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Discussion Topic: Should You Shoot Bumped Birds Over Pointers?

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November 26, 2012

Discussion Topic: Should You Shoot Bumped Birds Over Pointers?

By Chad Love

One challenge pointing dog owners face is deciding whether to shoot only pointed wild birds over their pups when they take them hunting, or go ahead and shoot birds their pups bump and/or flush. 

There are two schools of thought here. The first believes that shooting non-pointed birds will quickly turn your pointing dog into a flushing dog. You must only, the mantra goes, shoot pointed birds so the pup starts making the required neural connections between his point, that bird, and your bang.

The second believes that this is all well and good if you have access to enough wild birds to be selective about such things. But that for those of us who don't, it's a different story. When you're on the typical public-land death march with birds few and far between, you don't have the luxury of being selective. If, as the saying goes, birds make bird dogs, then getting your dog into birds, pointed, flushed, bumped, whatever, is what the dog needs more than anything. And if shooting a few of those birds, even if they're not pointed, will get the dog excited about hunting and help make those connections, then it's OK. If any issues appear, they can be easily fixed.

The hoped-for end result (a steady, stylish point) is the same. The only difference is the means by which to reach that point, pun intended.

So on which side do you fall in the argument? Do you steadfastly refuse to shoot any flushed or bumped bird over your young pointing dogs because you believe it makes a better dog or do you shoot whatever your pup gets up because you feel it can only help your pup's confidence?

Comments (83)

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from clinchknot wrote 1 year 21 weeks ago

HMMMMM Good question. I used to have a German Shorthair, but now have flushing labs, my young lab pointing them, but not great,,she will break point, but still a benefit to me as a shooter. I always listened to professional advice when I had the pointer, and was told to come into the dog pointing from the side so that the dog would see where I was, and not make the dog nervous, and flush the bird because I came in from directly behind the dog. But, dunno. I think the big work has to come useing pigeons, and steadying the dog on a leash/rope.

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from woolf1987 wrote 1 year 21 weeks ago

If you have a young dog i would proble think you need to reinforce the point but a seasoned dog you should be just fine shooting birds he bumps.

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from clinchknot wrote 1 year 21 weeks ago

And do you always know the dog "bumps" them? The bird holds the dog, not the other way around. A bird can move, and flush, and the dog move with the birds movement. Right?..or wrong?

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from BigJim wrote 1 year 21 weeks ago

I shoot whatever flies. At least then we get to work on retrieves!

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from clinchknot wrote 1 year 21 weeks ago

And I still ask an important quesion regarding pointing dogs.

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from Davidd wrote 1 year 21 weeks ago

I think with a younger dog you would focus on the fundamentals which would be the point With a veteran dog shot the flush or bump if it's there.

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from SD Bob wrote 1 year 21 weeks ago

The answer is simple, do what you do and have fun! All that matters is you enjoy your time afield because as I found out this morning, your prized dog/friend won't be here forever! God Bless you Sammy!

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from dale freeman wrote 1 year 21 weeks ago

As always, it depends on that particular dog.
You cannot train a dog if you don't know him (or her).

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from Nathan Ryver wrote 1 year 21 weeks ago

How is it that a bot, spewing out dating sites can get to two stars faster than I can?

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from Nathan Ryver wrote 1 year 21 weeks ago

I think you let the dog sniff/play with the bird it points...and one it flushes, you don't let the dog have anything to do with..if its possible. I don't know...I've had two Springers, but have never had the birds where I live here in KY to train them effectivly.

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from clinchknot wrote 1 year 21 weeks ago

GAWD what a braindead bunch of posters. Isn't there anyone that knows anything about the dog/bird relationship, or anything about pointing dogs? How can we start another blog, and get some knowledgable posters on the thread?...the question gets begged, and then we get the "have fun" response...incredible the ignorance on this blog.

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from PA009 wrote 1 year 21 weeks ago

Clinchnot,
Since most hunting is done for fun (sport, etc.), does it not make sense that most of the responses are "have fun" responses? It all depends on perspective and opinion and that is what they have provided. Just my 2 cents...

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from clinchknot wrote 1 year 21 weeks ago

PA009...Since the author posed the topic question don't you think it would be wise to address the topic question?..or do you have trouble reading topic questions? The topic was a good one, and I asked a key question regarding bird movement, and how the pointing dog reacts. Then I get nothing but foolish responses. Of course you hunt for fun, and a big part of that fun can be good working hunting dogs performing well.

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from Chris Link wrote 1 year 21 weeks ago

Teach the dog stop to flush, and the problem is solved.

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from masmith24 wrote 1 year 21 weeks ago

I don't have the luxury of being picky... I'll shoot at anything my dog was near when it flushes... public land hunting in Ohio is extremely crowded, but it's all I've got, so I take advantage of the time in the field with my dog however I can. I always figured getting a retrieve was better than nothing at all, since we only get a small handful of those a year.

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from bberg7794 wrote 1 year 21 weeks ago

What Chris Link said, but it depends on the sophistication of the dog.

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from Ontario Honker ... wrote 1 year 21 weeks ago

Nice to see you starting this thread, Chad. It's clearly taking off from another obscure location and it is a point well-worth discussing here.

I have only raised flushing labs my entire hunting life (nearly fifty years). That is until last year when I acquire a Brittany pup. I didn't really care if she evolved into much of a pointing dog. I got the pup because I needed to fill a void, having lost both my wife and son the previous year. My two labs were already wonderful bird dogs. Last season the pup was mostly along for the ride but did surprise me with a few unexpected points so I knew she had something in her. This season she continued working behind the flushing labs ... for the first couple of days. Then her better nose took over and she started isolating the birds quicker ahead of the labs. And lo and behold, she started nailing down the pheasants! So in semi-open country or cattail ditches I started holding the labs back and letting the pup work her magic. In some places I had to keep her working close because the birds were spooky and wouldn't hold well so I had to be up with her and ready. If they held tight for her, I would kick the labs loose and let them jump up the bird. Coral (the Britt) does not seem to be particularly interested in pushing the birds up and is happy to let the labs do it. She's not keen about retrieving yet but Opal (5 year old lab) hogs that aspect and always has.

The point here is that Opal has never stood on a barrel, never been hung on a long rope, never heard the word "whoa," never felt the sting of an e-collar, and learned hunting from flushers and an untrained owner. Yet there she is holding a pheasant not three feet away from me as still as a statue. I don't place a lot of stock in what fancy trainers or video-watching experts say is necessary to have a good bird dog. Success requires time, patience, and the ability to read the individual dog. No two dogs will learn the same way and any good trainer will agree. Opal was gang-busters on uplands at age three months. I have never heard of another pup starting so early. But I knew she was ready. I never expected Coral to be anything till at least her second season. That's just the way she read to me. She is coming along fine and that's fine with me. Like I said in the other thread, if she'd taken up flushing that's okay too. Much of the terrain I hunt, especially late in the season after the cows have been moved in and the snow falls, is necessarily in the real thick stuff. Only a flusher will work in there. But she has decided she wants to point ... so be it. I'll work with that too. Most importantly, Coral wants to sleep with me every night and lay on my feet as I write this. So really, I never cared if she amounted to anything as a bird dog or not. She loves me and I need that more than any dang birds.

By the way, all the dogs break at shot (as the one in the above photo) and I DO NOT HAVE A PROBLEM WITH THAT. My retrievers need every bit of advantage they can get if a rooster goes down crippled. One has to be careful about shooting at birds jumping up out of canals though. I have learned it's best to stay out of those low spots and let the dogs do the work. Sometimes I'll have to get in there to keep the dogs working, especially if it's a big low spot. All I can say is be VERY careful with breaking dogs in those situations. But they are relatively rare situations for me. And fortunately, hens are not legal in Montana so there's very little "reflex shooting" for pheasants.

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from Ontario Honker ... wrote 1 year 21 weeks ago

Sorry, it should read "the point here is CORAL [not Opal] has never stood on a barrel ..." Just got home from Montana last night after 26 hours on the road. I'm a bit fried. I have three frozen birds to thaw and clean today. Gawdam, it was blistering cold those last couple of days! Some of the most miserable hunting I have ever endured (and I have seen some bad stuff!). But I wouldn't have missed it for the world. Can hardly wait for next year.

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from haverodwilltravel wrote 1 year 21 weeks ago

No.....in my state it's a two bird limit. I'll shoot my two....so why would I reward the dog, whether it's his fault or not.
If you do, it doesn't take long for the dog to start taking liberties.

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from Ontario Honker ... wrote 1 year 21 weeks ago

Haverod, I'm having trouble figuring out what point you're trying to make there. You're saying no to what exactly? You'll pass a shot because the dog broke point? And the dog figures out it did something wrong simply because you didn't shoot at the bird? My dogs could care less if I shoot at a bird or not. They're just interested in finding them. It's nice if I knock one down for them but I don't think they're shattered if I don't.

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from blevenson wrote 1 year 21 weeks ago

If it flies it dies, unless it is a hen of course.

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from Ontario Honker ... wrote 1 year 21 weeks ago

Another thing about this silly fussiness over pointing dogs flushing birds: What do you do if the pointer nails down a bird next to a clump of Russian olive or just inside a willow thicket? Are you going to crawl through that crap to kick up the bird? If so, you can just about forget getting a decent shot at it! It'll be around the other side before you can get any sort of shot that doesn't blow it to smithereens. I back away so I can get as clear a view as possible and then send the labs in to push up Coral's point. If it's a real sticky bird sometimes Opal will go on point too. And if Opal goes on point Pearl will usually honor it. So there I am on top of the cattail ditch standing in a freezing wind with Coral on point ten feet away, then Opal stoned up right next to her and Pearl on the other side of the ditch waiting for Coral or Opal to move. That Mexican standoff went on for several minutes with me hollering at them to "get em" and fingers about frozen to the metal before the bird finally blinked and Opal broke point. Thankfully it was a rooster and thankfully I did not miss an easy shot for a change!

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from clinchknot wrote 1 year 21 weeks ago

Why can't any of you address a key point?..the reason being you don't know the answer it appears. THE BIRD!...it holds the dog, NOT the dog holding the bird! That is a key point, and you don't have to write a book like some do to answer it! If the bird creeps off, the dog will creep off with it, and the bird can flush, and that is NOT "bumping the bird!" The key to this discussion should be having a good bird dog, and recognizing a good dogs reactions. Folks that don't care, and the "just have fun, and shoot what flies" posts are worthless in my opinion. Good subject, but ruined by folks that are clueless.

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from masmith24 wrote 1 year 21 weeks ago

Hey clinch... since you are so damn superior to everyone here, why don't you go start your own blog where you talk down to all your readers and leave this one to us... the simple folk who hunt for fun...

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from clinchknot wrote 1 year 21 weeks ago

mansmith...far from the truth. I just like good info exchanged, and you sure don't get it on these threads. The question was "bumping the bird"...you didn't seem to get it, and also don't even understand what bumping the bird even means. I wasn't sure either, and wanted a knowledgeable poster to comment on that subject, as it is the heart of the topic. And then all I get are comments from you folks that do things for fun, seemingly enjoying your ignorance. Other blogs that have knowledgeable posters, or folks that ask legitimate questions there is no need to talk down anyone.

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from pica112 wrote 1 year 21 weeks ago

Clinch,
I think the actual question that was asked was, Are you willing to shoot birds that are accidentally flushed or bumped? So when you have other posters saying yes they would shoot the birds because they want to have fun that statement is answering the question and I don’t believe anyone is being ignorant.
My opinion I would shoot any bird my dogs flushed or pointed. My reason for that is in Minnesota public land I can walk a lot of fields and only see the two rosters I shoot. I’m also not going to look down on anyone who will not shoot an accidentally flushed bird, because to them having their dog work perfect is more fun to watch then the shooting of the bird.

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from Chris Link wrote 1 year 21 weeks ago

It's an easy answer to a question, you don't have to be rude. If you teach a pointer stop to flush, he will "point" when he bumps a bird and allow you to shoot bumped birds without turning him into a flusher.

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from Chris Link wrote 1 year 21 weeks ago

I wish you could edit comments...all a decent hunting dog really needs is to be steady to wing, honor, and stop to flush. If you have taught the dog the first two, you should be able to do stop to flush.

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from clinchknot wrote 1 year 20 weeks ago

I see your point now. But I still would like folks to get my point. The word "bumped" implies that the dog went in, and flushed the bird. That is often not the case, and especially with pheasants. They creep off, and the pointer naturally creeps of with the pheasant, and can flush on its own, and not the dog flushing it. The word "bumped" in that case is an inaccurate description. I took the topic to mean the dog made an error in performance causing the bird to flush, and that often isn't the case, Many dog owners think it is the dog that holds the bird, and that is not the case. Chris' comment avoids that understanding.

