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Are Bird Dog Owners More Willing and Reliable Non-Resident Hunters?

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August 31, 2012

Are Bird Dog Owners More Willing and Reliable Non-Resident Hunters?

By Chad Love

I like most of you, will kick off the fall wingshooting season tomorrow with my home state's dove opener, and then I'm looking forward to an upcoming bird hunting trip to Nebraska and Montana. While I haven't been on an out-of-state big-game hunting trip in (literally) years, I do a fair amount of bird hunting each year outside my home state, and I am not alone. In fact, most of my bird-hunting friends plan multiple out-of-state hunting trips every year.

This year, with local bird numbers down, it seems everyone I know is planning at least one trip to Montana or the Dakotas, and many local quail hunters have become quite fond of Idaho's fantastic and somewhat unheralded bird hunting. Which is why a news item in today's Field Notes about declining non-resident hunter numbers in the states of Idaho and Montana, along with another news item about an upswing in pheasant brood counts in South Dakota got me to wondering: are bird hunters more willing and more reliable out-of-state travelers than big-game hunters? Personally, I'm inclined to think so, and here are my off-the-cuff, poorly though-out reasons why.

* Most bird hunters own dogs, and have an extremely vested and keen interest in seeing those dogs get on birds. Dogs are a large and time-consuming year-round commitment/obsession, and I don't know a single bird hunter who isn't willing to travel to make that happen. A rifle is just a rifle. If you can't hunt that year, well, just throw the damn thing back in the gun cabinet. You can't do that with a dog.

* Out-of-state bird hunting is so much, for lack of a better term, easier logistically, than big-game hunting. For the most part there are no lotteries or draws, no "must hunt with a guide" requirements (except on some Native American reservations) and (at least compared to most big-game regs) no Byzantine set of rules, regulations, restrictions and caveats to contend with. You simply buy an over-the-counter license/stamp/tag, make sure you know the regs and then go hunting.

* Bird hunting, even out-of-state bird hunting, is a whole lot cheaper than big-game hunting. A non-resident general hunting license in Kansas, where I do the majority of my out-of-state hunting, costs $72.50. In Nebraska and Montana, where I'll be in a few weeks, it's $81 and $110.

* Bird hunting is, generally, depending on when and where you go, much less crowded and lasts much longer than most states' big-game seasons. This gives the traveling hunter much greater flexibility in when they choose to go.

* Although bird hunting is never a sure thing, even in down years you'll probably get your dogs into birds, and maybe even shoot a few, as opposed to dropping three or four grand on a big-game hunt, sitting in a blind for a week and seeing nothing but boredom-induced visions of how badly this "fun" is draining your bank account.

* Bird hunting is much more flexible for the non-resident hunter than big-game hunting. Often, if you're hunting big game you are legally or logistically tied to one area. Bird hunters, however, are more nomadic. If we're not finding birds, we'll simply pack up and move somewhere else. It's a great way to explore new country.

Agree? Disagree? Any other ways or reasons why you think (or don't think) non-resident upland bird hunters are more inclined to travel, even in bad years, than big-game hunters? And I need to add, since this is a gundogs blog, that my generalizations about bird hunters apply mostly to gundog-owning bird hunters. It's just my opinon, but I think dogless bird hunters are much less motivated to travel than those of us who own dogs. In my mind, our dogs are the catalyst for everything we do. But what about you? Are you more inclined to take an out-of-state bird hunting trip or a big-game hunt? Do you have any of either planned this season?

Comments (8)

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from Mark-1 wrote 1 year 33 weeks ago

May be a mute issue. As I write,Gas in NYS: $4/gal.

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from SD Bob wrote 1 year 33 weeks ago

I'm not inclined to travel out of state because my home here in South Dakota offers so much but I do agree with what's being said. I would add though that success doesn't mean your done hunting. Shoot a buck or a doe and you may be done for the year? Shoot a limit of pheasants or sharp tails and you can still go tomorrow.

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from Ontario Honker ... wrote 1 year 32 weeks ago

I bird hunt extensively every year in Montana. Chad, you are wrong. There are ten times more out of state big game hunters! At least. The bit about balancing a dog against a big game rifle is a bit too simplistic. Do you really think that's all these big game guys show up with is a rifle? Pffffft. Let's see ... ATV, tip out camper trailer, dozens of calls, decoys, tree stands, etc., etc. Those guys have a lot more crap than just a dog or gun to show off to their fellow hunters.

