To shoot,,,,,or not to shoot?

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Re: To shoot,,,,,or not to shoot?

Postby mastercaster » Mon Feb 25, 2019 1:18 am

Thanks for all the replies!

I think I'll invest in one with the extending stock,,,,,mostly because I have a bad shoulder that doesn't need a lot of extra pounding. Funny thing, though, I don't feel a thing at my shoulder when I'm shooting a bird or a deer and/or moose.

Oddly enough, when Steve Snell talks about them on Gundogsupplies he recommends putting the end of the stock on your upper thigh.

On a side note, I took my young griff, Sako, on an afternoon goose hunt in an area where pass shooting is what you need to do. It was only her second time goose hunting and we got boned the first time around. We were close to river's edge hidden in a make shift blind. Didn't have a whole lot shots because basically it's a crap shooting pick an opening where you think the birds will fly through. In any event, I only got off a hand full of shots,,,,,a few of them Hail Marys at some pretty high flying birds.

The dog was steady on all the shots. My shooting wasn't very good but I was able to get a double of the lowest flying bunch. It was Sako's first attempt at retrieving Canada geese. She's only fifty pounds and she had a bitch of a time trying to get the first one to me since it was in heavy grass. My buddy figured they were about 12-13 pounds each. I ended up having to walk out to her because I'm not sure she was going to be able to get it all the way to me. When she'd grab the wing she was tripping all over the other wing. She tried pulling it by the neck, too, because the body was too big for her mouth to get a good grab.

Is this just a matter of practice or is she just a bit too small to handle these beasts? I know she wouldn't have trouble swimming them in because they float.
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Re: To shoot,,,,,or not to shoot?

Postby Willie T » Mon Feb 25, 2019 6:23 am

She just needs to find the handle.
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Re: To shoot,,,,,or not to shoot?

Postby AverageGuy » Mon Feb 25, 2019 7:30 am

MC, I don't want you to be surprised or disappointed with the shoulder stock launcher. Mine kicks like heck and I do not hold it against my shoulder but rather hold it with both hands near but not against my shoulder. Hearing protection is a must in my view. I also put some foam pipe insulation around the metal tubes at the back.

I bought and used a Dolken goose to teach my dogs how to get a proper grip on the geese. And we worked with some dead ones. I expect doing the same with your dog would get her over the hump on getting a grip on them.
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Re: To shoot,,,,,or not to shoot?

Postby mastercaster » Mon Feb 25, 2019 10:19 am

AverageGuy wrote:MC, I don't want you to be surprised or disappointed with the shoulder stock launcher. Mine kicks like heck and I do not hold it against my shoulder but rather hold it with both hands near but not against my shoulder. Hearing protection is a must in my view. I also put some foam pipe insulation around the metal tubes at the back.

I bought and used a Dolken goose to teach my dogs how to get a proper grip on the geese. And we worked with some dead ones. I expect doing the same with your dog would get her over the hump on getting a grip on them.


My friend has a frozen whole snow goose which is less than half the size of what i shot yesterday. I think i'll go pick it up from him.
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Re: To shoot,,,,,or not to shoot?

Postby ryanr » Mon Feb 25, 2019 11:17 am

mtbirder wrote:My response was biased. As being an upland hunter only, I did not take into consideration water dogs. my bad.
I actually sometimes think I should get into the waterfowl world to expand opportunity.
But, you guys will get no competition from me - can't stand eating duck, and am way to addicted to wearing out boot leather to wait for birds to come to me.....


Being steady to wing, shot and fall has real applications in upland hunting too. For example, multiple birds from the same point. If the dog breaks on the first flush or even the first shot, those other birds are likely to get bumped and may not offer as good a shot vs if they might if they were flushed by a ready hunter. And the dog that breaks on the flush can also create a safety issue.

I prefer the completely broke dog that can then mark the shot bird and is also skilled in tracking down a running cripple. A big smile comes across my face when I see my dog returning from a long retrieve after tracking down a running cripple out of well out of my eyesight. For my older dog, I actually think he enjoys getting to do that the most.
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Re: To shoot,,,,,or not to shoot?

