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Powerstroke

Hunting with a pointer and a flusher

21 posts in this topic

I've got a one year old springer and I love him to death. He's doing great and I know he will only get better. There are always pros and cons for getting flushers vs. pointers and vice versa.

My wife and I have always intended on having 2 dogs and so I was wondering if anyone has had experience owning and hunting with one flusher and one pointer?

Each dog has their strong points and I wonder if anyone has tried to capitolize on both sides. Any thoughts?

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I have both types of dogs and my buddies also hunt their flushing dogs with my pointer.

It can be done but it is hard on both dogs. Here are the reasons.

My setter is very solid when hunting alone or with other pointing dogs. But when you have labs around him that run in on his points, he starts to creep in on point because the other dogs keep busting his point. It is very fustrating to say the least. Usually after 2 or 3 busted points he will not hold very well after that while the labs are around. This could really set back your training for a pointer that is not steady.

The other negative side affect is that pointers run bigger than flushing dogs. I let my pointer run up 75-100 yards while pheasant hunting in open areas. And when the pointer is out 75 yards the flushing dogs are trying to keep up to him. So you end up with flushing dogs that are way out of range for a shot if birds are flushed.

It can be done, but I would never do it on purpose.

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I agree with 2thepoint that it can be done but it can be frustrating for both dogs. I have run springers with friends pointers(GSP) and the only time it worked well was when both dogs were completely finished. By this I mean steady to wing and shot and rock solid on all of there commands.

If the pointer found the bird I would hup my springer until my riend had flushed the bird and the pointer(GSP) had completed the retrieve. If my springer flushed the bird he would whoa his dog until my dog had completed the retrieve.

I have never had a problem with my springers trying to keep up with other dogs whether it be another springer or a far ranging pointing breed. A finished springer should have their quarting down pat and understand that they only get birds shot over them if they stay close. If they would start to range out to far you should be able either to turn them or recall them with your whistle.

I can tell you that it is a fun way to hunt having the two types covering the ground but it can also be very frustrating if the dogs aren't very well trained.

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I hunted with my lab and also a Brittany a few weekends ago and it worked very well. Neither dog really cared about the other. The biggest key is having a well trained dog that listens the first time. If you have that, there will be no problems.

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Right now I am pretty confident in the abilities and the handling of my springer.

In an ideal world I would love the situations explained by onlyspringers. That type of hunting would be ideal. I thought that the two dogs could work together, but since I've never hunted over a pointer I don't understand how they hunt and how you should hunt with them. If having the flushing dog bust the birdis not correct than my utopian thoughts of a hunting dream team are probably unrealistic.

I think my thoughts on the matter come from reading stories and hearing about hunting with pointers. Its very interesting and I since I've always had a flusher it makes me wonder which I'd like better.

Without trying to start a war, can those who've hunted both say which they like hunting over better? Obviously I'm not gonna get rid of my springer cause everyone likes pointers, but I'm just looking for more input.

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You want to hunt over a pointer? Let me know when and where and we will make it happen. I always hunt the same land for pheasants and I would like to hunt somewhere else either public or private land. My setter is steady so you can see what happens with the two different types of dogs.

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I've had the pleasure of hunting with both types. Growing up in the 60's & 70's my parents had shorthairs and an English setter that we used to hunt quail with. Back then Iowa had more quail than pheasants in the southern part of the state. If that was the case today there is no question that I would be running setters. It's hard to describe the feeling you get findng the dog locked up tight not moving a muscle and following you with their eyes as you move in to flush the bird.

Marriage and an increase in pheasants led me to springers. The wife didn't want a big dog in the house and springers were our compromise. I got a hunting dog that was a size the wife could live with. Now I get a thrill watching as they pick up the scent, figure out where the bird is and diving in to put the bird in the air.

Sorry that this didn't really answer your question but I feel that if the dog you have does what you want it to do and makes you happy then you have the best dog. If you think that you might enjoy hunting behind a pointer then by all means get one. Nothing wrong with working the pointer on one piece of ground and then putting the springer down for the next piece. You get to hunt behind both breeds with the advantage of having a rested dog.

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onlyspringers,

Another "compromise" for you would have been a Britt. A smaller pointing breed...perfect!

grin.gif

Sorry for the high-jack...