My brother comes over from the west side of the state to hunt birds with me every year. He brings his rifle and on the last day he fills his deer tag. Sometimes it's still somewhat limber by the time he gets back home five hours later. Doe or buck he doesn't care. They taste the same. Nothing to get excited about. "Um, Mike, that one on the right looks a bit bigger than the others. What do you think?" "Yeah, I guess so. Okay." Bang. It's done with. If we can get it loaded up maybe there'll be time to get in a bit more bird hunting before he has to leave. It's just business. After nearly fifty years of the same old thing there's nothing real exciting about it. But watching those dogs work and having them push up a couple of roosters after they have been onto them for five minutes. Now THAT's exciting. It never gets old. Those antler hunters don't have a clue and I hope they never get one either. I have seen the moose hunting literally exploited to death in NW Ontario over the last twenty years. There's no moose left but year after year the crowds keep coming. And growing! I don't want to see that happen to bird hunting. The thing we really have working in our favor is it's so very hard to put together an "exciting" bird hunting TV show. Even the canned hunts with stupid farmed birds just don't do bird hunting justice. As long as there's no money in it for Wall Street, I think our sport is safe.

Been there and done the big game thing. Glad to leave it behind. And all its slobby commercialization.

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from Ontario Honker ... wrote 1 year 32 weeks ago

Chad, avoid Williston, ND at all costs. Highway 2 is being rebuilt through town and it's bottle necked down to two lanes. I just went through at two a.m. and it was a pain. During the day when all those oil field trucks are on the road it's gotta be a real nightmare! I have also heard some real horror stories about tons of alien oil field slob hunters within a two hundred mile radius of the oil patch. Minot west to Glasgow, MT and south to Sydney, MT is the country to avoid. Again, those guys focus mostly on big game so it affects us less. Most of the bird hunting down around Sydney has been leased up or hogged by non-resident encroachment for years anyway.

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from palenskecc wrote 1 year 31 weeks ago

Rorry's Story
Our dog went missing on Monday September 10th, 2012. She was with one of her daughters that is a little over a year old they are both labs one chocolate the mom who's name was Rorry and one black who's name is Riley. We live on Dam Rd in Delavan, Wi. most our family lives here and has labs and most people on our road have dogs, sometimes they run and pay visits to neighbors but always come home. This day was different Riley came home but Rorry was still missing my husband looked for hours friends started helping the longer she didn't return, neighbors started helping, family as well, reports where filed we were doing everything we could. The search continued through the night on to Tuesday and Tuesday night. Wednesday flyers were faxed to all surrounding police stations and animal shelters, www.findingtoto.com set out over 1200 phone calls to people in our area describing our little girl. This is what lead to a phone call to my husband stating information on Rorry. There is a man on County Rd. P in Delavan that shot our baby girl Monday morning because he thought his chickens where in danger and she looked like she was mixed with pit bull. This man and his neighbors received flyers with my husbands and my telephone numbers on it but yet couldn't have the respect to call us and let us know what happened. Instead they let days go by with searches non stop,wondering and worry running though our heart. Our baby girl was only 3 years old, she brought 18 wonderful pups into this world, was registered with AKC for being a purebred Labrador retriever, she slept in our bed nightly, shared our food, rode in our cars, went on vacation with us, she knew when we were sick, sad, mad, happy and scared. She was apart of a loving family that treated her as a child. For those of you that know Tim and I or any of the Palenske's know that our dogs are always with us, they come first in our lives. This man intentionally shot our baby because he feared for his chickens who don't sleep in his bed, who don't have names, who don't open Christmas and birthday presents. We have our baby girl now buried in our yard and have to live with the fact that there are cold heartless people in this world and could do this, she was not a wild mangy dog she had a collar on and it was apparent she recently had puppy's. Were not doing this so people hate this man but we want him to understand what he took from us, apart of our family. Also because we don't want other family's to go though what we have. We are aware of other dogs in the area that have went missing and never been found please don't stop your search if anything contact the sheriffs department to see if something like this has happened to your dog if there tags weren't on there collar they don't know who to contact but they at least have them humanly buried. I will thank this man for at least having the slightest dignity to have told people so we could track her down and bring her home. This will never leave our hearts and there will never be enough justice for what has been done. We want to thank everyone that helped search for Rorry sincerely for all your help that you volunteered it truly means the world to us and we don't know how we could ever repay you. For the man on County Rd. P who did this to our family I hope you read this and keep this in your heart so the next time a "dog" comes into your yard you think twice before pulling that trigger and taking away another life. Tim, Laura, Ruger(Yellow Lab) and Riley(Black Lab) Palenske
Forever in our hearts and will never be forgotten Rorry Palenske may she rest in peace.

