Crowding Birds

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Crowding Birds

Postby Buck Dancer » Sat Apr 24, 2021 12:19 pm

While grouse hunting with my 2 year old PP last season grouse hunting he got in the habit of crowding them causing some surprise flushes.

I am working with pigeon and quail in launchers to get him to point a first sent. He is getting much better but will need to find out if my training working when we get on wild birds later this year.

I wish I lived in an area with plenty of wild quail, I think it would be easy to spot him starting to crowd in open grassland and work on the problem live. With grouse, it is hard to keep eyes on the dog and by the time I realized he was crowding the grouse was in the air.

No real question, I think I read everything possible on this issue. I may take a roadtrip to Idaho or Montana to get him on wild quail this year or next.

I used to have a lab that I used for grouse hunting. When he caught scent of a grouse he would work that scent long and slow enough to see him and get in position to shoot before he flushed it. My PP hunts much faster.
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Re: Crowding Birds

Postby GONEHUNTIN' » Sat Apr 24, 2021 4:22 pm

Be aware that working birds in a field and working in the woods are or can be, two very different animals. It's almost as if the dog's know you can't see them in the woods. I also think it's more of a problem with many of the Versatiles because of their desire to retrieve. I doubt working in the open country will help much. I'd start by planting launchers IN THE WOODS and see if that helps. If it doesn't, I know of no cure other than a ton of work on wild grouse on woodcock. It is not an uncommon problem.
I just hate seeing birds die of natural causes unless I'm that natural cause.
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Re: Crowding Birds

Postby bwjohn » Sat Apr 24, 2021 9:54 pm

I maybe wrong, but MT would not be my first choice for wild quail, plenty if other birds.

Also depends on what quail species you are looking for, but in general i would stay southern ne or further south.

I guess id could have some california quail, but not the top state. Further south on that side of the rockies as well.

Good luck with the training brandon
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Re: Crowding Birds

Postby Willie T » Sun Apr 25, 2021 9:55 am

Buck Dancer wrote:While grouse hunting with my 2 year old PP last season grouse hunting he got in the habit of crowding them causing some surprise flushes.

I am working with pigeon and quail in launchers to get him to point a first sent. He is getting much better but will need to find out if my training working when we get on wild birds later this year.

I wish I lived in an area with plenty of wild quail, I think it would be easy to spot him starting to crowd in open grassland and work on the problem live. With grouse, it is hard to keep eyes on the dog and by the time I realized he was crowding the grouse was in the air.

No real question, I think I read everything possible on this issue. I may take a roadtrip to Idaho or Montana to get him on wild quail this year or next.

I used to have a lab that I used for grouse hunting. When he caught scent of a grouse he would work that scent long and slow enough to see him and get in position to shoot before he flushed it. My PP hunts much faster.


Buck, there will be some that disagree with me but here are some of my thoughts. Too much work with launchers has contributed to more than one dog with a tendency to crowd wild birds that move. Nothing teaches a dog to handle wild birds like handling wild birds. If you are shooting at birds the dog crowds and busts, it will get worse. Letting the birds fly that the dog busts and not missing the ones the dog sticks is the path. Hunt the hair off your dog. It takes birds to make a bird dog. Experience is what the dog is getting when things don’t go the way you want them to.
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Re: Crowding Birds

Postby AverageGuy » Mon Apr 26, 2021 12:58 pm

Proper use of Launchers and strong flying birds is the perfect training for keeping a pup from roading in too close to a bird. Especially now when running a pup on wild birds is poor form during nesting season and in many places illegal.

Key is to use them properly, which includes foremost launching the bird the instant the dog hits the scent cone. Too many inexperienced trainers want to see their pups point so bad they let them take a few steps into the scent cone. That is anti-training.

Second, move your setups to new areas regularly to keep the dog honest and searching. As the pup gains experience include some dry runs as well as do not immediately steer the pup into your planted birds but rather let them run and search awhile before walking towards where your birds are planted.

Third, make sure you leave no downwind boot or ATV scent trails when setting out your birds.

Done right launchers allow a trainer to control the situation while giving a bird presentation that closely mimics a wild bird's behavior if a dog follows its nose into the scent cone instead of hitting it's point hard and remaining staunch.

I have gotten numerous pups pointing at some very impressive distances off the bird using launchers in this manner.

I would add some stop to flush training as well, as some pups get rewarded by chasing birds they bump and so training them to stop to flush takes away that reward.

Enough reps in training combined with only shooting birds done right while hunting (consistent with WIllie T's advice) should help the pup connect the dots as to what succeeds and what doesn't.
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Re: Crowding Birds

Postby Buck Dancer » Tue Apr 27, 2021 10:53 am

Willie T wrote:not missing the ones the dog sticks is the path.


Yes, hitting the ones pointed properly easier said than done! I plan on doing more self training at the trap shooting range this summer so I can do my part of the process.


AverageGuy wrote:Second, move your setups to new areas regularly to keep the dog honest and searching. As the pup gains experience include some dry runs as well as do not immediately steer the pup into your planted birds but rather let them run and search awhile before walking towards where your birds are planted.


This is a good point. I am finding my issue, even though I live in outside the suburbs with lots of open farmland around me that there is very little cover to plant birds even if I got permission to train. Any open land is planted.

I am going to do more setups in the woods which is more plentiful around me.
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Re: Crowding Birds

Postby Willie T » Tue Apr 27, 2021 12:01 pm

Buck Dancer wrote:
Willie T wrote:not missing the ones the dog sticks is the path.


Yes, hitting the ones pointed properly easier said than done! I plan on doing more self training at the trap shooting range this summer so I can do my part of the process.


You hear a lot of discussion regarding cooperation on the part of the dog. Cooperation is a two way street and there has to be something in it for the dog. Without exception, the handler of every really nice bird dog I have hunted behind has been an above average wing shooter. The dog believing the handler will reward it with a retrieve when it sticks its birds is a vital part of the bond that forms when the dog commits to hunting for the gun.
For me the best game to practice for wing shooting over a pointing dog is low gun skeet. Hopefully you have a local gun club where you can dial in your skills in the off-season. Ruffed grouse and woodcock in the woods will challenge wing shooters of all levels.
All the best to you and your dog.
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Re: Crowding Birds

Postby Spindog » Mon May 03, 2021 11:34 am

It takes very little pressure to flush a Ruffed Grouse. If he is pointing trapped birds his only issue is inexperience. More wild grouse is the solution. :multi:
I think it pisses off the dog more than it pisses off the hunter when wild Grouse figures things out early in the game.
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