, 2013, 11:08 PM
6 duck limit here and good days, I'm done before 8AM. 2 birds all day? I'd find better hunting. :D

Bobson
February 7, 2013, 02:27 AM
Does she know the meaning of the word "WHOA"?
In a small room, place the dog on/in a side/corner and walk away.
When she follows, put her back with a collar and under rear legs grab, set her forcefully back and say "WHOA".
Sounds like whoa means stay. Why is it whoa? Tradition, or what?

sixgunner455
February 7, 2013, 04:18 AM
Not just tradition. When the dog is running, you should be able to call "Whoa" and see dirt flying from the brakes being applied as it stops. This can save a dog from running over the edge of a cliff, or into traffic. It can also keep a dog from breaking point, when used as a steadying command, or to remind a wayward canine to honor a point. It can also stop one from chasing a flushing bird, which ruins your shot opportunity if the bird isn't getting much altitude fast and the fool GSP is jumping in the air trying to get that cock bird all on his lonesome.

All the way across the alfalfa field.

I love watching bird dogs work. It is why I hunt birds. I'm not very good at hunting birds, or working a bird dog, just a hack, really, but I love it and I love my dog.

Whoa training starts in the house, as above noted. When entering/leaving, the dog gets to whoa and honor the people going through the door first. When being fed, the dog gets to whoa and wait to be told to eat.

Then you start doing it in the yard, walking away and eventually out of sight.

I don't do "stay" with a bird dog. Redundant command on a whoa trained dog.

Ed N.
February 7, 2013, 05:30 PM
When I was a kid, I enjoyed quail hunting. These days, sadly, quail are almost gone from public lands in Florida. Dove hunting can be decent, though.

This year I tried snipe hunting for the first time, and it's a blast. Florida has some good habitat on WMAs, so depending on rainfall and migration patterns there can be good numbers of birds. It's hard to imagine a faster or more challenging game bird than a flushing snipe. No need for a bird dog (though a retriever could be useful); just find a good spot and walk them up. The season is fairly long, going from early November through mid February.

I still miss quail hunting, but I'm having a really good time with snipe.

Bobson
February 7, 2013, 08:22 PM
That sounds pretty cool, sixgunner. It does seem like it would be fun to watch a running dog throw dirt from tryin to stop on a dime. Thanks for the lesson. :)

Chevelle SS
February 7, 2013, 08:26 PM
Birds? What are birds? Haven't seen any for a loooong time.

wgp
February 7, 2013, 10:58 PM
Have been hunting upland birds in Kansas for about 40 years. We have our own land in SE Kansas where we are covered with deer, the quail vary from year to year and there are almost no pheasants. My friend and I hunt our place and anywhere we can get access in Western KS. I've lost all the private land I used to have access to, to the outfitters and their fees, but Kansas has a program where landowners sign up for some state money and open their land to hunting. Birds here are really down, pheasant especially, after two very dry summers. We need rain very badly to bring them back.

I had a Lab for about 12 years, she's gone, now have a GSP but she is almost 14 and can't go anymore. I mooch off of my buddy's Brittanys because I just don't want to hunt without a dog or two.

I have never decided whether I prefer the social side of bird hunting, or the solitude of deer hunting. Truth be told, at 60 I still enjoy the hunt but have no strong urge to actually kill anything. Never thought I'd reach that point.

returningfire
February 8, 2013, 09:55 AM
Have been hunting upland birds in Kansas for about 40 years. We have our own land in SE Kansas where we are covered with deer, the quail vary from year to year and there are almost no pheasants. My friend and I hunt our place and anywhere we can get access in Western KS. I've lost all the private land I used to have access to, to the outfitters and their fees, but Kansas has a program where landowners sign up for some state money and open their land to hunting. Birds here are really down, pheasant especially, after two very dry summers. We need rain very badly to bring them back.

I had a Lab for about 12 years, she's gone, now have a GSP but she is almost 14 and can't go anymore. I mooch off of my buddy's Brittanys because I just don't want to hunt without a dog or two.

I have never decided whether I prefer the social side of bird hunting, or the solitude of deer hunting. Truth be told, at 60 I still enjoy the hunt but have no strong urge to actually kill anything. Never thought I'd reach that point.
WGP,
It's funny how that happens. I used to be concerned with filling my game coat with birds, or limit of trout, or fill all my deer tags. Now it's more being out there and doing it, watching the dogs that love birds work, chatting it up with fellow bird hunters, or watching and listening to the woods wake up in the morning while in a deer stand, or standing hip deep in a cold river when the hatch begins and trout are slurping bugs all around you.
But I still do love to eat wild game, but my appetite isn't as large as it used to be in many respects. But I still love to do it and do every time I can slip away from the real world.
I believe it might have been Thoreau that wrote "Men spend their whole lives fishing, never realizing it is not fish they are after".

