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  #1  
Old 12-02-2018, 6:17 PM
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Default Pup going on her first Pheasant hunt tomorrow

I'm not much of an upland hunter but for some reason Pheasant get me amped up. Maybe because I don't chase them often so it's something new. Maybe because they taste so damn good.

My buddy was drawn 3 times in 3 years for a limited draw Pheasant hunt in California's central valley. I'm convinced he's doing some "special" favors for someone at DFG because they only pick 5 people for the hunt. Tim, if you're reading this, I'm on to you, lol!

First year was my older lab's first Pheasant hunt. Having only been on waterfowl and a handful of dove, he surprised me and knew exactly what to do. He winded and flushed 7 or 8 roosters (8 flushes, but one may have been the same bird twice) and I went home with a limit. Last year I was sick as heck and couldn't join him. This year I'm bringing my older lab and my youngest pup, and it'll be the pup's first Pheasant hunt. She's doing surprisingly well on upland, but she still hasn't built up the confidence and experience to work a scent in the sweet spot distance where she's inside shooting range, but not at a firm heel. She will run a little too far, and I'll call her back and then she will hold a tight heel, so I tell her to search and she puts her nose down and repeats the process. A few more times out and I think she will get it figured out. She's looking back periodically to take note of where I am. I'm happy with that for her age, and I think that's a good sign that she's cognizant of where I am at all times.

I wish we had a strong population of wild birds like they do in the Dakotas. I'd love to make this a regular thing for my dogs, but $30/bird at a club is just ridiculous.

My son was fortunate enough to win a junior raffle put on by CWA. He received a voucher for $150 worth of Pheasant or Chukar at Hastings Island. Tomorrow will be a warmup to get the dogs ready for that one. Kid still needs a bit more work behind the gun. He's joining the junior trap club in January so I'm sure he will be outshooting me by this time next year.

Anyways, I'll report back tomorrow if we get lucky and find some birds.

Here's the old boy and the pup who are joining us tomorrow:


Pics from two years ago:

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Old 12-02-2018, 6:46 PM
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Jealous!! Vet pulled my "young" boy from the field day before duck opener this year, he's 11. Not looking forward to working a new dog yet. Good lookin dogs
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Old 12-02-2018, 7:44 PM
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Jealous!! Vet pulled my "young" boy from the field day before duck opener this year, he's 11. Not looking forward to working a new dog yet. Good lookin dogs
Oh no man, I'm sorry to hear that. I know it's inevitable and will have plenty of mental preparation, but when that time times I don't think I'll be able to keep it all together. My 3 labs are like my 3rd, 4th, and 5th children. 😪 😞
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Old 12-02-2018, 9:26 PM
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Oh no man, I'm sorry to hear that. I know it's inevitable and will have plenty of mental preparation, but when that time times I don't think I'll be able to keep it all together. My 3 labs are like my 3rd, 4th, and 5th children. �� ��
Oh he had years of running these woods...he'd fetch a honker out of the ugliest of quick runin holes in the morning and bust coveys all the way home. Great dog...I retired my girl at 12...4 years ago...she's till kickin for a few more weeks. These two have had damn good runs
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Old 12-03-2018, 2:22 PM
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It was a good hunt! My older lab flushed 5, I shot 3, missed one, and the 5th one was when I was walking back to the truck. The pup watched and learned, and retrieved a couple.


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Old 12-03-2018, 10:02 PM
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Today reminded me that although a properly trained retriever will retain most of what you taught them, there's no replacement for hunting for your targeted game regularly. This is my boy's second pheasant hunt, the last was in 2016. He did just about everything I asked of him, stayed within the sweet spot distance, worked the field, casted into brush piles, and dropped back on the whistle the few times he pulled ahead a bit too far on a scent. But he was slightly confused on what bird we were after and was thrown off a handful of times by flocks of small non-game birds. I think that killed his confidence a bit when they would flush and I wouldn't shoot. I am almost certain we passed up several pheasant in the morning that he should have found. Once he flushed the first one (I missed that bird, I blame the sun in my eyes ) you could see a totally different dog. He smelled that missed bird, heard the shots, and connected the dots. He now knew exactly what we were chasing, ignored all the tweety birds and other background animals, and began tracking and zeroing in on pheasant holding in brush. We hunted from 8 until 10:30 with no birds, missed that one bird, then dropped two within 5min of the missed bird, and finished out a limit ~20min later.

It may partially be because we figured out a pattern on where they wanted to hold and stuck with it, but I definitely noticed a change in his behavior. Next time we hunt them I'll bring out the pheasant wings from the freezer the day before and get that scent at the front of his memory.
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Old 12-03-2018, 10:16 PM
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My brain hurts......they get it or they don't
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Old 12-03-2018, 10:17 PM
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Sounds like they Will get it with some practice
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Old 12-04-2018, 9:18 AM
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Flushers flush. There are some pointing labs out there but you need to know if it’s in their blood.

A flusher should be going out in front of you and circling behind you as you walk out into the field. If the dog gets out in front of you to far, they’re not up to snuff on this type of hunting.

Unless I’m reading things wrong, you are asking your dog to hunt like a pointer.
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Old 12-04-2018, 5:09 PM
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Flushers flush. There are some pointing labs out there but you need to know if itís in their blood.

A flusher should be going out in front of you and circling behind you as you walk out into the field. If the dog gets out in front of you to far, theyíre not up to snuff on this type of hunting.

Unless Iím reading things wrong, you are asking your dog to hunt like a pointer.
My pup is still learning, so she's a different story and needs more time. My older lab is definitely not a pointing lab and wouldn't expect him to perform as one. I don't know where you got that impression from. He stays in range for almost the entire hunt, dropping back and stretching out a bit, zigzagging and finding a scent, staying within about 15yds. There were few times when he pulled ahead to a distance I didn't feel comfortable making a clean shot, and it seemed to always be after I slowed my pace or when he was working what he believed to be a strong scent lead. I probably blew the whistle to have him hold back maybe 3 times all day, with several miles traveled. Not bad for a dog who almost never upland hunts. I'm not much of an upland hunter so I don't train him for it, but he demonstrated a lot of natural ability.
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Old 12-04-2018, 5:12 PM
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Sounds like they Will get it with some practice
Yup. My boy seems to have it figured out. He makes the hunt much easier for me, but has room for improvement. The pup just needs more time and confidence. I've been planting quail on the property and she performed well, but bringing her into a new environment caused some confusion. She wasn't quite sure what she was supposed to do out there.
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Old 12-04-2018, 8:05 PM
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Nick thanks for sharing.
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Old 12-04-2018, 10:27 PM
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My pup is still learning, so she's a different story and needs more time. My older lab is definitely not a pointing lab and wouldn't expect him to perform as one. I don't know where you got that impression from. He stays in range for almost the entire hunt, dropping back and stretching out a bit, zigzagging and finding a scent, staying within about 15yds. There were few times when he pulled ahead to a distance I didn't feel comfortable making a clean shot, and it seemed to always be after I slowed my pace or when he was working what he believed to be a strong scent lead. I probably blew the whistle to have him hold back maybe 3 times all day, with several miles traveled. Not bad for a dog who almost never upland hunts. I'm not much of an upland hunter so I don't train him for it, but he demonstrated a lot of natural ability.
No, I totally get that itís a learning experience. I re read and was confused with him being confused on the small birds
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Old 12-05-2018, 6:04 PM
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No, I totally get that itís a learning experience. I re read and was confused with him being confused on the small birds
No worries. I realized I sort of ran on and didn't cut to the point and may have been hard to follow.
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