Postby ryanr » Mon Feb 25, 2019 11:17 am

mtbirder wrote:My response was biased. As being an upland hunter only, I did not take into consideration water dogs. my bad.
I actually sometimes think I should get into the waterfowl world to expand opportunity.
But, you guys will get no competition from me - can't stand eating duck, and am way to addicted to wearing out boot leather to wait for birds to come to me.....


Being steady to wing, shot and fall has real applications in upland hunting too. For example, multiple birds from the same point. If the dog breaks on the first flush or even the first shot, those other birds are likely to get bumped and may not offer as good a shot vs if they might if they were flushed by a ready hunter. And the dog that breaks on the flush can also create a safety issue.

I prefer the completely broke dog that can then mark the shot bird and is also skilled in tracking down a running cripple. A big smile comes across my face when I see my dog returning from a long retrieve after tracking down a running cripple out of well out of my eyesight. For my older dog, I actually think he enjoys getting to do that the most.
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Re: To shoot,,,,,or not to shoot?

Postby AverageGuy » Mon Feb 25, 2019 2:18 pm

A steady dog while waterfowl hunting is highly advantageous as being able to direct the dog to an escaping swimming cripple vs dead birds in the decoy spread is for the best, as well as being able to safely shoot cripples that are still in range on the water before sending the dog into the water to retrieve.

Hunting Upland Birds - A dog which is steady to wing and not chasing birds when flushed off their points is far safer for the dog and that is the reason I train for and maintain that standard of performance while hunting. I run a few Hunt Tests and so between hunting seasons I train for the dog to also be steady to fall, waiting to be released to retrieve downed birds. But while hunting wild upland birds, mostly alone, I find it very impractical to maintain the dog steady to falling shot birds and don't.

I can refrain from shooting if the dog breaks when the birds flush and thus have a way to discipline that, but if the dog breaks while I have my shotgun at my shoulder and my focus on shooting a bird, at best my correction is going to be way late. I don't even try and the reason why is I do not buy into the dog being more effective when held up to retrieve falling upland birds. I think the opposite, I think the dog breaking to falling birds when hunting upland birds, gets on them quicker, back to me with it and then on to the next one.
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Re: To shoot,,,,,or not to shoot?

Postby ryanr » Mon Feb 25, 2019 4:08 pm

AG, in hunting (vs testing) I don't mind (though I don't encourage them) the dog breaking on the shot because like you said, it's hard to get well-timed correction in a hunting situation and it also allows for a speedy track of a cripple but I also think it can lead to them starting to break earlier than that (depends on the dog of course.) In hunting, my older dog breaks either at the shot or sometimes on the flush and I've just stopped fighting it with him (I'd rather just enjoy the hunt, and he is masterful at tracking down cripples so I live with it, LOL.) However I am hoping to keep my young girl steady to wing, shot and fall while hunting. I just think it looks cool and I have had my older dog bust additional birds when he broke and in the commotion I was unprepared to get a shot. He's like a darn freight train when he breaks.

But I also don't have experience hunting the wild birds out West and so might feel differently with that experience. However, when hunting ruffed grouse in our covers here in the East I have had the older dog point and flush a grouse and he breaks on the shot (miss) only to have one or more grouse flush that had also been holding. I kinda think it's hard to maintain that complete steadiness when hunting but I sure do think it's impressive when I see one that does.
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Re: To shoot,,,,,or not to shoot?

Postby AverageGuy » Mon Feb 25, 2019 5:21 pm

ryanr,

Yes, I agree breaking encourages more attempts to break and needs to be managed along the way or steady to wing can also go out the window. I admit to a cycle of hunting and retraining during the off seasons to some degree. While hunting wild upland birds I try to find the right balance between enjoying ourselves, being safe and effective. I find myself in a lot of situations where we have traveled far and hunted hard for the shooting opportunities we get on wild birds and am not enough of a purist to pass them up in many situations. When I hunt with someone who is a good shot, I will use a camera more as well as re-enforce some training along the way, while never loosing sight the objective is to enjoy ourselves and hunting is not testing.
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Re: To shoot,,,,,or not to shoot?