(Please Print This Story In Memory of Rorry Palenske of Delavan, WI)

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from palenskecc wrote 1 year 31 weeks ago

Rorry's Story
Our dog went missing on Monday September 10th, 2012. She was with one of her daughters that is a little over a year old they are both labs one chocolate the mom who's name was Rorry and one black who's name is Riley. We live on Dam Rd in Delavan, Wi. most our family lives here and has labs and most people on our road have dogs, sometimes they run and pay visits to neighbors but always come home. This day was different Riley came home but Rorry was still missing my husband looked for hours friends started helping the longer she didn't return, neighbors started helping, family as well, reports where filed we were doing everything we could. The search continued through the night on to Tuesday and Tuesday night. Wednesday flyers were faxed to all surrounding police stations and animal shelters, www.findingtoto.com set out over 1200 phone calls to people in our area describing our little girl. This is what lead to a phone call to my husband stating information on Rorry. There is a man on County Rd. P in Delavan that shot our baby girl Monday morning because he thought his chickens where in danger and she looked like she was mixed with pit bull. This man and his neighbors received flyers with my husbands and my telephone numbers on it but yet couldn't have the respect to call us and let us know what happened. Instead they let days go by with searches non stop,wondering and worry running though our heart. Our baby girl was only 3 years old, she brought 18 wonderful pups into this world, was registered with AKC for being a purebred Labrador retriever, she slept in our bed nightly, shared our food, rode in our cars, went on vacation with us, she knew when we were sick, sad, mad, happy and scared. She was apart of a loving family that treated her as a child. For those of you that know Tim and I or any of the Palenske's know that our dogs are always with us, they come first in our lives. This man intentionally shot our baby because he feared for his chickens who don't sleep in his bed, who don't have names, who don't open Christmas and birthday presents. We have our baby girl now buried in our yard and have to live with the fact that there are cold heartless people in this world and could do this, she was not a wild mangy dog she had a collar on and it was apparent she recently had puppy's. Were not doing this so people hate this man but we want him to understand what he took from us, apart of our family. Also because we don't want other family's to go though what we have. We are aware of other dogs in the area that have went missing and never been found please don't stop your search if anything contact the sheriffs department to see if something like this has happened to your dog if there tags weren't on there collar they don't know who to contact but they at least have them humanly buried. I will thank this man for at least having the slightest dignity to have told people so we could track her down and bring her home. This will never leave our hearts and there will never be enough justice for what has been done. We want to thank everyone that helped search for Rorry sincerely for all your help that you volunteered it truly means the world to us and we don't know how we could ever repay you. For the man on County Rd. P who did this to our family I hope you read this and keep this in your heart so the next time a "dog" comes into your yard you think twice before pulling that trigger and taking away another life. Tim, Laura, Ruger(Yellow Lab) and Riley(Black Lab) Palenske
Forever in our hearts and will never be forgotten Rorry Palenske may she rest in peace.

(Please Print This Story In Memory of Rorry Palenske of Delavan, WI)

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from chadlove wrote 1 year 31 weeks ago

Thanks for the info, OH. I've heard about the crazy boom up there. I live in OKlahoma so were having the same thing on a smaller scale. Fortunately I'll be in the Lewistown area so I should be OK...

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from chadlove wrote 1 year 31 weeks ago

Geez, I need to edit before I hit submit...should read "we're"...