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from Ontario Honker ... wrote 1 year 20 weeks ago

Clinchknot: If the pointer doesn't push the bird then the bird shouldn't flush, ergo the dog is actually the one that is "nailing down" the bird by its (as in the DOG'S) actions. The bird is responding to the dog's actions. If the same bird is approached by my labs, it will flush BECAUSE THE LABS APPROACH IT DIFFERENTLY. If it was always a case of the bird holding the dog, then pheasants would be holding my labs as well as my Britt. But that almost never happens (Opal will occasionally point a pheasant if she has one in sight and it doesn't move). It almost never happens because as a flusher Opal does not instinctively approach the bird with the same stealth and caution as a true pointer.

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from Chris Link wrote 1 year 20 weeks ago

See, I see the word "bump" as a dog accidently runs over or by a bird it didn't see. In that case stop to flush allows you to shoot the bird w/o problems. If the dog self flushes or creeps and flushes the bird I wouldn't shoot.

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from Ontario Honker ... wrote 1 year 20 weeks ago

Why? The dog is not getting any kind of message if you shoot or don't shoot. This just makes no sense to me at all. And I know it's not going to make any sense to the dog either. A hunting dog is just out their for the joy of finding the bird. If the bird accidentally jumps up, oh well. If the dog doesn't get a chance to retrieve it, oh well. Retrieving is really secondary for dogs hunting uplands. Finding the birds is their primary objective. Heck, many pointing dogs aren't worth beans at retrieving anyway or are marginal at best. So how is keeping them from possibly retrieving a bird going to make any difference to their behavior? Sorry, I just don't get it.

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from clinchknot wrote 1 year 20 weeks ago

Ontario..I do not think that is true Ontario. Pheasants are now far more prone to run than flush. They move around, and flush wildly. In the last number of years a popular technique is to put blockers down at the end of a field because pheasants run, and flush ahead of the dogs. NO, a key point here is to recognize what a "bumped bird" is. My one dog with the best nose will move ahead (in high weeds), then turn, and hunt back, and back and forth, and back and forth, then the rooster flushes. That has happened often. AS soon as the dog hunts back and forth, I know there is a pheasant running around avoiding the dogs. Now I have flushing dogs, but they will do that to a pointer. It appears that Chad even considers every dog that moves ahead, and the rooster flushes out front that the dog "bumped" the rooster...far from true, and a point that should be understood. To Chris' point. When you approach a pointing dog, and back to my earlier point. You should not move in directly behind the dog. The dog is nervous enough without you not letting the dog know where you are. You should approach off to the side where the dog can see you, and know where you are. But good discussion. I had professional dog trainers tell me this years ago working with my shorthair...the bird holds the dog, not the other way around. That is why I went to flushers. When the heavy cover...much of it was eliminated via new farming practices, the birds would run, and the pointer would follow after them. That's when I wanted flushers that would work closer to me. But I can see the point made also that if the bird holds that a pointer that moves off point, and flushes the bird is probably going to do that again, and again, and many times they are working well out front of you, and out of gun range.

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from Ontario Honker ... wrote 1 year 20 weeks ago

This season the birds were quite spooky in most places I hunted. They usually get that way on publicly accessible land after the first two weeks, but this year it was particularly bad, probably because there just wasn't many birds. When they get cagey pheasants will often run if they can and that is a problem with my younger lab. She'll try to run after them. The Britt pup was starting to pick up on that and I had to work pretty hard to get them to stay in range. But after a week or so they were generally working where I wanted them. And without e-collars too. My feeling is that if the birds are rangey and prone to flush easily then it is up to the handler to keep the dogs in range whether they are pointers or flushers. Not all the birds are going to run and jump. The pointer can still hold some of them. I see no point in using pointers if one is forced to resort to blocking. Frankly, I'd load up and head home before I'd go that route. Different situations require different techniques and, yes, different breeds will work better for different situations.

Back to the major question of not shooting at bumped birds. I simply do not see any sort of message getting through to the dog. In every place I have hunted shooting hens is not legal. The pointer is going to point up a LOT of hens (usually many more than roosters) and sometimes they will be "bumped" accidentally. And of course no one is going to shoot at them. Then a rooster gets bumped and no one shoots at it either? Or a rooster stays tight and is shot at when it flies but missed. So, how is all that behavior supposed to register with the dog? Totally meaningless! It's inconsistent and inconsistency is the bane of dog training. As I said, failing to shoot at a bird is not going to be any kind of discipline measure just as shooting at one is any kind of positive reinforcement. That's just common sense. When a pointer is purposely flushing up birds, other more meaningful measures will have to be used to attempt to curb the behavior (if that's what is desired). If you don't shoot at birds in those situations, you just wasted an opportunity to fill your bag. And that's all you have accomplished.

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from clinchknot wrote 1 year 20 weeks ago

You can do it without e-collars. Mine make keeping my labs in range a breeze. And to re-inforce my point, and at the heart of this discussion on "bumping" I went to a u-tube on a pheasant hunt in South Dakota with Pheasants Forever Executives, and a sponsor of theirs, a dog food company reps. The dog food guys provided the dogs, several shorthair pointers. The property they hunted on was Pheasant Forever land they had developed. The land hunted was described for its quality..a burnt off weed field, and new favorable tall weeds established. A shorthair would go on point, the guy would say, "an there is an honor from the other shorthair...then the dog would move, and the Rep would say "whoa-whoa", and the dog would creep. The guy was constantly saying "Whoa" and the dogs creep off. Then the Rep would say, "we've got running birds in front of us"..and then a flush. Now you know those dogs were top quality pointers provided on the hunt. The best pheasant holding birds I ever had were in stubble corn fields in Eastern WA. and lots of snow on the ground. Birds would bury in the bent over corn/snow, and you could watch the dog go on point, and see the rooster's tail feathers extending out of the snow. Flat scary to walk up (off to the side), and have the rooster bust out of the snow close to you. Sometimes you would have to kick it up. And those were the days. My wife dropped many a rooster using her ltwt. Ithaca m12 ga model 37.

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from clinchknot wrote 1 year 20 weeks ago

And my friend that has 3 brittany pointers often has a problem. One will point, and one of the other two will not honor the point, and bust in and flush the bird. Now you have a problem like the question asks. And these Brittanies cover some ground, and the old owner ends up running through the field sometimes taking shots at a bird that flushed out beyond 30 yds away. But some of you are going to say, "that's fine, that's my shot for the day?"

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from Mark-1 wrote 1 year 20 weeks ago

My observation is a very good pointing dog will point 50%, and flush the other 50%. To believe and expect 100% solid on point is fanciful. The factors are fluid in the field, but:

Young dogs range fast, pushing birds to flush. They will slow down and use their noses more as they age.

Grouse will not stand crowding, and easily bump/flush.

Wild pheasants will run, circle, and use any underhanded trick to throw a pointing dog off. These birds IMHO demand a faster, more ranging dog. Flushes/bumps should be expected, as well as broken points as a pheasant creeps away from dog on point.

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from Ontario Honker ... wrote 1 year 20 weeks ago

Well put, Mark. Sounds like you have a lot more experience than I do. I'm getting maybe a bit better than 50/50 points vs flushes from my little Britt. But, as you said, conditions in the field seem to affect the ratio considerably. So what's your take on shooting at bumped birds? I presume you'll take the shot.

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from clinchknot wrote 1 year 20 weeks ago

Mark-1 Good post. I just talked to a dog trainer on that subject. He says, Yes, and no. A real good veteran dog, pointing dog like you identified knows how far to move in...how close to creep when a bird moves off. And the guy says he has watched his buddies exceptional pointer, point a rooster in a smaller patch of cattails, know that the bird is moving to exit out the other side, and move around the cattails, and face the rooster on the other side. Depends on the situation then. And the Pheasants Forever guys identified the different kinds of cover that both types of dogs are best working in. The tall weed cover is ideal for the pointing breeds, and the day before they hunted with labs in cattail cover where they were super at flushing, and retrieving. And that is what I do with my flushers/labs. If my area has been hunted, I head for the cattails where my old dog is super, at flushing, and retrieving.

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from Chris Link wrote 1 year 20 weeks ago

Dogs aren't dumb, if you shoot birds that they creep and flush they will figure out that they get a bird in their mouth either way, so there is no reason to hold point. On the flipside, if they crowd birds and watch them fly away, they will learn they need to lock up as soon as they hit the scent cone, or they won't get birds in their mouth.

That's the downside of a pointer; you can have a wider ranging dog, but if you want a steady dog you won't be able to shoot all the birds you see. If all you want to do is kill birds, you're much better off having a close working flusher.

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from Chris Link wrote 1 year 20 weeks ago

"And my friend that has 3 brittany pointers often has a problem. One will point, and one of the other two will not honor the point, and bust in and flush the bird. Now you have a problem like the question asks. And these Brittanies cover some ground, and the old owner ends up running through the field sometimes taking shots at a bird that flushed out beyond 30 yds away. But some of you are going to say, "that's fine, that's my shot for the day?""
A better approach would be to do yard work before hunting so they honor properly, but that's a whole other story.

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from clinchknot wrote 1 year 20 weeks ago

Not really Chris..you are far off point. Dogs are dumb...dumb when it comes to cognitive thought. Here is an example of what my dog trainer guy said regarding honoring another dogs point. He said a dog trainer might use a dummy dog, a sylloette type look alike dog, and put a bird out, and the dummy pointing on a planted bird..probably a pigeon like I use to use. Then they let the dog needing the trainging out of a rig on a lead rope, hold him back allowing him to move in at the right distance, and say "WHOA!" pulling on the rope. Then, he says, it is just a matter of repititon, after repition. So it ain't smarts. A lot of dogs will never learn being they are allowed to make the same mistake over, and over, and over. There is nothing like professional training. Most can't afford it, and put up with lots of poor dog performance in the field. I've eliminated the biggest problem I've had in the past, and that is through the use of e-collars. Most amateurs don't even realize that the training method has to be enforced IMMEDIATELY. They think that minutes later when they get the dog at hand, they can scold the dog, and the dog is smart enough to realize what they did wrong minutes previously. You could make a funny U-tube out of amateurs in the field with their "smart" bird dogs. Been there, done that.

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from Chris Link wrote 1 year 20 weeks ago

Using "whoa" to make a dog point is mistake number one.

If you want to develope a reliable dog fast you should look into practitioners of the west method, and Dave Walker in particular. Hes the one who sold me the pup in my picture, and his training methods have resulted in ~3000 field trial placements.

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from clinchknot wrote 1 year 20 weeks ago

No it isn't!!.... refuting your number one being totally wrong. That is a command to use to make a dog to STOP! That dog is not on point!..that dog needs to honor. Whoa was the same command the pros used on the U-tube I mentioned when a bird would creep off, and the dog would then creep! If this Dave Walker is good, you definitely need to buddy up with the guy,and learn a lot more about bird dogs...they ain't "smart" They have instincts, but not smarts, and need training that most amateurs do not undertand how, or why they should be used. And a dog will creep if the bird creeps.

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from Chris Link wrote 1 year 20 weeks ago

Using the whoa command for anything other than stopping a dog when he isn't around birds is one of the biggest training mistakes anyone makes.
If you train a dog right from the get go, and use birds to teach him to point and not the "whoa" command, teaching a dog to honor isn't hard at all.

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from clinchknot wrote 1 year 20 weeks ago

But the question is the dog that does have a problem honoring! Whoa means to stop, and not bust in. The command does mean to stop, and the tug on the lead rope enhances that command. And in this case he is around a bird...another dog's bird!..and he needs to honor it. I have an older dog right now that won't honor my other, younger labs retrieve...takes it away from her, and ticks me off because the younger dog will not make the tough retrieve over a water ditch, and up over the bank like my older dog will. But that's an amateurs problem that I have, and something I can work on hopefully..something I put up with by not spending a lot of money on a pro. And I don't want to do that. My dogs are basically my buddies, good friends, sleep inside not out in a kennel etc., etc., but they have got me lots of birds over the years. And I call them "Smart", but like you should know, they are not "smart."

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from Chris Link wrote 1 year 20 weeks ago

Not human smart no. My orginal point before we drifted was that dogs are smart as hunters, if you teach them that by holding point they get a bird in their mouth, they will be staunch pointers. If you shoot birds for them they bust, they have no reason to hold point. The problem is people either don't train their dogs well, or train em in ways that don't work well, ie the "whoa" command for pointing and backing.

