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Bird Hunting

Discussion in 'Hunting' started by Zeke/PA, Feb 5, 2013.

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  1. sixgunner455

    sixgunner455 Member

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    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.
     
  2. Ed N.

    Ed N. Member

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    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.
     
  3. Bobson

    Bobson Member

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    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. :)
     
  4. Chevelle SS

    Chevelle SS Member

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    Michigan
    Birds? What are birds? Haven't seen any for a loooong time.
     
  5. wgp

    wgp Member

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    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.
     
  6. returningfire

    returningfire Member

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    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.
     
  7. buck460XVR

    buck460XVR Member

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    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.
     
  8. oneounceload

    oneounceload member

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    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
     
  9. Sniper66

    Sniper66 Member

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    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!!
     
  10. IowaHunter

    IowaHunter Member

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    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.
     
  11. 41magsnub

    41magsnub Member

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    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.
     
  12. returningfire

    returningfire Member

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    Birds

    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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