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from SD Bob wrote 1 year 33 weeks ago

I'm not inclined to travel out of state because my home here in South Dakota offers so much but I do agree with what's being said. I would add though that success doesn't mean your done hunting. Shoot a buck or a doe and you may be done for the year? Shoot a limit of pheasants or sharp tails and you can still go tomorrow.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from Mark-1 wrote 1 year 33 weeks ago

May be a mute issue. As I write,Gas in NYS: $4/gal.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Ontario Honker ... wrote 1 year 32 weeks ago

I bird hunt extensively every year in Montana. Chad, you are wrong. There are ten times more out of state big game hunters! At least. The bit about balancing a dog against a big game rifle is a bit too simplistic. Do you really think that's all these big game guys show up with is a rifle? Pffffft. Let's see ... ATV, tip out camper trailer, dozens of calls, decoys, tree stands, etc., etc. Those guys have a lot more crap than just a dog or gun to show off to their fellow hunters.

My brother comes over from the west side of the state to hunt birds with me every year. He brings his rifle and on the last day he fills his deer tag. Sometimes it's still somewhat limber by the time he gets back home five hours later. Doe or buck he doesn't care. They taste the same. Nothing to get excited about. "Um, Mike, that one on the right looks a bit bigger than the others. What do you think?" "Yeah, I guess so. Okay." Bang. It's done with. If we can get it loaded up maybe there'll be time to get in a bit more bird hunting before he has to leave. It's just business. After nearly fifty years of the same old thing there's nothing real exciting about it. But watching those dogs work and having them push up a couple of roosters after they have been onto them for five minutes. Now THAT's exciting. It never gets old. Those antler hunters don't have a clue and I hope they never get one either. I have seen the moose hunting literally exploited to death in NW Ontario over the last twenty years. There's no moose left but year after year the crowds keep coming. And growing! I don't want to see that happen to bird hunting. The thing we really have working in our favor is it's so very hard to put together an "exciting" bird hunting TV show. Even the canned hunts with stupid farmed birds just don't do bird hunting justice. As long as there's no money in it for Wall Street, I think our sport is safe.

Been there and done the big game thing. Glad to leave it behind. And all its slobby commercialization.

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from Ontario Honker ... wrote 1 year 32 weeks ago

Chad, avoid Williston, ND at all costs. Highway 2 is being rebuilt through town and it's bottle necked down to two lanes. I just went through at two a.m. and it was a pain. During the day when all those oil field trucks are on the road it's gotta be a real nightmare! I have also heard some real horror stories about tons of alien oil field slob hunters within a two hundred mile radius of the oil patch. Minot west to Glasgow, MT and south to Sydney, MT is the country to avoid. Again, those guys focus mostly on big game so it affects us less. Most of the bird hunting down around Sydney has been leased up or hogged by non-resident encroachment for years anyway.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from palenskecc wrote 1 year 31 weeks ago

Rorry's Story
Our dog went missing on Monday September 10th, 2012. She was with one of her daughters that is a little over a year old they are both labs one chocolate the mom who's name was Rorry and one black who's name is Riley. We live on Dam Rd in Delavan, Wi. most our family lives here and has labs and most people on our road have dogs, sometimes they run and pay visits to neighbors but always come home. This day was different Riley came home but Rorry was still missing my husband looked for hours friends started helping the longer she didn't return, neighbors started helping, family as well, reports where filed we were doing everything we could. The search continued through the night on to Tuesday and Tuesday night. Wednesday flyers were faxed to all surrounding police stations and animal shelters, www.findingtoto.com set out over 1200 phone calls to people in our area describing our little girl. This is what lead to a phone call to my husband stating information on Rorry. There is a man on County Rd. P in Delavan that shot our baby girl Monday morning because he thought his chickens where in danger and she looked like she was mixed with pit bull. This man and his neighbors received flyers with my husbands and my telephone numbers on it but yet couldn't have the respect to call us and let us know what happened. Instead they let days go by with searches non stop,wondering and worry running though our heart. Our baby girl was only 3 years old, she brought 18 wonderful pups into this world, was registered with AKC for being a purebred Labrador retriever, she slept in our bed nightly, shared our food, rode in our cars, went on vacation with us, she knew when we were sick, sad, mad, happy and scared. She was apart of a loving family that treated her as a child. For those of you that know Tim and I or any of the Palenske's know that our dogs are always with us, they come first in our lives. This man intentionally shot our baby because he feared for his chickens who don't sleep in his bed, who don't have names, who don't open Christmas and birthday presents. We have our baby girl now buried in our yard and have to live with the fact that there are cold heartless people in this world and could do this, she was not a wild mangy dog she had a collar on and it was apparent she recently had puppy's. Were not doing this so people hate this man but we want him to understand what he took from us, apart of our family. Also because we don't want other family's to go though what we have. We are aware of other dogs in the area that have went missing and never been found please don't stop your search if anything contact the sheriffs department to see if something like this has happened to your dog if there tags weren't on there collar they don't know who to contact but they at least have them humanly buried. I will thank this man for at least having the slightest dignity to have told people so we could track her down and bring her home. This will never leave our hearts and there will never be enough justice for what has been done. We want to thank everyone that helped search for Rorry sincerely for all your help that you volunteered it truly means the world to us and we don't know how we could ever repay you. For the man on County Rd. P who did this to our family I hope you read this and keep this in your heart so the next time a "dog" comes into your yard you think twice before pulling that trigger and taking away another life. Tim, Laura, Ruger(Yellow Lab) and Riley(Black Lab) Palenske
Forever in our hearts and will never be forgotten Rorry Palenske may she rest in peace.