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from Ontario Honker ... wrote 1 year 20 weeks ago

I guess I have the best of both worlds. I can keep my Britt working close if I want. She is not interested in retrieving right now so she's not going to get any gratification from bumping a bird and have the other dog bring it in if I shoot it. As I said, she is perfectly content to stay on point and let the other dogs put up her bird. As far as a dog not knowing what it's done wrong long after the deed is done, that's just fiction. I train my dogs to come back to the whistle and my arm pointing down to my side. This is done long before we get to the field. And they get the business end of a rolled up newspaper or my hand if they ignore it. They figure it out very quickly on walks, in the park, etc. Once I'm in the field hunting and I whistle and a dog doesn't come back immediately, when she finally does return it's with her tail between her legs. They know.

The intelligence of dogs varies. With a lot of time and money expended, some really marginally intelligent hunting dogs can be conditioned to work reasonably well. Then there's dogs that quite frankly know what you're thinking without being told. There is no set way to teach hunting dogs. It must be tailored to fit each individual dog.

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from clinchknot wrote 1 year 20 weeks ago

I'd sure like to tell those two food company reps that I'm sure the company paid a hansome fee for their dogs on the show, and then had them professioally trained, and they did perform well on the show, that there's a guy on this blog that says they are doing the wrong thing when on of their dogs creeps off because the bird is creeping off by saying "Whoa" And the dog honoring shouldn't move in as close as the dog who went on point I do not think. That is why the guy probably wants to say Whoa while pulling on the cord before it gets as close as the dog who first went on point. Not a pointing dog owner anymore, and never did hunt with two pointers so I am not sure, but think that would be the case.

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from Chris Link wrote 1 year 20 weeks ago

A good deal of famous dog trainers use silent commands and don't use whoa to force dogs to point . Bill West, Brad Higgins, Dave Walker, Mo Lindy, Bill Gibbons, Martha Greenly. Names ring a bell?

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from clinchknot wrote 1 year 20 weeks ago

"force dogs to point" There is no forcing involved. What the reps were doing was easing the dog as it crept forward because the bird was on the move, and in the case of honoring it was used to not allow, or train the dog to not go in close to another dogs point. None of those names I recognize. I was a Walter's guy strictly because he took the time to use positive re-inforcement, and a lot of trainers use negative re-inforcement for "time is monies sake." I've been told that when someone pays money they want to see positive results early on, and negative reinforcement does that...but not with my dog. But I don't read literature from a lot of dog trainers. And I do not want a field trial pointer that ranges way out. I want flushers that work close to me. I hunt with my dogs unlike a lot of upland hunters. But if you know these guys, I am sure they know what they are doing. And I am sure that both guys that I talked to today for one, and the others I watched on the video knew what they were doing when they said "whoa"

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from Chris Link wrote 1 year 20 weeks ago

You should take a look at those trainers then. If you like positive reinforcement, Walker is the real deal. Most of his training involves petting and very low level E collar levels to train, and his main correction is spinning the dog. Hes in the bird dog hall of fame for a reason.

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from clinchknot wrote 1 year 20 weeks ago

Here's a name drop for you. I sold the guy dog food who provided the dogs used on one of the very first American Sportsman's Shows that was viewed on the main channels. Burt Carlson of Carlson Kennels. They were hunting chuckar in Hells Canyon on the Snake River. One of his dog trainers, I knew very well, being he was a steelheader like myself. My close friend took his shorthair to be trained by Burt's trainers. My buddy had a super male shorthair, and they offered to buy it from him. My buddies dog began peeing blood...caused, he found out, by the trainer kicking the dog in the stomach. When I brought it up to the trainer he told me about negative re-inforcement, and the need to "break the dog down" letting it know who was boss, and how it related to getting paid. Never did like the guy after that.

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from Mark-1 wrote 1 year 20 weeks ago

@All: I'll shoot at any bird I get a shot at. My goal is to see the dog's gratification for his efforts. So I'm in Chad's 2nd group.

-In the discussion I see folks forgetting dogs aren't machines. They have good days, bad days, days they don’t have the energy, days where it all comes together. Dogs ARE INTELLIGENT. Any animal that can dream creates and conceptualizes.

This being my belief, I don’t want my dogs figuring I’m wasting their time. So, I will shoot at bump/flushed birds over my pointing dogs and expect this to be so. I’ve noticed as my setter dogs* aged and gain experience they would hold more birds down on solid points within gun range.

I hold concerns on bumping/flushing are more a dog owner problem being impatient and demanding a pointing dog machine at three-years old or younger resulting in, that dog being smarter than you give credit, stylized, solid FALSE points.

A bird dog is a long term deal measured in years. You get exactly what you put into the dog. Nothing=nothing. Wisdom=wisdom. Hunting smarts=hunting smarts, loyalty=loyalty. Etc.

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from clinchknot wrote 1 year 20 weeks ago

Mark-1..You are right, and unfortunately many upland bird dogs are more intelligent than their owners.

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from clinchknot wrote 1 year 20 weeks ago

Mark-1.. Some gunners like to be good at what they do, and enjoy hunting as an effetive, efficient team. The way you discribe things, your dog would bust in and flush a hen pheasant, then chase it over the horizon flushing roosters as it disappeared over the horizon. No thanks. I owe it to not only my dogs to train them well, but to other hunters in the vacinity to not ruin their hunt. And no, you shouldn't have to wait years down the road for your dog to respond well in the field. My last two dogs hunted their first year before they were one year old, and responded well...well enough that I expected our team to perform decently.

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from Ontario Honker ... wrote 1 year 20 weeks ago

I don't think Mark would be the kind of guy to let his dogs run amok. He clearly knows what he's doing and appears to have a fine dog. The way he does things may be different than my method of training dogs but I accept that it's a constant learning process. His knowledge base seems to be more extensive than just You-tube videos and gun store banter. And he appears to be hunting with something more than a "black mutt." If anything, that tells me he is very serious about what he's doing. Clinchknot/Sayfu, if you haven't hunted with the guy or haven't mastered the crystal ball, don't be telling him what he and his dogs are doing wrong. You do this a lot and it's not very productive. I want to hear what Mark has to say. His thoughts and suggestions are helpful and constructive. Don't run him off.

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from clinchknot wrote 1 year 20 weeks ago

Nice try Ontario..My point is you go to professional opinion just not life long experiences. Learning the hard way like you seem to have done, can be avoided in many cases by getting good advice. You have to distinguish good info from bad info. That can be a problem for many. I take it all in. When I watch a professional video, and get good commentary from the best in the business, I can apply it to my situation with conviction. The guy in the sporting goods store is a trainer that works for a big dog trainer in my area. There is also another professional dog trainer in my Sportsman's Warehouse that trains dogs that I often stop and talk to even in the field. He is the guy that advised my on a good e-collar, and tips on using it. When I acquired my "Black Mutt" who is an incredible bird dog as I have described, I had just gone through a divorce, and had relocated with limited resources to buy a papered bird dog. I got this guy from the pound. And if there ever was a case for buying a dog from the pound, and not needed to spend a lot of money on a papered bird dog of pedigree, my Black Mutt is a great example. And he hunted before he was one year old, and performed well at that age with the exception of his agression to get out of range. That was solved with the e-collar. What I reacted to him on was his misguided statements regarding bird dogs. His dog is going to bump birds with impunity, and he expects age to correct that fault as I read it. And I do take very seriously avoiding another hunters experience to be a bad one because of the bad behavior of my dogs.

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from Ontario Honker ... wrote 1 year 20 weeks ago

My mistake ... seems I confused Mark with Chris. Sorry guys.

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from clinchknot wrote 1 year 20 weeks ago

And Ontario. Didn't you say you were a teacher?..a wrestling coach? Were you a classromm teacher as well? I would think that you had a thirst for leaning other than just your own experiences. Experiences are a major aspect, but nothing like having a good foundation of learning from knowlegeable folks. Chris impressed me with his knowledge of reputable dog training techniques by the pros. You haven't seemed to even want to learn good shotgun shooting techniques from your posts, and a noted absence in discussing the subject. Personal experience though is certainly a major factor, and NO ONE on these threads has been afield as much as myself, and my Black Mutt as I call him. I will just say that without even knowing anyone elses time afield. I live close by to great upland hunting. The Black Mutt, and I start out hunting every day in Sept shooting doves. Even in bad seasons where they quickly migrate through there are resident doves we shoot, and farmers allow me to shoot pigeons around their barns for training purposes. Then we hunt huns all the time after dove season ends, on to pheasants at least 4 times a week until the end of Nov. I hunted a number of days for sharptail, and a day for Sage Grouse. I even run them on cottontails until the end of Feb. shooting huns as well at the same time until that season ends at the end of Jan. And that Black Mutt has done that for 11 years! Do the math. It is an incredible number of days afield.

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from Ontario Honker ... wrote 1 year 20 weeks ago

Hmmm. A guy who doesn't even own a pointing dog, but rather has been hunting over his fabulous dog pound flusher for the past eleven years is telling three guys who have actually trained their own pointers what they're doing wrong? And you can do that because ... you watched a video? I enjoy learning. In fact I have made a lifetime career of it. But I generally try to select qualified teachers. And I tend to be cautious about using secondary sources. Not very useful, particularly in my line of work.

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from clinchknot wrote 1 year 20 weeks ago

Is English your 2nd language? I told you I use to hunt shorthairs. I told you where I get my info from on Pointers, and that was the video experts, and dog trainers themselves. I asked the question about "what a bump was, adn you went silent. Then when you did mention about it you had it wrong. And I have told you I have a purebred lab that does point. And you enjoy learning, brag about training your dogs, and don't even realize the best time for a dog to learn is IMMEDIATELY when something takes place for the dog. That is why dog trainers use lead ropes, and e-collars. Experts who are pros in their line of work are "secondary sources that aren't very useful to you?" Wow! Like I stated. You have to be smart enough to evaluate the info you get from your secondary sources.

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from Mark-1 wrote 1 year 20 weeks ago

@All: Owned and trained English Setters for decades. Now using Brits. Not many dogs, but enough. Other:

Takes as much time to train a flusher as a pointer IMHO. Same college different fraternity.

Yes, in those mysterious lapses my dogs have chased birds WAY beyond gun range. Expected. These dogs aren’t machines. I found it’s extremely difficult to call any dog off a running bird. Difficulty is when the dog does return to command not to be brutal making “come” a suspicious command.

I’ve seen dogs heavily disciplined HIDE in the brush/grass too fearful to return to the owner. These poor dogs just follow the screaming owner keeping out of sight. …Not a good situation for anyone.

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from haverodwilltravel wrote 1 year 20 weeks ago

My point is I don't have a problem finding and shooting two pheasants (the limit in my state) most of the time. Hell, there are days I could put up 50, the same with woodcock (3 bird limit) ....so why would I bother with taking any shot other than the perfect scenario?

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from Ontario Honker ... wrote 1 year 20 weeks ago

I see your point now, Haverod. No sense in filling the bag too soon if hunting is that good.

I agree with you Mark, it's tough to call a dog off a runner. Can be pretty much hopeless with my lab Opal. The discipline must fit the dog that's for sure. It's often a delicate call. I'll pull the culprit in behind me for a while as the other dogs continue to work. That's cruel enough. Eventually I'll let her go with a word of encouragement and a gentle push. And she's off happy enough. I'll very quickly test her with the whistle as a reminder. Discipline is fine as long as it's tempered with positive reenforcement. When the dogs set me up I really let them know how pleased I am, even if it's just a hen. If they run too far ahead and put one up, I let them know about that too. One of the things I have learned is that when they're hot on a bird I need to keep reminding them where I am with the whistle. At the end of the season I was pleased to see the pup was doing a pretty good job of keeping track of me while she was working. She is showing a lot of promise. My first Brittany and I am impressed.

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from clinchknot wrote 1 year 20 weeks ago

Mark I Mine also! Here is an incredible story on a pointer I had, a German Shorthair that chased birds. He chased a hen over the horizon once, and I lost him for a long time frame. Then I see him down a dry gulch some 150 yds. behind the farm house. I get up to him, and a hen flushes angling into the sun, and towards one of those long storage sheds that are cement block on the bottom, and a shiny, galvanized aluminum roof. I watch that hen rise above the cement, and smack dead on into the triangle back of that shiny aluminum roof. Make it up to the shed, and there lies a dead hen. I look around, and where is my shorthair? I lost it again. I end up back at the deep, weedy ditch, and there is my shorthair again on point! I approach him, and up gets another hen, and an instant replay! The hen flies the same path, and crashes into the same galvanized shiny roof, and lays dead just like the other hen! The sun had to blind the birds. But e-collars have now stopped that. My wife and I shot plenty of roosters over that shorthair, but plenty of grief as well...live and learn. Now I have e-collars. And difficult to call a dog off of chasing another dog, chasing a deer, headed for crossing a busy street way.....but not with my e-collars! I use low stimulation, and with the female only have to use the beeeeper feature. But I also have a feature where I can hit the low stimulus button, and at the same time hit the main button below it, and DOUBLE the stimulation in those dangerous situations, and prevent it from happening. Sorry to get on you Mark, but you brought back some very stessful situations my wife, and I had. And when I got upset, it made life no fun for my hunting partner, my wife!