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Your right a Britt did cross my mind buyt my grandfather had imported a springer from England in the 40's and my dad always raved about what a neat dog it was. I will admit that if the loss of crp continues here in Iowa and we are left with nothing more than fence rows and narrow strips of cover I will probably revert back to pointing breed and a Britt will be one I look at.

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I hate to do it, but I have to disagree with a couple of you on hunting them together. 2thepointsetters makes a valid arguement about the flusher busting the point but if the dogs are trained well enough it's not a problem. Not saying your dogs aren't because I'm sure they are very well trained, but I've hunted with both the last couple of years with no problems. My lab could care less if a dog nearby is on point, she's to busy hunting where I tell her to hunt. She's focused on her task at hand and not what others around her are doing. I have a Yellow Lab, and my buddy has a Setter. The dogs hunted together and both were so busy hunting that they didn't pay any attention to each other. When the setter was on point my dog was hunting her own spot. And when my dog flushed a bird the pointer was busy hunting his spot and didn't even notice until the shots went off. When my buddy's setter was on point if my dog did start working her way towards him, which would have been purely coincidental and not due to the dog being on point, I would just call her off and send her off the other direction to keep her busy. Here's a couple pics from two weeks ago around the Windom area. No problem getting birds with both!

3.jpg

PheasantHunt.jpg

4.jpg

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Johnny- You are proof that it can be done. I guess I have not hunted with a flushing dog that is trained well enough. I think some of the flushing dogs even figured out that when my dog was on point there was a bird there. The guys I hunted with couldn't keep there dogs away from mine at all. If you could whoa train a flushing dog it would be easy to hunt them together.

How old is the setter in the pic??? he looks like he has been able to hunt quite a few seasons.

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The setter is actually only 3.5 yrs old. He just has that look to him of being older, the droupy eyes especially. My buddy flew out to Pennsylvania to buy him about 3 years ago. I forgot the breeders name, but he spent the big bucks on him. This is my buddy's second English setter. The first one he had was so well trained that he didn't mind if a flusher would bust his dogs point because he was confident in his abilities, but this one he did ask me to make sure that I didn't let my dog bust his points. I was nervous last year on their first hunt together but it went off without a hitch. This year, same deal, no busts. His last dog he had professional help on and this one he did on his own, as I did mine. He's done very well with him though.

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I can't speak for all flushing breeds but a finished springer is required to sit on the whistle and not move until released. I can stop my oldest female with one whistle blast even if she is working a running rooster. I've seen springers that were steady enough that once they were hupped(sitting) you could put a live bird in front of them and they wouldn't move until told to.

So I would guess that that would be the equivilent of whoa training.

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That is the key right there with any breed. Having them trained well enough to listen the first time you give a command or a whistle blast. I've spent a lot of money on training my lab, but it is absolutely worth every dollar. I don't have the time/patience to train, but for those that do it isn't hard to achieve pro level results so long as you are consistent with the dogs. Believe me when I say that dogs are way smarter than humans!

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Johnny, I have to agree with you it can be done. I have hunted my labs in the past and now english cocker with pointing dogs and it has worked out ok. As you noted, they need to be well trained. I still prefer not to hunt them together but for us it has worked best when we had 3-4 hunters with 2 dogs. We have the pointing dog work its defined area and the flusher there defined area. There is obviously some cross-over when they get on scent but generally they work there own areas and it works fine. If they work the same area, I have found the pointers tend to push out much farther which pushes my spaniel out too far in order to compete for the birds. And then they flush too far out so I have found it better to have them each hunt a defined area

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Reeltimes, what you said was key. We had 5 hunters this year on day one with three dogs. We had guys that weren't handling dogs in between the guys with dogs so we were spaced out. Then on days two and three we had 7 hunters with four dogs. Once again spread out. Although, not to contradict my first statement, but they can be hunted closer together if need be. Last year, myself and my same buddy Rick hunted just us two with these same two dogs out in SoDak. My dog was only 1.5 and on her first ever phesant hunt, and his was 2.5 on his first pheasant hunt. We were both a little pessimistic about this very topic and our dogs abilities. To both of our surprise they did very well. No busts of his point by my dog or bumps with his. I guess we didn't give ourselves enough credit on our training abilities. grin.gif We did have a little trouble with my dog getting all of the retrieves, but he even said he hadn't worked much on the retrieving and was OK with mine taking them. I did call her off a couple times to allow him to do some work in the field with his dog, but his pup still wasn't into it. This year, same thing. His dog just isn't trained in the retrieve, but Rick knows that's his fault not his dogs. He just hasn't worked that area with him much. But to be honest he's ok with that. He'll find the bird for him once downed but just doesn't want to pick it up.

