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grouse dog?


Ben Nicholson

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I'm looking to get a hunting dog, and would like to hear some suggestions. I hunt ducks, pheasant and grouse. Right now I'm thinking either a viszla or a lab, but I'm open to any ideas. One other think this will also be an inside dog when he isn't hunting. Thanks for any insight you can provide.

Ben

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  • Official Fishing Report Team - MN

Ben you may want to look at a german wirehair. Excellent pointers and retrievers and they can handle the cold real well. I am partial to GSP, I have a female shes a excellent hunting dog and family pet. I hunt her on Pheasants only but they are known to also retrieve ducks. I keep my shorthair in the house she's excellent around the kids.

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Yep! I'll second the German Wirehair opinion. I own Springers and Wires, and love both breeeds. The spaniels are the king of pheasants, but the wires hold their own, and they handle cold water retreiving like nobodys business. And tail-less dogs like these are a pleasure to be around.

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it depends if this dog will be a house dog or not. the perfect house dog would be a brittany spanial. they are one of if not the best grouse dogs I have hunted with, pheasants and ducks this dog will excell at them to. the smaller size makes them better for house dogs also.

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I would go with a black lab. But with the duck situation bleak and the rebulicans screwing up the wetland bills and environment there might not be a duck season. But I think labs are the best for family and hunting. Had 1 trained at Tom Dokkens, and my new dog at Good Going Kennels in Wisc.

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I would go with the lab great for hunting, especially hunting duck, pheasant, grouse.
And for an indoor dog there pretty relaxed inside, they get a little pudgy but they will ware it off in the fall.

I have had one for a roomate for the last year now and she loves the TV and the couch.
Good Luck with your dog.

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My vote goes to the Lab. Our 2 young daughters hang all over our female and she just acts like there her kids. She is gentle gentle gentle with our girls.
She has the heart of a lion!! She has broken ice for me to retrieve a duck and there is no quit in her in the woods during the grouse season.
The other thing I like about her is she is quiet in the house and the hunting shack.
GOOD LUCK & GOOD HUNTING

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Thanks for your responses. I was a little concerned with using a lab for grouse, but I guess if he hunts close it's okay.

Protrapper, sounds like you and I are on the same page about the wetlands bill. Lets hope we get some people in there that know what they're doing :)

Thanks again,
Ben

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My opinion is that it really depends on when and how much you hunt ducks. If you are hardcore and hunt late season ducks and/or on big water then get the lab. The Viszla will not handle cold water duck hunting as they have a very fine coat. If you just ducks hunt to pass time before 9:00am when pheasants start then get a pointing breed.

Also, I'd be real careful and do alot of research before getting one of the less popular pointing breeds (ie. viszla). Your odds of getting a "good" one are lower IMHO. If you hunt ducks, pheasants and grouse you hunt alot, so I would play the percentages and get a more popular pointing breed, which will increase your odds of getting a truly "good" dog. Setters and Pointers are "generally" the best grouse dogs with the continentals running close behind. For pheasants I think GSP's, Britt's, and GWP's are the best pointers. If you previously owned a lab then the continental breeds will be easier to transition to than a pointer or a setter as they generally don't have the speed and range of the English dogs. For pointing breeds you need to really think about what traits you want. Do you want a speedy big runner, or do you want a slow, methodical meat dog, or do you want something in between? If you need more info I'd be happy to discuss more.

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I would go with the German Wirehair. I have owned both a lab and now own a GWP. The wirehair is a tough dog physically. Great with kids and will stick to you like glue and is always willing to please. Easy to train they are highly intelligent. They are a soft dog in terms of handling. Just a cross tone of voice will have them looking to correct their behavior and please you. They are highly active and need lots of exercise. They are not kennel dogs and love to be part of the family. Their coat barely sheds. (Lab's are terrible shedders).

Placing a bird in front of a young wirehair is something to see. It's Steve Martin in the movie the "Jerk" when he finds his "special purpose in life". The light bulb goes off and the dog is forever birdy.
Most Wirehairs have good noses and it is not to hard to bring out the point in them.

Obedience training is a must because they want that bird. Whoa,heel, lay down and point and you've got yourself a hunting dog and the best friend you would every want.