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from clinchknot wrote 1 year 20 weeks ago

I've got a young, female, papered, chocolate lab. I have described her before. She ranges out in front using the wind to her advantage, and can really cover ground well. Stays in range with a verbal command, as well as the e-collar beeeper, and points birds at first for a second, or two, then flushes. This happened within the last two weeks...bird runs ahead of us on a dirt access rod, and my female (3 yrs old) begins the chase. I verbally call her back, and she follows me to where the rooster ducked into the weeds next to a cattail, waterway slew next to the access way. I send her in, and up gets the rooster. Point is, I can call her back from chasing. My older, aggressive male? Probably have to low stimulate him to get him to stop, or slow to where I could catch up. And he was the one that swam the slew, through the cattails up over a high bank into a tall weed field, and came swimming back with the rooster. My female won't make that tough retrieve...not yet anyway.

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from clinchknot wrote 1 year 20 weeks ago

I guarantee you that Brittanies can be a coin flip. Can be very bullheaded, and very hard to prevent from ranging way out, our running game. My buddy has spent the bucks having his trained, and trained it himself. He's lost his for hours chasing antelope, you name it. He has to put a long range locator beeper on his Brittany. And that isn't the only Brittany I know that takes off and out of sight from the getgo.

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from Mark-1 wrote 1 year 20 weeks ago

@Clinchknot: My experience and observations are Brits accept training well. The dogs I've seen and own are slower and work closer than setters. That's nice being on wrong side of 60. There are always exceptions, although.

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from clinchknot wrote 1 year 20 weeks ago

My darn computer shutdown, but I had copied two different discriptions of Brittanies, one from a Field and Stream Magazine, and another from Pheasants Forever Mag., and neither supports my contention. They say Britts are easy to train, and easy to keep in range. I must have been referring to just my friends Brittany, and he has a real problem. Here is where his difficulties can stem from. He comes up to flyfish with me all Summer long coming up from the Phoenix area, and keeps his Britt in a kennel in a small community in the wilds, and the dog doesn't get out much...only when it digs out, and then runs for miles with another dog!! It has done this several times, and someone will call from miles away saying they have his dog! He then tells me he has to take the day off to run up and get it. It has done that several times now! I would say that is his problem.

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from Ontario Honker ... wrote 1 year 20 weeks ago

The key difference that I see between my Brittany and most pointers/setters I have hunted with is that she genuinely has a desire to please. All the time. Her instinct is clearly to want to work all over the place but her desire to please me makes it easy to keep her close if I need to. The difficulty for her was that she associated the acceptable distance to be simply in sight of me. In heavy cover she worked close but in open fields or sagebrush she'd range much further. If the birds aren't so spooky then that's not such an issue. But they were easily flushed this year mostly because of few birds, heavy hunting, and early snowfall. So she had to learn to work at a given distance rather than just in sight. It was a tough thing for the poor stinker to grasp. But she's definitely in love with me and wears her heart on her sleeve. That vulnerability can work well for the handler who has the heart to break hearts ... once in a while (and readily mends them again later). On the other hand, I have hunted with several GSPs and wire-haired pointers that seem to be quite aloof as far as their desire to please the handler. I suspect it's because most (but not all) of them were kenneled dogs. It is easier to develop a bonding relationship with dogs raised in the home and its easier to have no bond with a dog stuck in a kennel. My lab Opal, who was raised in the house, is a great dog but she is an intense hunter first and my pal second. She's the most independent of the three dogs. Definitely thicker-skinned. She gives her love to me on her terms not mine. So she has to be handled differently. Fortunately she's a real sucker for treats and that's how I got her going in the right direction as a pup. She now knows what she's doing and is beyond the treat stage. She responds better to discipline when it's needed (which really isn't that often). I shudder to think how she would have turned out if she'd been a kenneled dog. Undoubtedly would be a useless pain in the ass in the field.

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from clinchknot wrote 1 year 20 weeks ago

One might google up Brittanies/upland bird dogs, and read the descriptive segments on Britanies from GUN DOG Mag. I get GUN DOG and where my thoughts on Brittanies came from I think. They have a very comprehensive description of Brittanies, and the author has owned them, and makes a distinction from the French Brittany (that can be black and white colored) and the American breed. His French bred Brittanies ranged out wide like they were raised to do for poachers, and would chase deer, run rabbits, and a variety of game. American breed Brittanies are more inclined to follow, or stay near walking man.

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from Ontario Honker ... wrote 1 year 20 weeks ago

Coral is a French Brittany. I believe you may have things mixed up. According to the breeder who sold me my pup, the American variety is being bred larger and rangier. Just looking at the dogs of both varieties that he had in his kennels seemed to confirm what he was saying. Many of the old guard Brittany fans are apparently not pleased with this direction and are eagerly taking to the French Brittany breed. Brittany Spaniels (though they ARE NOT spaniels) were originally bred by French poachers to be small and range CLOSE so that if a gamekeeper showed up the dog could be called in quickly and quietly, scooped up, and carted off. Not so easily done with a hard-headed large setter running all over the place.

Also, last I knew bi-colored dogs only are recognized by the AKC (whether black/brown/liver and white). The UKC recognizes the French Brittany breed and tri-colored dogs. As you can see, Coral is a tri-color. I had no choice in the matter because I only got what was left in the litter - I picked up a canceled order. Was VERY surprised and delighted that I wound up with one of the few tri-colored females. As I understand it, the French Brittany also has webbed toes for swimming and the American variety does not.

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from clinchknot wrote 1 year 20 weeks ago

I easily could get them mixed up given I couldn't copy the hyperlink on this stupid F & E format! So then I had to try and relate what I read, and could have had them mixed up. A dog I've seen several times now this season in the field is a Luwellyn Setter. I always ask the onwer if they ever watched the popular upland bird show, "Hunting with Hank"...Hank was an exceptional dog, and many upland hunters tha watched the show wanted to get a Luwellyn because of Hanks expertise. I even knew a school teacher in WA ST. that bought one out of Tennessee after watching the show, and he didn't hunt.

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from Chris Link wrote 1 year 20 weeks ago

Ontario more or less has it right, aside from tricolors, depending on what he calls a tricolor. AKC show rules allows orange/white, Liver/white, and tricolors that are liver/white with orange eyebrows, but those are "discouraged".
Whats weird/annoying is that the AKC doesn't differentiate between french and american dogs, so for a hunting dog of you can get any range between the shaggy, close working french dogs or the large, wider ranging, short coated field trail dogs(like mine..).

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from clinchknot wrote 1 year 20 weeks ago

Here is a paragraph note of what the author in GUN DOG had to say. He has been a Brittany owner for 40 yrs.
"To make another generalization, French Brits tend to work closer because they’re bred to hunt with a walking hunter, while American Brits range wider, often in field trials with horse-mounted hunters. We’ve had two exceptionally wide-ranging Brits over the years. One was an American Brit, the other a French. So much for generalization. Both ran with the pointers and all too often tried to fly with the birds." That is why I said it was a "coin flip" when yu get a Brittany. It had to come from my Gun Dog Magazine.

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from Ontario Honker ... wrote 1 year 20 weeks ago

If the guy hunted his Britts with other breeds of pointers, I don't know what he expected. Of course they'll both fly with the other dogs. Duh!

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from clinchknot wrote 1 year 20 weeks ago

My buddies Brittany will run with whatever wants to run with him...jack rabbits, antelope. My friend has a one mile range locator, and his Britt has gone beyond that limit. He goes back to the rig, sits and waits. The dog has always come back. Don't know how he did this season though. He hunts quail in the Phoenix area starting in Nov. when it cools down enough. And this season there are very few quail around according to my friend. I'm still huntin..hunted huns today, but didn't see any. Young lab flushed a jack rabbit, and wanted to chase it...beeper stopped her, and back to lookin for Huns. Hard to beat those e-collars. You can't be noisy blowing whistles and yellin if your huntin huns. They'll run, and flush at 50 yrds.

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from clinchknot wrote 1 year 20 weeks ago

Here is why you don't want your dog breaking, and chasing on the shot..you want them to SEE where a bird has gone down, and be in a better position to retrieve it. Old Black Mutt does that exceptionally well. My young chocolate female?..not so good. WE work on it all the time getting her to "stay" and watch when the bird is thrown out...but here is another problem, and one that dog trainers have confirmed for me. Many of todays purebred gun dogs because of their breeding, are very hyper-sensitive, high strung dogs now. Another reason I SMILE :) when I see Old Black Mutt perform so well in the field.

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from Ontario Honker ... wrote 1 year 19 weeks ago

The dog breaking on shot taboo is one of the most durable dog trainers' myth out there. As often as not my dogs are in a better position to see a pheasant go down when they are breaking. It might be a different matter for some retriever sitting on the edge of a duck blind. But it sure isn't the case in the field where a dog is pushing up birds from variable cover. A pheasant that takes flight out of a clump of Russian olive, for example, is going to be lost from sight of a dog that's still frozen on the other side of the jackpot till it can be released. And ANY dog that hesitates in ANY field conditions is liable to lose a crippled pheasant when it hits the ground without instantaneous pursuit. Dog better be right on that bird or it can disappear. I have no idea how those roosters can turn off the scent when they're crippled but we have all seen it countless times. And I have seen it when my best lab is two feet behind one that dodges into the tulies. If she has to wait more than a split second longer than necessary, the odds increase greatly that we'll lose it. All the flap about dogs breaking on shot is just a bunch of useless stylistic necessity imposed by those who read too many books or watch too much You-tube.

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from Chris Link wrote 1 year 19 weeks ago

"All the flap about dogs breaking on shot is just a bunch of useless stylistic necessity imposed by those who read too many books or watch too much You-tube."
Or it could be that people who train dogs for a living know what they are talking about. There are enough lists of why a dog steady to wing/shot makes a superior hunter on the web that it needs not really be brought up, but that argument can be silenced pretty fast since you can release the dog to retrieve as soon as you see the bird is a cripple, which with a broke dog will often happen at a closer range since you don't have to wait for the bird to clear the dog.

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from Ontario Honker ... wrote 1 year 19 weeks ago

Chris, that's nice if you hunt some private preserve with stocked birds that will sit long enough for you to kick them up off a dog's point. And if you hunt manicured open fields without much cover so you can see if the birds are crippled or not when they go down. In the stuff I have to hunt I can rarely see the bird after it hits the ground. Many that went down in a cloud of feathers were brought back to me still alive by my fast-breaking dog when I would have thought they'd be deader than a mackerel. There are some reasons for steady to shot but just as many, as I indicated above, for letting the dog break at shot. I will, for example, never hunt out of a layout blind with my labs, because they break at shot. It's too dangerous. But I wouldn't hunt out of one of those damned canvas coffins anyway. They are the definition of miserable hunting technique. I don't want birds that badly. Also, one must be careful pushing birds up out of ditches with a shot-breaking dog. But I don't mind waiting for the bird to clear the ditch and dog and, yes, sometimes I don't get a shot as a result. But I'd rather not get a shot at one rooster than lose several that I knocked down that get away because the dog is delayed pursuing them. And this is ESPECIALLY true for huns. Those fleet-footed little devils can flat dematerialize in an instant when knocked down crippled. Much more elusive than pheasants! If the dog isn't right on em they are lost.

As far as marking birds: my dogs have always marked birds very well even though they break at shot and, as I stated above, they are as often as not in a better position to do so simply because they break. Admittedly, these days I only field hunt. Hunting out of blinds over water might be a different matter, depending on the dog. An over anxious younger dog might be prone to diving in at the shot whether anything falls or not. However, most dogs with half a brain figure out soon enough that it's no fun getting cold and wet for no reason. They seem to learn naturally that it makes more sense to wait and see if a bird falls. While my dogs may take a quick romp out in the field if I shoot and miss geese, they will not jump in the water unless they see a bird on it.

