As you will see, I’m still getting out there having fun. Barb and I got out looking for some sheds with the dogs and since we were on a little more gentler slopes I packed the camera.
When I returned home I had a email message from anonymous about finished dogs. It was about finished dogs and how I should train my boys that way. He mentioned the safety part of it and also that a staunch dog marks down birds better than a moving one. He also mentioned I might get more followers if my videos showed finished dogs. Although I appreciate what he has probably accomplished with his dogs and think there is a place for such fine trained animals, I have to disagree.
I never want this blog to get into a shouting match and here is my reply back to anonymous. I am sure what you have accomplished with your dogs has taken much more training and time than I put in with my boys. You should be proud of what you have accomplished and I’m sure your dogs are great hunters. But I think we are talking about two different type of hunters. If I read your text right, you don’t shoot a bird unless the dog reacts to the rules man has set for a finished pointing dog. I understand that and I see the place for it. Those standards are set for competition and trophies so that owners can showcase their dogs. That’s what sells dogs. I often hear hunters talking about which line their dogs come from. That’s a good thing. It keeps the breeding lines good and people are assured the dog they are buying comes from a hunting or at least a pointing line of dogs.
In my defense once I buy my dog, which I know has hunting instincts, I want to train him to what I believe is important. I might have bought my dog because of the accomplishments of his parents, your dogs, or I might have bought him just because I know his parents were hunting dogs. Either way, from this point on, me and my dog are going to be a team on the mountain and our goal is to get birds. There is no judge up there. Just me and the dog and the birds.
And that’s the people I hope are reading my blog. Guys that just want to enjoy hunting chukars or whatever game bird they wish to pursue with a dog. And it doesn’t matter what type dog it is, flushing, pointing or even a cow dog. I spend more time on the mountain than most people because that is what I love to do. I could probably spend more time training my dogs. But I believe the most important aspect a hunting dog can have is the ability to find birds. If they can’t find birds all the training in the world does no good. My boys are pretty darn good at finding chukars because of the amount of time we spend looking for them.
And that is why I call them the “Reining chukar champions”. They don’t have no trophies but they are the best dogs I have on the hill right now. My past boys were the champions at that time. That’s the best I can do to rebut your email.
So, to my hike yesterday. Barb and I had a great outing. First off, I have to give her accolades for finding sheds. She stayed with our goal and searched for sheds in logical areas while I wandered off following the dogs. I didn’t find a single shed, but I did have one exciting find. A collar off a winter killed elk.
After that we split up and I followed the dogs. Here is Jake pointing a pair of huns with Grady backing. I had to take this picture because usually Grady finds the birds before the old pro does.
I had to do a lot of cutting on this video that took 13 minutes from the time I started until the birds flushed. Mostly because the camera was wandering. I have to wonder why it seems like Jake just walked right through where the scent must have been coming from while Grady had it pinned down.
I have to admit to sometimes coming off the hill with a trophy. Grady found one he figured was more interesting than birds for the moment. His way of saying “I’m tired and time to head down”.
6 thoughts on “The dog”
Your method of hunting obviously works, the hell with the pretty boys and their “finished” dogs. I would hunt with your guys in a heartbeat.
I disagree with the staunch dog being a better marker. Those of us who have hunted Chukars for years have seen many shot birds flutter down hundreds of yards below our line of sight with a dog hot on it making the retrieve!
I appreciate that Steve. Boy howdy Wayne. Also the quicker a dog can get to the bird in chukar country the less work he has to do because of the steep terrain.
Well stated Larry. To each their own. I understand the desire to have a dog steady to wing, shot, and fall for those competing in field trials and can see advantages in certain hunting situations. I’m perfectly okay with my dog breaking upon the flush. I think that it is advantageous to have her as close as possible when a bird is hit, especially in situations where a bird is wounded. This has worked well for me and we lose very few birds.
If I recall someone said this to you a few years ago also, and you clearly defined how your teams works then too. I’m not about ribbons or plaques or titles. I’m about off season steady point, search, retrieving work. Emmie is far from perfect, but she is my point guard, I’m not trading her for perfection. as everyone has said, getting to chukar quick can be the difference between in the bag or a long search on a running bird.
My example of a professional, hand signal, steady whistle trained dog. Few years ago a friend hunted a partially cut flooded corn field with a pro trainers and the 2 pro dogs. My phone rang and he begged me to bring his Lab and my Chessie to find birds. Those dogs were useless once they hit tall corn and couldn’t see hand signals, they didn’t know how to “HUNT” for a down bird. But they had MH JH SH blah blah blah on their AKC title. Barron and Bear cleared the ducks out of the corn in 15 mins while the “Pros” were “steady” in the blind. Guess which dogs and owners had more fun.
Being out with the dogs today, I watched Grady take off after the huns I had just flushed. He ran about 40 yards and stopped on the ridge line. As I got close to him he disappeared down the canyon and around the next hill. 45 seconds later he was on point 280 yards away. When I got to him, I once again flushed five huns. I’m sure it was the same birds from the previous flush and Grady had watched where they went and found them again. Had he stayed on point he never would have seen where the birds went. I don’t know if that is an acceptable trait but I feel like it comes from a smart hunting dog that has learned some tricks from being on the hill a bunch.