(Please Print This Story In Memory of Rorry Palenske of Delavan, WI)

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from palenskecc wrote 1 year 31 weeks ago

Rorry's Story
Our dog went missing on Monday September 10th, 2012. She was with one of her daughters that is a little over a year old they are both labs one chocolate the mom who's name was Rorry and one black who's name is Riley. We live on Dam Rd in Delavan, Wi. most our family lives here and has labs and most people on our road have dogs, sometimes they run and pay visits to neighbors but always come home. This day was different Riley came home but Rorry was still missing my husband looked for hours friends started helping the longer she didn't return, neighbors started helping, family as well, reports where filed we were doing everything we could. The search continued through the night on to Tuesday and Tuesday night. Wednesday flyers were faxed to all surrounding police stations and animal shelters, www.findingtoto.com set out over 1200 phone calls to people in our area describing our little girl. This is what lead to a phone call to my husband stating information on Rorry. There is a man on County Rd. P in Delavan that shot our baby girl Monday morning because he thought his chickens where in danger and she looked like she was mixed with pit bull. This man and his neighbors received flyers with my husbands and my telephone numbers on it but yet couldn't have the respect to call us and let us know what happened. Instead they let days go by with searches non stop,wondering and worry running though our heart. Our baby girl was only 3 years old, she brought 18 wonderful pups into this world, was registered with AKC for being a purebred Labrador retriever, she slept in our bed nightly, shared our food, rode in our cars, went on vacation with us, she knew when we were sick, sad, mad, happy and scared. She was apart of a loving family that treated her as a child. For those of you that know Tim and I or any of the Palenske's know that our dogs are always with us, they come first in our lives. This man intentionally shot our baby because he feared for his chickens who don't sleep in his bed, who don't have names, who don't open Christmas and birthday presents. We have our baby girl now buried in our yard and have to live with the fact that there are cold heartless people in this world and could do this, she was not a wild mangy dog she had a collar on and it was apparent she recently had puppy's. Were not doing this so people hate this man but we want him to understand what he took from us, apart of our family. Also because we don't want other family's to go though what we have. We are aware of other dogs in the area that have went missing and never been found please don't stop your search if anything contact the sheriffs department to see if something like this has happened to your dog if there tags weren't on there collar they don't know who to contact but they at least have them humanly buried. I will thank this man for at least having the slightest dignity to have told people so we could track her down and bring her home. This will never leave our hearts and there will never be enough justice for what has been done. We want to thank everyone that helped search for Rorry sincerely for all your help that you volunteered it truly means the world to us and we don't know how we could ever repay you. For the man on County Rd. P who did this to our family I hope you read this and keep this in your heart so the next time a "dog" comes into your yard you think twice before pulling that trigger and taking away another life. Tim, Laura, Ruger(Yellow Lab) and Riley(Black Lab) Palenske
Forever in our hearts and will never be forgotten Rorry Palenske may she rest in peace.

(Please Print This Story In Memory of Rorry Palenske of Delavan, WI)

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from chadlove wrote 1 year 31 weeks ago

Thanks for the info, OH. I've heard about the crazy boom up there. I live in OKlahoma so were having the same thing on a smaller scale. Fortunately I'll be in the Lewistown area so I should be OK...

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from chadlove wrote 1 year 31 weeks ago

Geez, I need to edit before I hit submit...should read "we're"...

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