Oh, and yes, any professional dog trainer will likely insist that dogs must be steady to shot. And why wouldn't they? Staying put after the shot IS NOT the dog's instinct. They have to be TRAINED to do this. And training dogs is what these guys get paid to do. It's called job security! Let's face it, except for a few unsafe situations cited above, being steady to shot is almost entirely about being pretty. I think we both know that.

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from pa pheasantman wrote 1 year 12 weeks ago

Roosters are tuff even the stocked ones after they have been in the field a few days. My brit usually holds his point about 75% of the time. On occasion when he points a bird and the bird creeps or runs off I tap him on his head and say O.K.and then he go in and flush the bird so I get a shot. I don,t know if this is good or bad but as one of the commenters said the purpose is to have fun as as already stated by one of the previous commenters I don't get a whole lot of chances at birds especially on public land.

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from masmith24 wrote 1 year 21 weeks ago

Hey clinch... since you are so damn superior to everyone here, why don't you go start your own blog where you talk down to all your readers and leave this one to us... the simple folk who hunt for fun...

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from SD Bob wrote 1 year 21 weeks ago

The answer is simple, do what you do and have fun! All that matters is you enjoy your time afield because as I found out this morning, your prized dog/friend won't be here forever! God Bless you Sammy!

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from Ontario Honker ... wrote 1 year 21 weeks ago

Nice to see you starting this thread, Chad. It's clearly taking off from another obscure location and it is a point well-worth discussing here.

I have only raised flushing labs my entire hunting life (nearly fifty years). That is until last year when I acquire a Brittany pup. I didn't really care if she evolved into much of a pointing dog. I got the pup because I needed to fill a void, having lost both my wife and son the previous year. My two labs were already wonderful bird dogs. Last season the pup was mostly along for the ride but did surprise me with a few unexpected points so I knew she had something in her. This season she continued working behind the flushing labs ... for the first couple of days. Then her better nose took over and she started isolating the birds quicker ahead of the labs. And lo and behold, she started nailing down the pheasants! So in semi-open country or cattail ditches I started holding the labs back and letting the pup work her magic. In some places I had to keep her working close because the birds were spooky and wouldn't hold well so I had to be up with her and ready. If they held tight for her, I would kick the labs loose and let them jump up the bird. Coral (the Britt) does not seem to be particularly interested in pushing the birds up and is happy to let the labs do it. She's not keen about retrieving yet but Opal (5 year old lab) hogs that aspect and always has.

The point here is that Opal has never stood on a barrel, never been hung on a long rope, never heard the word "whoa," never felt the sting of an e-collar, and learned hunting from flushers and an untrained owner. Yet there she is holding a pheasant not three feet away from me as still as a statue. I don't place a lot of stock in what fancy trainers or video-watching experts say is necessary to have a good bird dog. Success requires time, patience, and the ability to read the individual dog. No two dogs will learn the same way and any good trainer will agree. Opal was gang-busters on uplands at age three months. I have never heard of another pup starting so early. But I knew she was ready. I never expected Coral to be anything till at least her second season. That's just the way she read to me. She is coming along fine and that's fine with me. Like I said in the other thread, if she'd taken up flushing that's okay too. Much of the terrain I hunt, especially late in the season after the cows have been moved in and the snow falls, is necessarily in the real thick stuff. Only a flusher will work in there. But she has decided she wants to point ... so be it. I'll work with that too. Most importantly, Coral wants to sleep with me every night and lay on my feet as I write this. So really, I never cared if she amounted to anything as a bird dog or not. She loves me and I need that more than any dang birds.

By the way, all the dogs break at shot (as the one in the above photo) and I DO NOT HAVE A PROBLEM WITH THAT. My retrievers need every bit of advantage they can get if a rooster goes down crippled. One has to be careful about shooting at birds jumping up out of canals though. I have learned it's best to stay out of those low spots and let the dogs do the work. Sometimes I'll have to get in there to keep the dogs working, especially if it's a big low spot. All I can say is be VERY careful with breaking dogs in those situations. But they are relatively rare situations for me. And fortunately, hens are not legal in Montana so there's very little "reflex shooting" for pheasants.

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from BigJim wrote 1 year 21 weeks ago

I shoot whatever flies. At least then we get to work on retrieves!

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from Nathan Ryver wrote 1 year 21 weeks ago

How is it that a bot, spewing out dating sites can get to two stars faster than I can?

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from Nathan Ryver wrote 1 year 21 weeks ago

I think you let the dog sniff/play with the bird it points...and one it flushes, you don't let the dog have anything to do with..if its possible. I don't know...I've had two Springers, but have never had the birds where I live here in KY to train them effectivly.

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from Chris Link wrote 1 year 21 weeks ago

Teach the dog stop to flush, and the problem is solved.

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from Ontario Honker ... wrote 1 year 21 weeks ago

Haverod, I'm having trouble figuring out what point you're trying to make there. You're saying no to what exactly? You'll pass a shot because the dog broke point? And the dog figures out it did something wrong simply because you didn't shoot at the bird? My dogs could care less if I shoot at a bird or not. They're just interested in finding them. It's nice if I knock one down for them but I don't think they're shattered if I don't.

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from blevenson wrote 1 year 21 weeks ago

If it flies it dies, unless it is a hen of course.

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from pica112 wrote 1 year 21 weeks ago

Clinch,
I think the actual question that was asked was, Are you willing to shoot birds that are accidentally flushed or bumped? So when you have other posters saying yes they would shoot the birds because they want to have fun that statement is answering the question and I don’t believe anyone is being ignorant.
My opinion I would shoot any bird my dogs flushed or pointed. My reason for that is in Minnesota public land I can walk a lot of fields and only see the two rosters I shoot. I’m also not going to look down on anyone who will not shoot an accidentally flushed bird, because to them having their dog work perfect is more fun to watch then the shooting of the bird.

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from clinchknot wrote 1 year 21 weeks ago

HMMMMM Good question. I used to have a German Shorthair, but now have flushing labs, my young lab pointing them, but not great,,she will break point, but still a benefit to me as a shooter. I always listened to professional advice when I had the pointer, and was told to come into the dog pointing from the side so that the dog would see where I was, and not make the dog nervous, and flush the bird because I came in from directly behind the dog. But, dunno. I think the big work has to come useing pigeons, and steadying the dog on a leash/rope.

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from woolf1987 wrote 1 year 21 weeks ago

If you have a young dog i would proble think you need to reinforce the point but a seasoned dog you should be just fine shooting birds he bumps.

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from clinchknot wrote 1 year 21 weeks ago

And do you always know the dog "bumps" them? The bird holds the dog, not the other way around. A bird can move, and flush, and the dog move with the birds movement. Right?..or wrong?

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from clinchknot wrote 1 year 21 weeks ago

And I still ask an important quesion regarding pointing dogs.

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from Davidd wrote 1 year 21 weeks ago

I think with a younger dog you would focus on the fundamentals which would be the point With a veteran dog shot the flush or bump if it's there.

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from dale freeman wrote 1 year 21 weeks ago

As always, it depends on that particular dog.
You cannot train a dog if you don't know him (or her).

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from PA009 wrote 1 year 21 weeks ago

Clinchnot,
Since most hunting is done for fun (sport, etc.), does it not make sense that most of the responses are "have fun" responses? It all depends on perspective and opinion and that is what they have provided. Just my 2 cents...

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from clinchknot wrote 1 year 21 weeks ago

PA009...Since the author posed the topic question don't you think it would be wise to address the topic question?..or do you have trouble reading topic questions? The topic was a good one, and I asked a key question regarding bird movement, and how the pointing dog reacts. Then I get nothing but foolish responses. Of course you hunt for fun, and a big part of that fun can be good working hunting dogs performing well.

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from masmith24 wrote 1 year 21 weeks ago

I don't have the luxury of being picky... I'll shoot at anything my dog was near when it flushes... public land hunting in Ohio is extremely crowded, but it's all I've got, so I take advantage of the time in the field with my dog however I can. I always figured getting a retrieve was better than nothing at all, since we only get a small handful of those a year.

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from bberg7794 wrote 1 year 21 weeks ago

What Chris Link said, but it depends on the sophistication of the dog.

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from Ontario Honker ... wrote 1 year 21 weeks ago

Sorry, it should read "the point here is CORAL [not Opal] has never stood on a barrel ..." Just got home from Montana last night after 26 hours on the road. I'm a bit fried. I have three frozen birds to thaw and clean today. Gawdam, it was blistering cold those last couple of days! Some of the most miserable hunting I have ever endured (and I have seen some bad stuff!). But I wouldn't have missed it for the world. Can hardly wait for next year.

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from haverodwilltravel wrote 1 year 21 weeks ago

No.....in my state it's a two bird limit. I'll shoot my two....so why would I reward the dog, whether it's his fault or not.
If you do, it doesn't take long for the dog to start taking liberties.

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from Ontario Honker ... wrote 1 year 21 weeks ago

Another thing about this silly fussiness over pointing dogs flushing birds: What do you do if the pointer nails down a bird next to a clump of Russian olive or just inside a willow thicket? Are you going to crawl through that crap to kick up the bird? If so, you can just about forget getting a decent shot at it! It'll be around the other side before you can get any sort of shot that doesn't blow it to smithereens. I back away so I can get as clear a view as possible and then send the labs in to push up Coral's point. If it's a real sticky bird sometimes Opal will go on point too. And if Opal goes on point Pearl will usually honor it. So there I am on top of the cattail ditch standing in a freezing wind with Coral on point ten feet away, then Opal stoned up right next to her and Pearl on the other side of the ditch waiting for Coral or Opal to move. That Mexican standoff went on for several minutes with me hollering at them to "get em" and fingers about frozen to the metal before the bird finally blinked and Opal broke point. Thankfully it was a rooster and thankfully I did not miss an easy shot for a change!

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from Chris Link wrote 1 year 21 weeks ago

It's an easy answer to a question, you don't have to be rude. If you teach a pointer stop to flush, he will "point" when he bumps a bird and allow you to shoot bumped birds without turning him into a flusher.

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from Chris Link wrote 1 year 21 weeks ago

I wish you could edit comments...all a decent hunting dog really needs is to be steady to wing, honor, and stop to flush. If you have taught the dog the first two, you should be able to do stop to flush.

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from clinchknot wrote 1 year 20 weeks ago

I see your point now. But I still would like folks to get my point. The word "bumped" implies that the dog went in, and flushed the bird. That is often not the case, and especially with pheasants. They creep off, and the pointer naturally creeps of with the pheasant, and can flush on its own, and not the dog flushing it. The word "bumped" in that case is an inaccurate description. I took the topic to mean the dog made an error in performance causing the bird to flush, and that often isn't the case, Many dog owners think it is the dog that holds the bird, and that is not the case. Chris' comment avoids that understanding.

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from Ontario Honker ... wrote 1 year 20 weeks ago

Clinchknot: If the pointer doesn't push the bird then the bird shouldn't flush, ergo the dog is actually the one that is "nailing down" the bird by its (as in the DOG'S) actions. The bird is responding to the dog's actions. If the same bird is approached by my labs, it will flush BECAUSE THE LABS APPROACH IT DIFFERENTLY. If it was always a case of the bird holding the dog, then pheasants would be holding my labs as well as my Britt. But that almost never happens (Opal will occasionally point a pheasant if she has one in sight and it doesn't move). It almost never happens because as a flusher Opal does not instinctively approach the bird with the same stealth and caution as a true pointer.

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from Chris Link wrote 1 year 20 weeks ago

See, I see the word "bump" as a dog accidently runs over or by a bird it didn't see. In that case stop to flush allows you to shoot the bird w/o problems. If the dog self flushes or creeps and flushes the bird I wouldn't shoot.

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from Ontario Honker ... wrote 1 year 20 weeks ago

Why? The dog is not getting any kind of message if you shoot or don't shoot. This just makes no sense to me at all. And I know it's not going to make any sense to the dog either. A hunting dog is just out their for the joy of finding the bird. If the bird accidentally jumps up, oh well. If the dog doesn't get a chance to retrieve it, oh well. Retrieving is really secondary for dogs hunting uplands. Finding the birds is their primary objective. Heck, many pointing dogs aren't worth beans at retrieving anyway or are marginal at best. So how is keeping them from possibly retrieving a bird going to make any difference to their behavior? Sorry, I just don't get it.