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I hunt with a pointer (viszla) and my main hunting partner runs a yellow lab. I have not had any problems with it. We normally hunt with just the two of us and the two dogs. Thd dogs have very rarely even been on the same scent of a bird, they work the section of ground in front of their owner and don't have nay problems. My dog is pretty well trained, and my BILs dog hunts on natural ability grin.gif

I would recomend getting together with someone who has a pointer and working them together to see how your dog reacts. Dogs have personalities and quirks the same as the rest of us, and some dogs just don't do it well for reasons beyond our control.

I think people who say it can't be done, or it will ruin a dog, have not given it a fair chance. It is really fun to see how the different breeds respond to scent. The lab gets on scent and gets all jazzed up, moving faster, sniffing loudly, and my pointer starts to air sniff more, slow down, get stiffer movements, and the tail slows. I prefer to see pointers, but each dog has it's up side.

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The one thing that all the replys have in common is this...

You also have 2 handlers when the two dogs are out together. You ARE asking for nothing but problems if you try to run them together if they are both your dogs. I agree it would be nice to slide a flusher out to tackle the really thick cover and a pointer to cover a big wide open field when out pheasant hunting, but most guys get one type of dog and concentrate on that for the duration of owning it. There is no way I'd want to be the sole handler of both at the same time of them being out of the truck. Too much to keep track of and to distracting for the hunt.

I've hunted my Labs with a buddie's English Pointer in the past and again ran into very few problems... In fact I'd love to find the photo of his dog "backing" my Lab on a point. This was 15 years and 2 houses ago and I have no idea where that photo ended up.

We ended up at times sitting one of the dogs out depending on the cover we were tackling. That is a great benefit for the dog(s) to get a break and to conform the style of the dog to the cover; but most guys aren't going to go into the process of owning and training two different styles of dogs.

One recommendation I'll slide your way... Don't even consider it till your current dog is a few years older and you are 100% confident that you have brought him to the level you desired. I see it way to oftern where guys get a couple dogs within a few years of each other and they end up with 2 marginal dogs instead of 1 really well trained dog.

Good Luck!

Ken

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Most of my hunting career I have owned both a pointer and a flusher(various breeds). This has allowed me to use the appropriate dog for a given hunting situation, i.e., flusher in thick cover, pointers in big crp etc. Over the years I have tried to hunt both types at the same time with more frustration than success, this was with me handling both dogs. However, when using 2 dogs and 2 handlers we have been able to achieve great success and have lots of fun. For years my brother and I hunted together, his springer and my shorthair, and things worked very well. As Labs said, the key is both dogs must be well trained and under control for this to work out. But I have found that 1 hunter just can't control both types of dogs effectively in hunting situations.

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I look at hunting with a lab as the type of thing when you're running a line with a large number of people, posters, the whole bit. On the other hand when I work by Brit I think of it as being out for a walk with a friend. The dog stays close, every once in a while there's a beep, and we amble over to take a look and hopefully a shot.

I agree that having well trained dogs is the only way to make it work - but that's true of hunting with any dog(s).

Try this - have both a flusher and a pointer and use the right dog for the right cover. You need the lab for ducks, heavy cattails or working with a large group. The Brit stays in the truck for those opporunities. More open cover, you're by yourself or maybe one other person, use the Brit and let the Lab rest.

I've been watching these hunting dog forums for a bit now and am somewhat amazed at what I read. My bottom line is get the dog trained properly. If you can't do it yourself pay the $$$ to have someone else do it.

I'm 58, I've had two back surgeries, two Achilles repairs and right now I have a bad meniscus. At this stage I realize that there's only so many seasons and so many trips. You don't want to screw them up with an ill mannered dog if you can help it.

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I agree with the comment by Labs and yourself about one handler. As I said, I prefer to not hunt flushers and pointers together even with multiple handlers. But have done it successfully when the dog hunts their defined area and each handler is managing their dog to the specific area. I agree.. would definitely not want to handle both dogs myself. Someone mentioned both dogs on the same scent and we have occasionally had that happen. We will usually call one dog off the scent and let the other track the bird. Again, you have to be able to control your dog.

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