Some of these young readers may think us sappy, but their time will come as well.
Straight shooting and tight lines to you.

buck460XVR
February 9, 2013, 11:44 AM
I have been luggin' a SxS and trudgin' behind the waggin' tail of a bird dog for almost 50 years. First it was mixed breed mutts, then it was Labs, moved on the GSPs and for the last 30+ years, it's been DDs/GWPs. I've jump shot ducks from farm ponds and creeks, been humbled by Timber-doodles in thick cover, walked days for a meal of Ruffed Grouse, experienced picture perfect points with rooster Pheasants bustin' outta fresh powdered snow, had dogs train me on how to hunt quail, shot a few Chukars, and since it became legal here in Wisconsin, shot a fall turkey from a staunch point. Years ago the dog was along to find downed birds in thick cover, swim in cold water to retrieve, and to help fill the game bag. It didn't take long before the priority was the companionship and the joy of watching them work. The memory of my present dog's first Rooster at 11 months a year and a half ago looms bigger than the day me and my two boys filled up a month and a half ago. The memories of my first point on a brace of quail by a 7 month GSP 37 years ago is still as fresh today as it was the day after. The warm muzzle pressed against me in times of sadness or difficult times over the years has been an inspiration and a Godsend. Bird dogs are much more than just about birds. So is Bird hunting. That 5 degree New Years day when my oldest treated me and the youngest to a 20 bird day at the local shooting preserve. Froze our fingers but warmed our barrels. Those calm daybreak mornings sittin' in a turkey blind listening to the world waking up and a pair of Toms challenging each other across a valley. Never enough of those. That long day when the only bird after 5 hours in the woods was 50 yards from the truck and your gun is already unloaded. The jeers and guffahs when I or someone with me misses a gimee shot. Or those times you miss the bird on purpose....... cause there aren't many left anymore, but you still have to give the dog a reason to hunt.

oneounceload
February 9, 2013, 11:56 AM
Very few wild quail here anymore. I used to have pointers and then Brittanies but now have a Boykin. I've killed 5 wild quail in 2 yrs. and only got into birds 4 times.
Had the worst duck season in 15 years this year. Only doves and turkeys seem to be hanging on.

I hear ya - I have seen a small covey here in central FL - three years ago on the entry road to my gun club - haven't seen any since. There is the release stuff here in FL, but the best places are VERY pricey to join. Compared to out West where I had blue, ruffed and sage grouse, California, Mountain and Gambel quail, chukar, and turkey all on open public BLM land so hunt club fees - this is the one drawback about living here in the East

Sniper66
February 9, 2013, 12:19 PM
Like WGP. I have hunted Kansas for years. At age 66, I can honestly say I have hunted Kansas for 60 years. Shot my first quail at about age 7 with an Iver Johnson 410. In NE Kansas, mostly just west of Topeka, we had abundant quail and prairie chickens, but not many pheasants. Western Kansas had great numbers of pheasants at that time. Sadly, the quail are maybe 10% of what they were in those days, as are prairie chickens. And pheasants have been depleted badly by the drought the last 2-3 years. I have the good fortune of access to lots of private land, but don't even bother to hunt quail anymore. Pheasants are still worthwhile and doves are abundant. There are lots of ducks and geese if you know what you are doing. Even though I am saddened by the populations of quail and prairie chickens, I still have lots of hunting I can do.....pheasants, squirrels, doves, coyotes, ducks, geese, crows, prairie dogs. I just retired and now also have the time. Damn, it's fun!!

IowaHunter
February 9, 2013, 07:23 PM
I live in northwest Iowa, and pheasant hunting is one of the joys of my life, mainly due to the dogs. Now, our bird population's have been in a serious decline for some years now, but last winter was pretty mild and we didn't have a really wet spring, so the numbers were up a tad this year. Still not as many as I remember from years gone by, but still worth going out early on a crisp fall morning for.

I actually get as much or more pleasure from watching my dog work as I do from the actual hunting. My first was Deacon, a black pointing Lab. He's gone now, God rest his loyal soul. Now I just have Diesel, a yellow pointing Lab. It's such a joy to watch them running through the cover, tail up and nose working. Honestly, I can hunt all day and come home empty handed, and I'll still have a smile on my face.

41magsnub
February 10, 2013, 09:19 PM
My GWP kicked some serious ass this weekend on preserve birds. Held points like a champ, retrieved the 2 birds we shot. We had 5 good solid points from her and she continued to honor the other dog's points.

I thought we were in trouble at first, right out of the truck before I had released her or had her collar on she charged into the field, got on the trail of a rooster, and bumped it.

The second oops was when she caught a hen that held really tight. The hen luckily got away. I think she didn't get any scent off of it (no wind), sort of blundered into it, and reacted when it was right in her face.

returningfire
February 13, 2013, 10:16 AM
I read that Quail Unlimited went under, isn't this the second time? From what I have read from mismanagement of money. Anyway, and that Quail Forever wants to continue to carry the banner for Gentleman Bob.

If we want birds, other than on preserves, we need to volunteer for an organization that is not just after the money for themselves.
You can choose your favorite and do what you can to support them.
Some of the ones to choose from; Quail Forever and Pheasant forever, Ruffed Grouse Society, Ducks Unlimited, National Bobwhite Quail Initiative, Wild Turkey Federation and I am sure I left someone out. If there is an organization I left out for birds somebody please mention it. Plus there are a lot of Organizations for deer elk sheep etc. I'm just talking birds now.

But farms and their crops are disappearing, more predators than I have seen before in my lifetime, and more hunters. So if we want birds we all should try to help somehow.
Not preaching, just saying:)

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