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from clinchknot wrote 1 year 20 weeks ago

Ontario..I do not think that is true Ontario. Pheasants are now far more prone to run than flush. They move around, and flush wildly. In the last number of years a popular technique is to put blockers down at the end of a field because pheasants run, and flush ahead of the dogs. NO, a key point here is to recognize what a "bumped bird" is. My one dog with the best nose will move ahead (in high weeds), then turn, and hunt back, and back and forth, and back and forth, then the rooster flushes. That has happened often. AS soon as the dog hunts back and forth, I know there is a pheasant running around avoiding the dogs. Now I have flushing dogs, but they will do that to a pointer. It appears that Chad even considers every dog that moves ahead, and the rooster flushes out front that the dog "bumped" the rooster...far from true, and a point that should be understood. To Chris' point. When you approach a pointing dog, and back to my earlier point. You should not move in directly behind the dog. The dog is nervous enough without you not letting the dog know where you are. You should approach off to the side where the dog can see you, and know where you are. But good discussion. I had professional dog trainers tell me this years ago working with my shorthair...the bird holds the dog, not the other way around. That is why I went to flushers. When the heavy cover...much of it was eliminated via new farming practices, the birds would run, and the pointer would follow after them. That's when I wanted flushers that would work closer to me. But I can see the point made also that if the bird holds that a pointer that moves off point, and flushes the bird is probably going to do that again, and again, and many times they are working well out front of you, and out of gun range.

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from Ontario Honker ... wrote 1 year 20 weeks ago

This season the birds were quite spooky in most places I hunted. They usually get that way on publicly accessible land after the first two weeks, but this year it was particularly bad, probably because there just wasn't many birds. When they get cagey pheasants will often run if they can and that is a problem with my younger lab. She'll try to run after them. The Britt pup was starting to pick up on that and I had to work pretty hard to get them to stay in range. But after a week or so they were generally working where I wanted them. And without e-collars too. My feeling is that if the birds are rangey and prone to flush easily then it is up to the handler to keep the dogs in range whether they are pointers or flushers. Not all the birds are going to run and jump. The pointer can still hold some of them. I see no point in using pointers if one is forced to resort to blocking. Frankly, I'd load up and head home before I'd go that route. Different situations require different techniques and, yes, different breeds will work better for different situations.

Back to the major question of not shooting at bumped birds. I simply do not see any sort of message getting through to the dog. In every place I have hunted shooting hens is not legal. The pointer is going to point up a LOT of hens (usually many more than roosters) and sometimes they will be "bumped" accidentally. And of course no one is going to shoot at them. Then a rooster gets bumped and no one shoots at it either? Or a rooster stays tight and is shot at when it flies but missed. So, how is all that behavior supposed to register with the dog? Totally meaningless! It's inconsistent and inconsistency is the bane of dog training. As I said, failing to shoot at a bird is not going to be any kind of discipline measure just as shooting at one is any kind of positive reinforcement. That's just common sense. When a pointer is purposely flushing up birds, other more meaningful measures will have to be used to attempt to curb the behavior (if that's what is desired). If you don't shoot at birds in those situations, you just wasted an opportunity to fill your bag. And that's all you have accomplished.

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from clinchknot wrote 1 year 20 weeks ago

You can do it without e-collars. Mine make keeping my labs in range a breeze. And to re-inforce my point, and at the heart of this discussion on "bumping" I went to a u-tube on a pheasant hunt in South Dakota with Pheasants Forever Executives, and a sponsor of theirs, a dog food company reps. The dog food guys provided the dogs, several shorthair pointers. The property they hunted on was Pheasant Forever land they had developed. The land hunted was described for its quality..a burnt off weed field, and new favorable tall weeds established. A shorthair would go on point, the guy would say, "an there is an honor from the other shorthair...then the dog would move, and the Rep would say "whoa-whoa", and the dog would creep. The guy was constantly saying "Whoa" and the dogs creep off. Then the Rep would say, "we've got running birds in front of us"..and then a flush. Now you know those dogs were top quality pointers provided on the hunt. The best pheasant holding birds I ever had were in stubble corn fields in Eastern WA. and lots of snow on the ground. Birds would bury in the bent over corn/snow, and you could watch the dog go on point, and see the rooster's tail feathers extending out of the snow. Flat scary to walk up (off to the side), and have the rooster bust out of the snow close to you. Sometimes you would have to kick it up. And those were the days. My wife dropped many a rooster using her ltwt. Ithaca m12 ga model 37.

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from clinchknot wrote 1 year 20 weeks ago

And my friend that has 3 brittany pointers often has a problem. One will point, and one of the other two will not honor the point, and bust in and flush the bird. Now you have a problem like the question asks. And these Brittanies cover some ground, and the old owner ends up running through the field sometimes taking shots at a bird that flushed out beyond 30 yds away. But some of you are going to say, "that's fine, that's my shot for the day?"

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from Mark-1 wrote 1 year 20 weeks ago

My observation is a very good pointing dog will point 50%, and flush the other 50%. To believe and expect 100% solid on point is fanciful. The factors are fluid in the field, but:

Young dogs range fast, pushing birds to flush. They will slow down and use their noses more as they age.

Grouse will not stand crowding, and easily bump/flush.

Wild pheasants will run, circle, and use any underhanded trick to throw a pointing dog off. These birds IMHO demand a faster, more ranging dog. Flushes/bumps should be expected, as well as broken points as a pheasant creeps away from dog on point.

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from Ontario Honker ... wrote 1 year 20 weeks ago

Well put, Mark. Sounds like you have a lot more experience than I do. I'm getting maybe a bit better than 50/50 points vs flushes from my little Britt. But, as you said, conditions in the field seem to affect the ratio considerably. So what's your take on shooting at bumped birds? I presume you'll take the shot.

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from clinchknot wrote 1 year 20 weeks ago

Mark-1 Good post. I just talked to a dog trainer on that subject. He says, Yes, and no. A real good veteran dog, pointing dog like you identified knows how far to move in...how close to creep when a bird moves off. And the guy says he has watched his buddies exceptional pointer, point a rooster in a smaller patch of cattails, know that the bird is moving to exit out the other side, and move around the cattails, and face the rooster on the other side. Depends on the situation then. And the Pheasants Forever guys identified the different kinds of cover that both types of dogs are best working in. The tall weed cover is ideal for the pointing breeds, and the day before they hunted with labs in cattail cover where they were super at flushing, and retrieving. And that is what I do with my flushers/labs. If my area has been hunted, I head for the cattails where my old dog is super, at flushing, and retrieving.

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from Chris Link wrote 1 year 20 weeks ago

Dogs aren't dumb, if you shoot birds that they creep and flush they will figure out that they get a bird in their mouth either way, so there is no reason to hold point. On the flipside, if they crowd birds and watch them fly away, they will learn they need to lock up as soon as they hit the scent cone, or they won't get birds in their mouth.

That's the downside of a pointer; you can have a wider ranging dog, but if you want a steady dog you won't be able to shoot all the birds you see. If all you want to do is kill birds, you're much better off having a close working flusher.

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from Chris Link wrote 1 year 20 weeks ago

"And my friend that has 3 brittany pointers often has a problem. One will point, and one of the other two will not honor the point, and bust in and flush the bird. Now you have a problem like the question asks. And these Brittanies cover some ground, and the old owner ends up running through the field sometimes taking shots at a bird that flushed out beyond 30 yds away. But some of you are going to say, "that's fine, that's my shot for the day?""
A better approach would be to do yard work before hunting so they honor properly, but that's a whole other story.

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from clinchknot wrote 1 year 20 weeks ago

Not really Chris..you are far off point. Dogs are dumb...dumb when it comes to cognitive thought. Here is an example of what my dog trainer guy said regarding honoring another dogs point. He said a dog trainer might use a dummy dog, a sylloette type look alike dog, and put a bird out, and the dummy pointing on a planted bird..probably a pigeon like I use to use. Then they let the dog needing the trainging out of a rig on a lead rope, hold him back allowing him to move in at the right distance, and say "WHOA!" pulling on the rope. Then, he says, it is just a matter of repititon, after repition. So it ain't smarts. A lot of dogs will never learn being they are allowed to make the same mistake over, and over, and over. There is nothing like professional training. Most can't afford it, and put up with lots of poor dog performance in the field. I've eliminated the biggest problem I've had in the past, and that is through the use of e-collars. Most amateurs don't even realize that the training method has to be enforced IMMEDIATELY. They think that minutes later when they get the dog at hand, they can scold the dog, and the dog is smart enough to realize what they did wrong minutes previously. You could make a funny U-tube out of amateurs in the field with their "smart" bird dogs. Been there, done that.

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from Chris Link wrote 1 year 20 weeks ago

Using "whoa" to make a dog point is mistake number one.

If you want to develope a reliable dog fast you should look into practitioners of the west method, and Dave Walker in particular. Hes the one who sold me the pup in my picture, and his training methods have resulted in ~3000 field trial placements.

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from clinchknot wrote 1 year 20 weeks ago

No it isn't!!.... refuting your number one being totally wrong. That is a command to use to make a dog to STOP! That dog is not on point!..that dog needs to honor. Whoa was the same command the pros used on the U-tube I mentioned when a bird would creep off, and the dog would then creep! If this Dave Walker is good, you definitely need to buddy up with the guy,and learn a lot more about bird dogs...they ain't "smart" They have instincts, but not smarts, and need training that most amateurs do not undertand how, or why they should be used. And a dog will creep if the bird creeps.

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from Chris Link wrote 1 year 20 weeks ago

Using the whoa command for anything other than stopping a dog when he isn't around birds is one of the biggest training mistakes anyone makes.
If you train a dog right from the get go, and use birds to teach him to point and not the "whoa" command, teaching a dog to honor isn't hard at all.

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from clinchknot wrote 1 year 20 weeks ago

But the question is the dog that does have a problem honoring! Whoa means to stop, and not bust in. The command does mean to stop, and the tug on the lead rope enhances that command. And in this case he is around a bird...another dog's bird!..and he needs to honor it. I have an older dog right now that won't honor my other, younger labs retrieve...takes it away from her, and ticks me off because the younger dog will not make the tough retrieve over a water ditch, and up over the bank like my older dog will. But that's an amateurs problem that I have, and something I can work on hopefully..something I put up with by not spending a lot of money on a pro. And I don't want to do that. My dogs are basically my buddies, good friends, sleep inside not out in a kennel etc., etc., but they have got me lots of birds over the years. And I call them "Smart", but like you should know, they are not "smart."

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from Chris Link wrote 1 year 20 weeks ago

Not human smart no. My orginal point before we drifted was that dogs are smart as hunters, if you teach them that by holding point they get a bird in their mouth, they will be staunch pointers. If you shoot birds for them they bust, they have no reason to hold point. The problem is people either don't train their dogs well, or train em in ways that don't work well, ie the "whoa" command for pointing and backing.

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from Ontario Honker ... wrote 1 year 20 weeks ago

I guess I have the best of both worlds. I can keep my Britt working close if I want. She is not interested in retrieving right now so she's not going to get any gratification from bumping a bird and have the other dog bring it in if I shoot it. As I said, she is perfectly content to stay on point and let the other dogs put up her bird. As far as a dog not knowing what it's done wrong long after the deed is done, that's just fiction. I train my dogs to come back to the whistle and my arm pointing down to my side. This is done long before we get to the field. And they get the business end of a rolled up newspaper or my hand if they ignore it. They figure it out very quickly on walks, in the park, etc. Once I'm in the field hunting and I whistle and a dog doesn't come back immediately, when she finally does return it's with her tail between her legs. They know.

The intelligence of dogs varies. With a lot of time and money expended, some really marginally intelligent hunting dogs can be conditioned to work reasonably well. Then there's dogs that quite frankly know what you're thinking without being told. There is no set way to teach hunting dogs. It must be tailored to fit each individual dog.

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from clinchknot wrote 1 year 20 weeks ago

I'd sure like to tell those two food company reps that I'm sure the company paid a hansome fee for their dogs on the show, and then had them professioally trained, and they did perform well on the show, that there's a guy on this blog that says they are doing the wrong thing when on of their dogs creeps off because the bird is creeping off by saying "Whoa" And the dog honoring shouldn't move in as close as the dog who went on point I do not think. That is why the guy probably wants to say Whoa while pulling on the cord before it gets as close as the dog who first went on point. Not a pointing dog owner anymore, and never did hunt with two pointers so I am not sure, but think that would be the case.

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from Chris Link wrote 1 year 20 weeks ago

A good deal of famous dog trainers use silent commands and don't use whoa to force dogs to point . Bill West, Brad Higgins, Dave Walker, Mo Lindy, Bill Gibbons, Martha Greenly. Names ring a bell?

