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Question by Ontario Honker .... Uploaded on November 19, 2012
What's the question?
I think what he's getting at is, should the Ringneck Pheasant be considered dangerous game?????
Yesterday I found a little piece of heaven in the back end of a place I have been hunting for quite a while. It's a series of irrigation ditches running through a rancher's hay fields. What makes this turf special is that 1) the cattle haven't wrecked the ditches and fence line cover. Still full of cattails and rushes. And 2) no other hunters seem to have discovered it. Including me and I have been hunting this fella's place for five years. Anyway, it's perfect for my little Brittany pup (1.5 years) so I pulled the labs in close and let her work. Wow! Those ditches were full of birds and they held nicely for Coral. She's really getting the hang of this pointing game. Her championship stock is finally starting to shine through. She held one rooster on point for a good two minutes before I kicked the labs loose. At first they honored her point and I had a heck of a time getting someone to push up the bird. Finally up goes the squawker and I let him get out there a ways so I didn't blow him to pieces. Waited a bit too long though. Down he went, bounced once, and immediately took off for the ditch. Opal was right on it and I couldn't get a shot (always kill a runner if you can - don't count on even a great dog to pick up a cripple pheasant!). Figured she was so close (two feet) she'd have him immediately. Nope! Too many birds had been working through the ditch. All three dogs combed through the spot to no avail. Figured that rooster must have headed back down the ditch the other direction so I worked the dogs that way. Nothing very exciting turned up. But where's Coral? About that time another rooster shoots up from where the cripple went in but I was not in a position to get a shot. Figured the little stinker had him nailed in there and she'd be coming along shortly. Kept working the labs but they couldn't come up with anything. Still no Coral so I called the labs in and waited and watched. Total silence. Hmmmm. Eventually I saw the tulies rustle a bit in the same spot where that rooster disappeared. I walked back and put the labs in there but they came up dry again. Double hmmm. Tulies rustle a bit again. Okay, I climbed down into the ditch with the labs. There was Coral crouched down in the middle of that mess rock solid. Wouldn't move at all. I pushed the labs in to her and sure enough they both went birdy and started snuffling and snorting. Still nothing. I dug through the tulies till I could see a couple of tail feathers and a leg sticking out of a hole. Now why didn't the labs get it out of there? I reached down, grabbed the leg and pulled him out. Ouch! That sonoffabich raked me with the spur on his free leg! And not much of a spur either - he was just this year's bird. Put a helluva nasty gash in my thumb. Guess I know what the hold up with the dogs was all about. They were getting kicked too. I was bleeding like a stuck pig. Washed it off with a handful of snow and pulled a mitt out of my game bag. Best I could do. Sure wasn't going to stop hunting this honey hole with just one bird! We worked our way up to the end of the ditch and Coral made four more beautiful points, all hens. Opal came uncomfortably close to grabbing one of them. Blood finally stopped seeping through the mitt so I figured I was going to live although my whole hand was starting to throb. Fortunately it was not my shooting hand. We headed back down the same ditch and darned if the little stinker didn't go rock solid AGAIN in the same area where we had just picked up jack the ripper. I pulled the labs in next to me and waited for the bird to jump (I was only ten feet away) but no one would blink down there. Finally kicked the labs loose. Opal hit the bird's scent and went the wrong way. Pearl, who is less impulsive and more methodical, figured out Coral had something, went around the other side of the ditch, and came in from that direction. All the time Coral is holding still as a statue. Finally the bird tries to climb out of there. Oops. It waited too long. What a relief to see Pearl walk out with a fine rooster (instead of a hen)! Poor old girl has really been getting gypped this season. About an hour later we worked our way back in from another direction (also never hunted before) and easily took the last rooster for my limit in about ten minutes. Could have shot two more as we returned to the road. The birds are really holding nicely in that stuff. Perfect for the little pointer. Nice to have some open shots with no wind and above freezing temps - for a change. Also great to be hunting terrain that hasn't been pulverized by the cattle. Ugh! Boy that uneven stuff wears you out in a hurry! We had to walk about a mile just after dark down the road to where the vehicle was parked. It was a beautiful evening! A large swirled cloud formation spread across the western sky and a lovely alpenglow lit up the buttes in the east. Crescent moon was already up. And the dogs kept kicking up birds, even in the ditch along the road. The epitome of near perfect day. Wish all of you could have been there.
Although it appears you really had a great day, I don't think it's a good idea to let the labs bust the birds in front of a pointing dog. I'd be afraid the Brittany would become a creeper, and would soon be busting her own birds and become a chaser.. JMHO.
BTW, I've always hung bells on the collars of my pointers to help keep track of their whereabouts.
99explorer: I have a bell for Coral but elected to take it off. It kept getting fouled with snow for one thing. Also, the birds have been real spooky and it's been tough for her to get the creep on them while wearing a bell. She's had a lot better luck without it.
