Pointing Crippled Duck in Shallow Marsh

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Pointing Crippled Duck in Shallow Marsh

Postby Dmog » Thu Sep 17, 2020 11:02 am

This scenario happened to me last weekend hunting Teal in shallow water marsh. Water was about 2-3" deep. My 2 year old PP has had more than 2 dozen swimming Duck retrieves and about 18 shallow water Duck retrieves before this hunting scenario. On one of them the bird was crippled out about 70 yards and it appeared to me that she lost the mark and over ran the downed Duck. As she went into search mode she pointed the Duck in some dead short cat tails. It looked to have crawled up into them. I of course was being lazy sitting on my Marsh seat as has become common place on single downed Ducks. Well, when she pointed, I was faced with a dilemma. Get off my lazy ass and walk over there or try the release command we use to relocate Pheasants. Of course this command has never been done at this distance and is typically done as I work in front of the dog to release her on running birds. After doing this 3-4 times on running pheasants she has naturally learned to relocate just from my presence and scent of the bird not needing the release command. Anyway, I tried the command from a distance to see if she would release from point to get the bird and she didn't budge. So, I walked over to the cattails and flushed the crippled Duck which she promptly retrieved.

So, the thought crossed my mind in my haste to recover game, which is ingrained in me to do, did I miss an opportunity to learn something? What if I would have just sat there, would she have eventually went in for it or would she have come back to me without the game? I majority of the time upland hunt so this shallow marsh hunting only happens one or two times a year. Given enough exposure to this, I am sure a command would be justified or she would figure it out on her own due to repetition.

Just wanted to see what others thoughts were on this? I doubt I would change anything but I do seem to be getting lazier in my old age.
Last edited by Dmog on Thu Sep 17, 2020 2:54 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Pointing Crippled Duck in Shallow Marsh

Postby orhunter » Thu Sep 17, 2020 11:17 am

This is one reason I want a dog to relocate on its own. A dog doesn't learn to handle birds if it has to rely on a command. A dog should also respond to a simple, "fetch." Think of "fetch" as being a release command.
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Re: Pointing Crippled Duck in Shallow Marsh

Postby Densa44 » Thu Sep 17, 2020 4:53 pm

I wouldn't encourage this sort of thing at all. First you, don't send the dog for a lively cripple if you have a chance to kill the duck first.
Could you see the downed duck? Was this a duck search? She should pick up a cripple, no questions asked, experience helps here a lot.
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Re: Pointing Crippled Duck in Shallow Marsh

Postby Dmog » Thu Sep 17, 2020 6:28 pm

Could not see the cripple. Went down in duckweed and dead cat tails. Not thick stuff but enough that you couldn’t see the Teal until you got up on it. It had to have walked about 2-3 yards out of the water to get where it was at.

I would say it became a duck search as soon as she over ran the mark and went into search mode.
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Re: Pointing Crippled Duck in Shallow Marsh

Postby Densa44 » Wed Sep 23, 2020 12:20 pm

I don't think that my advice was as helpful as it could have been, I'll try again. Retriever guys have all kinds of experience with live birds,cripples or not, dogs are often "forced" on live ducks, Vdogs don't get the same training.

Here are 2 ways that I have tried, both worked but decide for yourself. First I sent the dog in the picture here with her mother for a crippled mallard drake, the idea being that the older dog would pick up the cripple and the younger dog would want to compete for the bird. I got the drake back in 2 pieces, both dogs got their UT 1 and both retrieved the live duck.

The second method that I tried when I didn't have an older dog to help with the lesson, I took her duck hunting and searched the rushes for cripples. Here in Alberta we have lots and lots of ducks and not that many hunters, many without dogs, so there are lots of cripples after opening day. I just put her in the weeds and mother nature did the rest.

I'm sorry that he advice isn't better but its the best I could do. Lots of duck hunting will cure this, easy for me to say in Alberta. Wish you were here.
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Re: Pointing Crippled Duck in Shallow Marsh

Postby ryanr » Mon Sep 28, 2020 10:32 am

Give her the opportunity to figure it or just give the Fetch command? You're really not asking her to relocate on a pointed bird (that you can't find), your asking her to fetch the (stationary) cripple. She's a young dog too, I think she would have worked it out if you let her. I know when we do duck search training it's not uncommon for some dogs to point the duck first if it's motionless and we tend to let them figure it out (or eventually give them a Fetch.) Just my thought.
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Re: Pointing Crippled Duck in Shallow Marsh

Postby Willie T » Mon Sep 28, 2020 12:02 pm

A consistent mark, hunt dead, or fetch command on the send in training that cues the what it is doing, then overlaid with the gun, combined with experience will square things away. That is normal for a young pointing dog that is still sorting things out and I would not sweat it.
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Re: Pointing Crippled Duck in Shallow Marsh

Postby Kiger2 » Mon Sep 28, 2020 10:58 pm

DMOG,
I think Ryan, Willie, and Orhunter are all on the right track. "Fetch". We ret guys train "Fetch" because we know we NEED it.

But lets get a bit further in the weeds. We spend tons of time whether its launchers, wild birds etc.. to get pup to hold at first scent of a bird, not to rush in.

So you send pup ( a pointer) on a marked bird. He missed the mark and had to hunt, thats what a good retrieving dog should do. So he finds the CRIPPLED bird and points. So what is he thinking? What is his nose telling him? How does a dog know a bird is crippled or not? Is there a smell of blood, some other scent? Is this a duck only issue or likely to present with a crippled chukar? (Ive seen that happen),.

Since I suspect that no one here can tell me what exactly the dog smells we have to assume that the dog was doing his job. He was looking for a downed bird and found one he thought should be pointed as to training and not retrieved. . No fault on his part. what did he smell??.

I think we should look at the difference between , "releasing" to relocate or commanding to "fetch". Certainly a significant difference.

But also a compelling reason to "fetch" on all game birds we expect to encounter and expect to retrieve. Its a tool in the tool box.
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