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from clinchknot wrote 1 year 20 weeks ago

"force dogs to point" There is no forcing involved. What the reps were doing was easing the dog as it crept forward because the bird was on the move, and in the case of honoring it was used to not allow, or train the dog to not go in close to another dogs point. None of those names I recognize. I was a Walter's guy strictly because he took the time to use positive re-inforcement, and a lot of trainers use negative re-inforcement for "time is monies sake." I've been told that when someone pays money they want to see positive results early on, and negative reinforcement does that...but not with my dog. But I don't read literature from a lot of dog trainers. And I do not want a field trial pointer that ranges way out. I want flushers that work close to me. I hunt with my dogs unlike a lot of upland hunters. But if you know these guys, I am sure they know what they are doing. And I am sure that both guys that I talked to today for one, and the others I watched on the video knew what they were doing when they said "whoa"

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from Chris Link wrote 1 year 20 weeks ago

You should take a look at those trainers then. If you like positive reinforcement, Walker is the real deal. Most of his training involves petting and very low level E collar levels to train, and his main correction is spinning the dog. Hes in the bird dog hall of fame for a reason.

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from clinchknot wrote 1 year 20 weeks ago

Here's a name drop for you. I sold the guy dog food who provided the dogs used on one of the very first American Sportsman's Shows that was viewed on the main channels. Burt Carlson of Carlson Kennels. They were hunting chuckar in Hells Canyon on the Snake River. One of his dog trainers, I knew very well, being he was a steelheader like myself. My close friend took his shorthair to be trained by Burt's trainers. My buddy had a super male shorthair, and they offered to buy it from him. My buddies dog began peeing blood...caused, he found out, by the trainer kicking the dog in the stomach. When I brought it up to the trainer he told me about negative re-inforcement, and the need to "break the dog down" letting it know who was boss, and how it related to getting paid. Never did like the guy after that.

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from Mark-1 wrote 1 year 20 weeks ago

@All: I'll shoot at any bird I get a shot at. My goal is to see the dog's gratification for his efforts. So I'm in Chad's 2nd group.

-In the discussion I see folks forgetting dogs aren't machines. They have good days, bad days, days they don’t have the energy, days where it all comes together. Dogs ARE INTELLIGENT. Any animal that can dream creates and conceptualizes.

This being my belief, I don’t want my dogs figuring I’m wasting their time. So, I will shoot at bump/flushed birds over my pointing dogs and expect this to be so. I’ve noticed as my setter dogs* aged and gain experience they would hold more birds down on solid points within gun range.

I hold concerns on bumping/flushing are more a dog owner problem being impatient and demanding a pointing dog machine at three-years old or younger resulting in, that dog being smarter than you give credit, stylized, solid FALSE points.

A bird dog is a long term deal measured in years. You get exactly what you put into the dog. Nothing=nothing. Wisdom=wisdom. Hunting smarts=hunting smarts, loyalty=loyalty. Etc.

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from clinchknot wrote 1 year 20 weeks ago

Mark-1..You are right, and unfortunately many upland bird dogs are more intelligent than their owners.

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from clinchknot wrote 1 year 20 weeks ago

Mark-1.. Some gunners like to be good at what they do, and enjoy hunting as an effetive, efficient team. The way you discribe things, your dog would bust in and flush a hen pheasant, then chase it over the horizon flushing roosters as it disappeared over the horizon. No thanks. I owe it to not only my dogs to train them well, but to other hunters in the vacinity to not ruin their hunt. And no, you shouldn't have to wait years down the road for your dog to respond well in the field. My last two dogs hunted their first year before they were one year old, and responded well...well enough that I expected our team to perform decently.

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from Ontario Honker ... wrote 1 year 20 weeks ago

I don't think Mark would be the kind of guy to let his dogs run amok. He clearly knows what he's doing and appears to have a fine dog. The way he does things may be different than my method of training dogs but I accept that it's a constant learning process. His knowledge base seems to be more extensive than just You-tube videos and gun store banter. And he appears to be hunting with something more than a "black mutt." If anything, that tells me he is very serious about what he's doing. Clinchknot/Sayfu, if you haven't hunted with the guy or haven't mastered the crystal ball, don't be telling him what he and his dogs are doing wrong. You do this a lot and it's not very productive. I want to hear what Mark has to say. His thoughts and suggestions are helpful and constructive. Don't run him off.

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from clinchknot wrote 1 year 20 weeks ago

Nice try Ontario..My point is you go to professional opinion just not life long experiences. Learning the hard way like you seem to have done, can be avoided in many cases by getting good advice. You have to distinguish good info from bad info. That can be a problem for many. I take it all in. When I watch a professional video, and get good commentary from the best in the business, I can apply it to my situation with conviction. The guy in the sporting goods store is a trainer that works for a big dog trainer in my area. There is also another professional dog trainer in my Sportsman's Warehouse that trains dogs that I often stop and talk to even in the field. He is the guy that advised my on a good e-collar, and tips on using it. When I acquired my "Black Mutt" who is an incredible bird dog as I have described, I had just gone through a divorce, and had relocated with limited resources to buy a papered bird dog. I got this guy from the pound. And if there ever was a case for buying a dog from the pound, and not needed to spend a lot of money on a papered bird dog of pedigree, my Black Mutt is a great example. And he hunted before he was one year old, and performed well at that age with the exception of his agression to get out of range. That was solved with the e-collar. What I reacted to him on was his misguided statements regarding bird dogs. His dog is going to bump birds with impunity, and he expects age to correct that fault as I read it. And I do take very seriously avoiding another hunters experience to be a bad one because of the bad behavior of my dogs.

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from Ontario Honker ... wrote 1 year 20 weeks ago

My mistake ... seems I confused Mark with Chris. Sorry guys.

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from clinchknot wrote 1 year 20 weeks ago

And Ontario. Didn't you say you were a teacher?..a wrestling coach? Were you a classromm teacher as well? I would think that you had a thirst for leaning other than just your own experiences. Experiences are a major aspect, but nothing like having a good foundation of learning from knowlegeable folks. Chris impressed me with his knowledge of reputable dog training techniques by the pros. You haven't seemed to even want to learn good shotgun shooting techniques from your posts, and a noted absence in discussing the subject. Personal experience though is certainly a major factor, and NO ONE on these threads has been afield as much as myself, and my Black Mutt as I call him. I will just say that without even knowing anyone elses time afield. I live close by to great upland hunting. The Black Mutt, and I start out hunting every day in Sept shooting doves. Even in bad seasons where they quickly migrate through there are resident doves we shoot, and farmers allow me to shoot pigeons around their barns for training purposes. Then we hunt huns all the time after dove season ends, on to pheasants at least 4 times a week until the end of Nov. I hunted a number of days for sharptail, and a day for Sage Grouse. I even run them on cottontails until the end of Feb. shooting huns as well at the same time until that season ends at the end of Jan. And that Black Mutt has done that for 11 years! Do the math. It is an incredible number of days afield.

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from Ontario Honker ... wrote 1 year 20 weeks ago

Hmmm. A guy who doesn't even own a pointing dog, but rather has been hunting over his fabulous dog pound flusher for the past eleven years is telling three guys who have actually trained their own pointers what they're doing wrong? And you can do that because ... you watched a video? I enjoy learning. In fact I have made a lifetime career of it. But I generally try to select qualified teachers. And I tend to be cautious about using secondary sources. Not very useful, particularly in my line of work.

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from clinchknot wrote 1 year 20 weeks ago

Is English your 2nd language? I told you I use to hunt shorthairs. I told you where I get my info from on Pointers, and that was the video experts, and dog trainers themselves. I asked the question about "what a bump was, adn you went silent. Then when you did mention about it you had it wrong. And I have told you I have a purebred lab that does point. And you enjoy learning, brag about training your dogs, and don't even realize the best time for a dog to learn is IMMEDIATELY when something takes place for the dog. That is why dog trainers use lead ropes, and e-collars. Experts who are pros in their line of work are "secondary sources that aren't very useful to you?" Wow! Like I stated. You have to be smart enough to evaluate the info you get from your secondary sources.

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from Mark-1 wrote 1 year 20 weeks ago

@All: Owned and trained English Setters for decades. Now using Brits. Not many dogs, but enough. Other:

Takes as much time to train a flusher as a pointer IMHO. Same college different fraternity.

Yes, in those mysterious lapses my dogs have chased birds WAY beyond gun range. Expected. These dogs aren’t machines. I found it’s extremely difficult to call any dog off a running bird. Difficulty is when the dog does return to command not to be brutal making “come” a suspicious command.

I’ve seen dogs heavily disciplined HIDE in the brush/grass too fearful to return to the owner. These poor dogs just follow the screaming owner keeping out of sight. …Not a good situation for anyone.

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from haverodwilltravel wrote 1 year 20 weeks ago

My point is I don't have a problem finding and shooting two pheasants (the limit in my state) most of the time. Hell, there are days I could put up 50, the same with woodcock (3 bird limit) ....so why would I bother with taking any shot other than the perfect scenario?

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from Ontario Honker ... wrote 1 year 20 weeks ago

I see your point now, Haverod. No sense in filling the bag too soon if hunting is that good.

I agree with you Mark, it's tough to call a dog off a runner. Can be pretty much hopeless with my lab Opal. The discipline must fit the dog that's for sure. It's often a delicate call. I'll pull the culprit in behind me for a while as the other dogs continue to work. That's cruel enough. Eventually I'll let her go with a word of encouragement and a gentle push. And she's off happy enough. I'll very quickly test her with the whistle as a reminder. Discipline is fine as long as it's tempered with positive reenforcement. When the dogs set me up I really let them know how pleased I am, even if it's just a hen. If they run too far ahead and put one up, I let them know about that too. One of the things I have learned is that when they're hot on a bird I need to keep reminding them where I am with the whistle. At the end of the season I was pleased to see the pup was doing a pretty good job of keeping track of me while she was working. She is showing a lot of promise. My first Brittany and I am impressed.

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from clinchknot wrote 1 year 20 weeks ago

Mark I Mine also! Here is an incredible story on a pointer I had, a German Shorthair that chased birds. He chased a hen over the horizon once, and I lost him for a long time frame. Then I see him down a dry gulch some 150 yds. behind the farm house. I get up to him, and a hen flushes angling into the sun, and towards one of those long storage sheds that are cement block on the bottom, and a shiny, galvanized aluminum roof. I watch that hen rise above the cement, and smack dead on into the triangle back of that shiny aluminum roof. Make it up to the shed, and there lies a dead hen. I look around, and where is my shorthair? I lost it again. I end up back at the deep, weedy ditch, and there is my shorthair again on point! I approach him, and up gets another hen, and an instant replay! The hen flies the same path, and crashes into the same galvanized shiny roof, and lays dead just like the other hen! The sun had to blind the birds. But e-collars have now stopped that. My wife and I shot plenty of roosters over that shorthair, but plenty of grief as well...live and learn. Now I have e-collars. And difficult to call a dog off of chasing another dog, chasing a deer, headed for crossing a busy street way.....but not with my e-collars! I use low stimulation, and with the female only have to use the beeeeper feature. But I also have a feature where I can hit the low stimulus button, and at the same time hit the main button below it, and DOUBLE the stimulation in those dangerous situations, and prevent it from happening. Sorry to get on you Mark, but you brought back some very stessful situations my wife, and I had. And when I got upset, it made life no fun for my hunting partner, my wife!

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from clinchknot wrote 1 year 20 weeks ago

I've got a young, female, papered, chocolate lab. I have described her before. She ranges out in front using the wind to her advantage, and can really cover ground well. Stays in range with a verbal command, as well as the e-collar beeeper, and points birds at first for a second, or two, then flushes. This happened within the last two weeks...bird runs ahead of us on a dirt access rod, and my female (3 yrs old) begins the chase. I verbally call her back, and she follows me to where the rooster ducked into the weeds next to a cattail, waterway slew next to the access way. I send her in, and up gets the rooster. Point is, I can call her back from chasing. My older, aggressive male? Probably have to low stimulate him to get him to stop, or slow to where I could catch up. And he was the one that swam the slew, through the cattails up over a high bank into a tall weed field, and came swimming back with the rooster. My female won't make that tough retrieve...not yet anyway.

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from clinchknot wrote 1 year 20 weeks ago

I guarantee you that Brittanies can be a coin flip. Can be very bullheaded, and very hard to prevent from ranging way out, our running game. My buddy has spent the bucks having his trained, and trained it himself. He's lost his for hours chasing antelope, you name it. He has to put a long range locator beeper on his Brittany. And that isn't the only Brittany I know that takes off and out of sight from the getgo.

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from Mark-1 wrote 1 year 20 weeks ago

@Clinchknot: My experience and observations are Brits accept training well. The dogs I've seen and own are slower and work closer than setters. That's nice being on wrong side of 60. There are always exceptions, although.