You're right about letting the labs bust the birds over her. However, I never really cared if she turned out to be a flusher or a pointer. She's still not retrieving but I'm not real upset with that either since I'll have adequate retrievers for some time. I'm quite sure it will come to her in time.
Here's the curious thing. Coral started hunting BEHIND my labs! She has developed her pointing skills in spite of "learning" the ropes of hunting from flushers. It's really quite amazing. She'll break when the bird flushes but I don't have a problem with that. I can call her back immediately if I want and I usually do in case there's more than one bird in the area. Anyway, SHE prefers to point so I don't think there's much chance of the other dogs' "bad habits" ruining her or she never would have started pointing in the first place. Coral seems to be quite remarkable (should be for the price paid!). Of course, my experience with accessing pointing dogs is almost nil.
Sorry, that should be assessing not "accessing".
ive been hunting pheasants for a long time, and i feel like your dogs catch an abnormal amount of them before they flush. granted all of my hunting has been over a pointer, not flushers.
but to your point about birds being dangerous game. i shot a turkey with my bow last fall while deer hunting in the evening. i felt like i hit him well and saw the brush pile he crawled into and never came out of, so i finished the sit. at dark i climbed out of the tree and went to the brush with my flashlight. bird crawled way up in there and from what i could tell was dead. put the flashlight in my mouth, got on my stomach and crawled in. when i went to grab him, that sucker kicked and got me real good a few times before i could get a good hold of him.
My word...you need to put in an index if you're going to make a post that long. I graduated from college, and never read that much in 4 yrs. And no, don't let flushers bust in on a pointer!..if that happened. I don't hunt my flushers with my friends Brittanies because of that.
And flushers that capture pheasants before they fly?..not mine, and another plus for an e-collar. I couldn't live with my dogs killing hens.
Opal has caught six pheasants this year and Pearl caught just the one. I believe that's the only pheasant Pearl has ever caught. None of the birds were crippled. It is not highly "abnormal" for flushing dogs to catch pheasants, especially in heavy cover. Opal has always had a passion and intensity for upland hunting and she's quite quick. Pearl, on the other hand, is all about waterfowl. She's much more methodical and "accurate" when working in the field. She's actually a better dog to have working behind Coral.
I wouldn't think that a "properly" trained pointing dog would be likely to catch uplands. Their instinct is to hold the bird whereas a flusher's instinct is to get it as quickly as possible.
Clinchknot, you obtained a college degree and never read that much? Doesn't surprise me. I have taught at the university level and understand all too well the push these days to sell diplomas rather than education. If you don't care for reading a long post, then skip it. I do my best to make them interesting and worthwhile.
I think I have answered your concerns about my flushers possibly ruining my pointing dog. Your flushers don't regularly hunt with your friend's Brittany and I wouldn't do that either if I were you. My dogs have been trained, or rather they have learned, to work together. If my Brittany is on point in some Russian olive jungle or willow thicket, I'd much rather the flushers get in there and kick it out than me. No shots to be had floundering around in that crap! Or sliding down the side of a drainage ditch.
So you think you can zap a flushing dog's e-collar before it grabs a pheasant in thick stuff? Perhaps the Avengers should be recruiting you! X-Ray vision AND Flash reaction time! Wow! Clinch, I think you have just elucidated your lack of expertise and/or experience with upland hunting dogs. Perhaps you need to spend more time in the outdoors and less time watching the "experts" on outdoors TV shows. Obviously you're not getting your information from training literature, given your aversion to reading anything with more than a dozen syllables per paragraph.
It's interesting that in another thread you condemned me for chewing my dog's ass when it fails to return to the whistle instead of zapping it at the moment of infraction. According to you that is supposed to somehow put a damper on the pup's enthusiasm to hunt. But zapping the poor flusher when it's upon a bird is just fine? What the hell kind of message is that supposed to send? Flushers catching hens is and always has been acceptable, albeit undesirable, collateral damage in this business. Perhaps someone out there has perfected a way to train dogs to discern between hens and roosters but I haven't heard about it yet.
It's interesting that in another thread you condemned me for chewing my dog's ass when it fails to return to the whistle instead of zapping it at the moment of infraction. According to you that is supposed to somehow put a damper on the pup's enthusiasm to hunt. But zapping the poor flusher when it's upon a bird is just fine? What the hell kind of message is that supposed to send? Flushers catching hens is and always has been acceptable, albeit undesirable, collateral damage in this business. Perhaps someone out there has perfected a way to train dogs to discern between hens and roosters but I haven't heard about it yet
No, I don't zap them before they grab a pheasant in cover. Just forgunate, I guess that the old guy never has, and hunts slow while the young female chocolate roams back and forth fast, but then steadies, and virtually goes on point before the flush. And my buddies Brittanies move in on one of the other's points, and doesn't honor it causing him to only hunt the young one that hasn't performed well by itself yet. But he uses several E-collars on his Brittanies, one for long range location. Wouldn't be without my e-collars. Don't leave home without them.
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