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gspman is a very smart guy. I couldn't have said it better myself. My first question to someone that tells me they want a Vizsla or a Weimi or a Braque, is why? They are all beautiful dogs and yes there are some out there that can hunt like crazy, its just why not decrease the odds of getting a sub-par dog. I am a grouse hunter that also pheasant hunts. I have two setters, both are excellent grouse dogs. Do I take them pheasant hunting? No way. A real easy way to screw up a good grouse dog is to put it on running roosters. I make friends with guys that have pheasant dogs and go with them. If I ever got into it more I would go and buy another dog. In my opinion a good grouse dog is worth its weight in gold. There are good dogs out there that can do it all, there are very few that do it all well. If you are truley looking for a dog that is going to hunt everything equally, then a wirehair or Griffon would be perfect. Good luck with the pooch.

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  • 4 weeks later...

So to get this topic going again, I will be looking for a grouse dog myself. I might use her from time to time for phesants, but not that often and it wouldn't be essential as I could hunt with others who have labs for phesant and ducks.

I've always wanted a Brittany, but would a setter or GSP be a better dog?

Opinions on the best dog for my grouse hunting needs are welcome.

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By the name you can probably guess that I am biased. If you live in Minnesota and hunt predominantly grouse than an English setter out of goruse stock would be a logical choice. English pointers would be a close second, but can't take the cold like a setter can. There are some nice Britts out there, its just most of them don't have the nose that the setters and pointers do, which is a must in a good grouse dog. Setters and Pointers take the scent out of the air, not the wind mind you but the air. Continental breeds (GSP, Vizslas, and Wirehairs and Britts) take the scent off the ground. This in turn makes them better trackers, but not better bird finders. There is a big difference between a dog that points birds, and one that finds them. Now I don't like to indulge in breed bashing, every breed has there place and funtion. I know ther ea re some Britts that are great grouse dogs and I also know that there are some setters that couldn't point a grouse to save its life. If I was 60 years old and hunted grouse, pheasant and ducks then a wirehair would be a perfect fit, but if you are a Minneosta grouse hunter, you will be hard pressed to find a dog more suited the conditions and game then a fine english setter. If you would like any more info on the or would like to chat on the subject drop me a line.
[email protected]


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Not trying to do any bashing what so ever but my ? is.

I run a GSP as you said he picks up scent off the ground right. I many of times have hunted with a few people where we downed more than one bird off in the weeds. The birds were fling before they were shot not on the ground!
And my dog has made (for example) a 100yrd fetch many of times. And many where he didnt watch the bird fall.

So how can you tell if the dog is getting the scent off the ground or from in the air?

Maybe I miss understood you because it just doesnt make any sence to me.

The way I see it is if there is any scent anywhere ground or air most hunting dogs can smell it, I have watched my dog with his nose straight up in the air catching a scent and BOOM hes gone!

Just my two scents smile.gif
http://www.geocities.com/wish_i_was_fishing2002

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Brian-

GSPs, Vizslas, Weimereners and all related breeds are originally derived from hounds. Hounds by nature take scent off of the ground. Now this isn't to say that they don't also smell what the wind blows to them, its just that these Continental breeds do not scent the same way that setters or pointers do. Look at pics of these breeds on point, most of time the head is down, close to the ground. They are trying to pinpoint that bird. Here is an example: When I take my little setter to South Dokata, she takes one step in the cornfield and goes on point, she is pointing because she has caught scent, not because she knows where the bird is. When I take my Vizsla, he takes a step in, catches scent and then uses his nose to pinpoint where that bird is and then goes on point. In this situation the Vizsla is going to put a lot more roosters in the bag than my setter, mainly because she can't get herself to move and locate the bird, she just knows there is one in here and isn't going to move no matter what. Grouse are a different animal, unlike any other upland bird, they do not take pressure, they won't let a dog get close without flushing. I don't think that my setter has ever pointed a grouse that she had an exact location on. She stops at the faintest hint of scent, not when she locates the bird. But to put gouse on the table that is what you need. Now I know that there are GSPs that are great grouse dogs, some just learn how to handle them. And there are setters that handle pheasants. I am making generalizations. But remember GSPs have been back bred to English Pointers too. I am not trying to put down or talk up any particular breed here, just trying to convey my expereinces and things that I have learned. Look at the last 10 winners of the National grouse championships which are run on wild grouse, all setters and pointers. Would I take any of those dogs on a trip to Iowa for roosters? No way. But I would put them up against any Continental breed in the grouse woods. Like I said before all dogs have thier place in hunting, They all have positives and negatives, you just have to decide what is important to you in a dog and then hope that the qualities that you breed for show up in the puppies that are produced. I hope that this made some sense, if you would like some more info on the subject I can get you the Titles of some books or webpages that can maybe describe the difference a little better.

Happy Hunting

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Cool thanks for the explanation I didnt know that.
SO how are those dogs at fetching? If you drop a bird a ways away do they just get close and point in the direction?

