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Bottled scent

I recently acquired a 22 month old GSP who is pretty good on staying steady on the wing and shot with tame birds. This coming quail season will be his first on wild birds. I'd like to get him started on hunting "dead" before the season and was thinking about using dummies with spray quail scent. Any thoughts on this method and advice on getting him started? I don't have any frozen birds right now and haven't been able to find any.
Dave in SC

Dave in SC,
I'm going to guess that your dog does a fair job of retrieving, so we can fast forward ahead a bit. Fair job meaning that the dog will bring back what you have thrown or shot within range of the handler.

Well, I have used those spray scents before to success, however, nothing replaces the real McCoy. Besides, my Pheasant scent smells like my quail scent, which smells like my duck scent. And, they all kinda smell like buck lure! They taste terrible too! ( Had some in my coffee once, put there by a playful trainin' assistant)

As far as hunting dead, your Shorthair came from the factory equipt with a tremendous nose, so finding freshly shot game should not be a problem. Incorporating scented dummies with training for the "dead bird fetch command" (without getting into force fetching here) could be used to reinforce the fact that something out there has been shot or commanded to bring back, and using the dummies, in a pinch is fine. Try throwing out a dummy with the dog at heel, fire the blank gun, then send him for the retrieve. Do this in a place where there is heavy cover, and watch your dog hunt dead through the brush. On the dummies, I would rather use a taped on wing from a pheasant, or flight feathers from a duck, this way you could simulate the real deal. I use a couple of retrieving bucks which reside inside my quail pen, when force breaking a dog in the final steps. The key to hunting dead is the fact that when you give the dog the task of finding something shot, he finds it! So make sure you have a safety built in, for instance, if you send the dog and he can't find the object, sneak another out there so he has something to bring back. Now you can reward him.

Eventually, you'll consider force breaking for a finished, no questions asked retrieve, but for now, enjoy the dog, and get some birds shot over him.

Steve Anker
Anker Outfitters

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