Postby Willie T » Mon Feb 25, 2019 6:40 pm

When hunting quail in texas it is not uncommon, with two hunters, to dump 3-4 birds on the covey rise. A dog that breaks will mark one. A steady dog that is both talented and focused, will mark them all. When given the opportunity, the dog learns it as well. In my eyes, a dog that consistently pulls it off, is a thing of beauty. When that happens, it becomes much easier to maintain. It is a standard I strive to maintain. Past dogs have shown me that once you let that genie out of the bottle, it becomes increasingly difficult to put back and keep there. I don't think either way is right or wrong and the better handlers train to a standard than that in their opinions, make their dogs more effective on the game they pursue.
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Re: To shoot,,,,,or not to shoot?

Postby AverageGuy » Mon Feb 25, 2019 7:46 pm

Went 16 for 16 recovering every quail that hit the ground, dead or alive on our last hunt. Never had a problem with a GWP recovering downed birds.
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Re: To shoot,,,,,or not to shoot?

Postby mtbirder » Mon Feb 25, 2019 7:50 pm

A truly versatile dog will be steady for the most important shot, can be tough to get her to hold still for the camera - the hero shot :D
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Sorry, It has been gray and snowing for days here boredom is setting in - back to the OP's topic............
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Re: To shoot,,,,,or not to shoot?

Postby Willie T » Mon Feb 25, 2019 8:33 pm

AverageGuy wrote:Went 16 for 16 recovering every quail that hit the ground, dead or alive on our last hunt. Never had a problem with a GWP recovering downed birds.


I would hope not. Reliably "marking" quads in a hunting situation somewhat ups the ante. Regardless of the breed.
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Re: To shoot,,,,,or not to shoot?

Postby AverageGuy » Tue Feb 26, 2019 8:51 am

Relative to hunting upland birds, I find way more is made of steady to fall than is reality.

Far more often than not the cover would not allow any dog to mark 4 birds shot off a covey rise where we most commonly hunt bobwhites. The dog is going to be focused on the bird it saw fall first and have to do a diligent job of hunting dead on command from there. On pheasants, I like a dog getting on the bird the quicker the better and the vast majority of the roosters I shoot are singles anyway.

When a dog recovers 100% of what hits the ground it would seem to be a manufactured "problem" or "advantage" to claim the dog would be better doing something different.

Steady to fall while hunting upland birds is for those who like to train and handle their dogs a lot. I enjoy training during the off seasons and do more than most, but I also enjoy a quiet hassle free experience while hunting. The less I have to correct or handle my dog while hunting the better I like it.

The subjects I train on in the off seasons are those which bring tangible benefits to our hunting and there is a lot to cover when Waterfowl, Blind Retrieve handling and blood tracking are added to the mix. Training for subjects which I perceive do not bring us increased success in the field does not rise to the level of priority of those that do.

Good luck finding others to hunt with that have their dogs trained to be steady to fall. I have a FB account and a pretty big list of folks who are very avid wild upland bird hunters. Many of them train and test their dogs as well in Hunt Tests which require their dogs to be steady to WSF in the Test (as my dog was in his UT). These are accomplished dog people and avid hunters.

I asked them how many maintained their dogs to be steady to fall through the upland bird hunting seasons. Every person who responded said they let their dogs break to retrieve through the hunting seasons and retrained to the higher standard before running a Hunt Test.
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Re: To shoot,,,,,or not to shoot?

Postby ryanr » Tue Feb 26, 2019 9:08 am

If you've never had the pleasure of hunting pheasants here in the East, such as in my home state of PA. Let's just say it's not anything like the wide open spaces you have to hunt them out West. These are released birds and most of the public land is crowded with hunters eager to shoot and "get their birds." At some places it can feel a bit like combat hunting as we jokingly call it. So having a completely steady dog can be important from purely a safety aspect.
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