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from clinchknot wrote 1 year 20 weeks ago

My darn computer shutdown, but I had copied two different discriptions of Brittanies, one from a Field and Stream Magazine, and another from Pheasants Forever Mag., and neither supports my contention. They say Britts are easy to train, and easy to keep in range. I must have been referring to just my friends Brittany, and he has a real problem. Here is where his difficulties can stem from. He comes up to flyfish with me all Summer long coming up from the Phoenix area, and keeps his Britt in a kennel in a small community in the wilds, and the dog doesn't get out much...only when it digs out, and then runs for miles with another dog!! It has done this several times, and someone will call from miles away saying they have his dog! He then tells me he has to take the day off to run up and get it. It has done that several times now! I would say that is his problem.

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from Ontario Honker ... wrote 1 year 20 weeks ago

The key difference that I see between my Brittany and most pointers/setters I have hunted with is that she genuinely has a desire to please. All the time. Her instinct is clearly to want to work all over the place but her desire to please me makes it easy to keep her close if I need to. The difficulty for her was that she associated the acceptable distance to be simply in sight of me. In heavy cover she worked close but in open fields or sagebrush she'd range much further. If the birds aren't so spooky then that's not such an issue. But they were easily flushed this year mostly because of few birds, heavy hunting, and early snowfall. So she had to learn to work at a given distance rather than just in sight. It was a tough thing for the poor stinker to grasp. But she's definitely in love with me and wears her heart on her sleeve. That vulnerability can work well for the handler who has the heart to break hearts ... once in a while (and readily mends them again later). On the other hand, I have hunted with several GSPs and wire-haired pointers that seem to be quite aloof as far as their desire to please the handler. I suspect it's because most (but not all) of them were kenneled dogs. It is easier to develop a bonding relationship with dogs raised in the home and its easier to have no bond with a dog stuck in a kennel. My lab Opal, who was raised in the house, is a great dog but she is an intense hunter first and my pal second. She's the most independent of the three dogs. Definitely thicker-skinned. She gives her love to me on her terms not mine. So she has to be handled differently. Fortunately she's a real sucker for treats and that's how I got her going in the right direction as a pup. She now knows what she's doing and is beyond the treat stage. She responds better to discipline when it's needed (which really isn't that often). I shudder to think how she would have turned out if she'd been a kenneled dog. Undoubtedly would be a useless pain in the ass in the field.

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from clinchknot wrote 1 year 20 weeks ago

One might google up Brittanies/upland bird dogs, and read the descriptive segments on Britanies from GUN DOG Mag. I get GUN DOG and where my thoughts on Brittanies came from I think. They have a very comprehensive description of Brittanies, and the author has owned them, and makes a distinction from the French Brittany (that can be black and white colored) and the American breed. His French bred Brittanies ranged out wide like they were raised to do for poachers, and would chase deer, run rabbits, and a variety of game. American breed Brittanies are more inclined to follow, or stay near walking man.

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from Ontario Honker ... wrote 1 year 20 weeks ago

Coral is a French Brittany. I believe you may have things mixed up. According to the breeder who sold me my pup, the American variety is being bred larger and rangier. Just looking at the dogs of both varieties that he had in his kennels seemed to confirm what he was saying. Many of the old guard Brittany fans are apparently not pleased with this direction and are eagerly taking to the French Brittany breed. Brittany Spaniels (though they ARE NOT spaniels) were originally bred by French poachers to be small and range CLOSE so that if a gamekeeper showed up the dog could be called in quickly and quietly, scooped up, and carted off. Not so easily done with a hard-headed large setter running all over the place.

Also, last I knew bi-colored dogs only are recognized by the AKC (whether black/brown/liver and white). The UKC recognizes the French Brittany breed and tri-colored dogs. As you can see, Coral is a tri-color. I had no choice in the matter because I only got what was left in the litter - I picked up a canceled order. Was VERY surprised and delighted that I wound up with one of the few tri-colored females. As I understand it, the French Brittany also has webbed toes for swimming and the American variety does not.

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from clinchknot wrote 1 year 20 weeks ago

I easily could get them mixed up given I couldn't copy the hyperlink on this stupid F & E format! So then I had to try and relate what I read, and could have had them mixed up. A dog I've seen several times now this season in the field is a Luwellyn Setter. I always ask the onwer if they ever watched the popular upland bird show, "Hunting with Hank"...Hank was an exceptional dog, and many upland hunters tha watched the show wanted to get a Luwellyn because of Hanks expertise. I even knew a school teacher in WA ST. that bought one out of Tennessee after watching the show, and he didn't hunt.

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from Chris Link wrote 1 year 20 weeks ago

Ontario more or less has it right, aside from tricolors, depending on what he calls a tricolor. AKC show rules allows orange/white, Liver/white, and tricolors that are liver/white with orange eyebrows, but those are "discouraged".
Whats weird/annoying is that the AKC doesn't differentiate between french and american dogs, so for a hunting dog of you can get any range between the shaggy, close working french dogs or the large, wider ranging, short coated field trail dogs(like mine..).

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from clinchknot wrote 1 year 20 weeks ago

Here is a paragraph note of what the author in GUN DOG had to say. He has been a Brittany owner for 40 yrs.
"To make another generalization, French Brits tend to work closer because they’re bred to hunt with a walking hunter, while American Brits range wider, often in field trials with horse-mounted hunters. We’ve had two exceptionally wide-ranging Brits over the years. One was an American Brit, the other a French. So much for generalization. Both ran with the pointers and all too often tried to fly with the birds." That is why I said it was a "coin flip" when yu get a Brittany. It had to come from my Gun Dog Magazine.

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from Ontario Honker ... wrote 1 year 20 weeks ago

If the guy hunted his Britts with other breeds of pointers, I don't know what he expected. Of course they'll both fly with the other dogs. Duh!

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from clinchknot wrote 1 year 20 weeks ago

My buddies Brittany will run with whatever wants to run with him...jack rabbits, antelope. My friend has a one mile range locator, and his Britt has gone beyond that limit. He goes back to the rig, sits and waits. The dog has always come back. Don't know how he did this season though. He hunts quail in the Phoenix area starting in Nov. when it cools down enough. And this season there are very few quail around according to my friend. I'm still huntin..hunted huns today, but didn't see any. Young lab flushed a jack rabbit, and wanted to chase it...beeper stopped her, and back to lookin for Huns. Hard to beat those e-collars. You can't be noisy blowing whistles and yellin if your huntin huns. They'll run, and flush at 50 yrds.

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from clinchknot wrote 1 year 20 weeks ago

Here is why you don't want your dog breaking, and chasing on the shot..you want them to SEE where a bird has gone down, and be in a better position to retrieve it. Old Black Mutt does that exceptionally well. My young chocolate female?..not so good. WE work on it all the time getting her to "stay" and watch when the bird is thrown out...but here is another problem, and one that dog trainers have confirmed for me. Many of todays purebred gun dogs because of their breeding, are very hyper-sensitive, high strung dogs now. Another reason I SMILE :) when I see Old Black Mutt perform so well in the field.

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from Ontario Honker ... wrote 1 year 19 weeks ago

The dog breaking on shot taboo is one of the most durable dog trainers' myth out there. As often as not my dogs are in a better position to see a pheasant go down when they are breaking. It might be a different matter for some retriever sitting on the edge of a duck blind. But it sure isn't the case in the field where a dog is pushing up birds from variable cover. A pheasant that takes flight out of a clump of Russian olive, for example, is going to be lost from sight of a dog that's still frozen on the other side of the jackpot till it can be released. And ANY dog that hesitates in ANY field conditions is liable to lose a crippled pheasant when it hits the ground without instantaneous pursuit. Dog better be right on that bird or it can disappear. I have no idea how those roosters can turn off the scent when they're crippled but we have all seen it countless times. And I have seen it when my best lab is two feet behind one that dodges into the tulies. If she has to wait more than a split second longer than necessary, the odds increase greatly that we'll lose it. All the flap about dogs breaking on shot is just a bunch of useless stylistic necessity imposed by those who read too many books or watch too much You-tube.

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from Chris Link wrote 1 year 19 weeks ago

"All the flap about dogs breaking on shot is just a bunch of useless stylistic necessity imposed by those who read too many books or watch too much You-tube."
Or it could be that people who train dogs for a living know what they are talking about. There are enough lists of why a dog steady to wing/shot makes a superior hunter on the web that it needs not really be brought up, but that argument can be silenced pretty fast since you can release the dog to retrieve as soon as you see the bird is a cripple, which with a broke dog will often happen at a closer range since you don't have to wait for the bird to clear the dog.

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from Ontario Honker ... wrote 1 year 19 weeks ago

Chris, that's nice if you hunt some private preserve with stocked birds that will sit long enough for you to kick them up off a dog's point. And if you hunt manicured open fields without much cover so you can see if the birds are crippled or not when they go down. In the stuff I have to hunt I can rarely see the bird after it hits the ground. Many that went down in a cloud of feathers were brought back to me still alive by my fast-breaking dog when I would have thought they'd be deader than a mackerel. There are some reasons for steady to shot but just as many, as I indicated above, for letting the dog break at shot. I will, for example, never hunt out of a layout blind with my labs, because they break at shot. It's too dangerous. But I wouldn't hunt out of one of those damned canvas coffins anyway. They are the definition of miserable hunting technique. I don't want birds that badly. Also, one must be careful pushing birds up out of ditches with a shot-breaking dog. But I don't mind waiting for the bird to clear the ditch and dog and, yes, sometimes I don't get a shot as a result. But I'd rather not get a shot at one rooster than lose several that I knocked down that get away because the dog is delayed pursuing them. And this is ESPECIALLY true for huns. Those fleet-footed little devils can flat dematerialize in an instant when knocked down crippled. Much more elusive than pheasants! If the dog isn't right on em they are lost.

As far as marking birds: my dogs have always marked birds very well even though they break at shot and, as I stated above, they are as often as not in a better position to do so simply because they break. Admittedly, these days I only field hunt. Hunting out of blinds over water might be a different matter, depending on the dog. An over anxious younger dog might be prone to diving in at the shot whether anything falls or not. However, most dogs with half a brain figure out soon enough that it's no fun getting cold and wet for no reason. They seem to learn naturally that it makes more sense to wait and see if a bird falls. While my dogs may take a quick romp out in the field if I shoot and miss geese, they will not jump in the water unless they see a bird on it.

Oh, and yes, any professional dog trainer will likely insist that dogs must be steady to shot. And why wouldn't they? Staying put after the shot IS NOT the dog's instinct. They have to be TRAINED to do this. And training dogs is what these guys get paid to do. It's called job security! Let's face it, except for a few unsafe situations cited above, being steady to shot is almost entirely about being pretty. I think we both know that.

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from pa pheasantman wrote 1 year 12 weeks ago

Roosters are tuff even the stocked ones after they have been in the field a few days. My brit usually holds his point about 75% of the time. On occasion when he points a bird and the bird creeps or runs off I tap him on his head and say O.K.and then he go in and flush the bird so I get a shot. I don,t know if this is good or bad but as one of the commenters said the purpose is to have fun as as already stated by one of the previous commenters I don't get a whole lot of chances at birds especially on public land.

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from clinchknot wrote 1 year 21 weeks ago

Why can't any of you address a key point?..the reason being you don't know the answer it appears. THE BIRD!...it holds the dog, NOT the dog holding the bird! That is a key point, and you don't have to write a book like some do to answer it! If the bird creeps off, the dog will creep off with it, and the bird can flush, and that is NOT "bumping the bird!" The key to this discussion should be having a good bird dog, and recognizing a good dogs reactions. Folks that don't care, and the "just have fun, and shoot what flies" posts are worthless in my opinion. Good subject, but ruined by folks that are clueless.

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from clinchknot wrote 1 year 21 weeks ago

mansmith...far from the truth. I just like good info exchanged, and you sure don't get it on these threads. The question was "bumping the bird"...you didn't seem to get it, and also don't even understand what bumping the bird even means. I wasn't sure either, and wanted a knowledgeable poster to comment on that subject, as it is the heart of the topic. And then all I get are comments from you folks that do things for fun, seemingly enjoying your ignorance. Other blogs that have knowledgeable posters, or folks that ask legitimate questions there is no need to talk down anyone.

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from clinchknot wrote 1 year 21 weeks ago

GAWD what a braindead bunch of posters. Isn't there anyone that knows anything about the dog/bird relationship, or anything about pointing dogs? How can we start another blog, and get some knowledgable posters on the thread?...the question gets begged, and then we get the "have fun" response...incredible the ignorance on this blog.

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