I have a farm near Red Wing that is packed with grouse, I agree they do flush earily and scare the sh*t out of you. But fun to hunt!
I have a few pics on my site of pointers on point with there head off the ground thats why it didnt make sence to me why they only pick up scent off the ground, because on these points the dog was just walking by and locked up.
http://www.geocities.com/wish_i_was_fishing2002

[This message has been edited by Brian Sander (edited 04-11-2003).]

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Brian-

For the most part the dogs will retrieve, if anyone runs in any trials with them they are required to retrieve. However if a rooster is crippled in a cat-tail swamp your GSP would probably make my dog look silly, this all goes back to how they scent. GSPs are natural trackers where setters and pointers are not.

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Great explaination Setterguy.I could'nt agree with you more.Setters from a grouse linage tend to be very cautious and have to be encouraged to relocate.When they pick up a scent cone, they zero in and lockup solid.
they are very stylish and a joy to watch.I have a question for Setterguy have you every heard of the term airwash in terms of when a bird flushes it loses some of its scent and becomes harder for air scenting dogs to find
when the bird is back down on the ground.

Birddog

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I have heard of the term, and in IMO it is more to do with the fact that anytime an animal is sitting in one place or another it is going to leave more scent, rather than scent "getting washed away". Bloodhounds track things, people specifically by smelling the dead skin that falls to the ground as someone walks. It is pretty amazing if you think about it that they could actually smell that let alone decifer between two scents. I figure that hunting dogs smell game in much the same way, by that I mean they smell the "stuff" that the bird has left on the ground and in the air directly around it. By this thought process it would seem logical that a bird that has been stationary for a period of time would have more scent than one that has been on the ground for a short period. Again this is by no way fact, just a little theory that I have come up with. Does anyone buy it?

100th post! Yea Hah!

[This message has been edited by setterguy (edited 04-11-2003).]

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What is the difference between Wirehairs and GSP's? I'm thinking of breeding some sled dogs with GSP in them but am wondering if the Wirehair may be a better choice. I'm concerned about the coats being warm enough. Thanks for any responses.

------------------
Erik

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Setterguy makes some good points about air scent and foot or ground scent. The "old style" shorthairs tend to hunt with their head lower. There are still people that breed and prefer the old style shorthair. For my money, I want an Americanized shorthair. They're small, speedy, intense, and have incredible stamina. You'll quit long before they will. If you are serious about a shorthair and serious about your hunting, you should be looking at shorthairs out of horseback field trial lines. These dogs are more similar to the English setter and pointer than they are different. They hunt with a high head and if you start them on grouse they will learn to hunt for air scent and stop right away. Just like setterguy says they should.

For pheasants, most pointing dogs will learn how to hunt them this way. They will hunt for air scent and when they hit it they will point. If its strong scent they will stay put. If its weak scent they will start "stalking" or trailing. Sometimes they will put their head down to do this, and sometimes they will keep their head high. It depends on the cover and the scenting conditions.

Before you say you don't want a dog from horseback trial lines, understand this. Most pups from a trial litter will not have the run or the range to be competitive off of horseback. But they do make one hell of a hunting dog. I once asked the field trialer I got my dogs from how many pups out of a 10 pup litter would be competitive in horseback trials. He said 2. The other 8 would be really good hunting dogs. Bird finding machines is what he called them.

If you are thinking of shorthairs you should talk to this man. His name is Phil Mathiowetz and he owns Windwalker Kennels which is located between Goodhue and Redwing. Here's the link to his site. http://www.windwalkerkennel.com/
This man has a wealth of info on shorthairs. He is the field trial chairman of the GSPCA and trained the 2000 National Amateur Gundog Champion. He can answer any question you could possibly have about shorthairs. Go visit him to see the dogs work and see if they meet your needs. Heck, he'll probably put you on a horse so you can see what trialing is all about. He's got everything from All-age horseback dogs to meat dogs from show lines. If he doesn't have what you need he'll find someone who does. I trained dogs on summer weekends with him for a couple years and learned more about shorthairs and training them than I would have in 20 years by myself.

If you want a brit, I'd also look at dogs from trial litters. I just think dogs with trial are generally superior.

Setter, pointer, shorhair??? What a great dilema.

Good luck and happy hunting.

gspman

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Setterguy I'm wondering if you could explain the difference between the ground scent and the air scent a little better. Since grouse run every bit as much as fly I'm not following the air scent you speak of.
I would disagree with you regarding grouse not holding very tight. Take the bell of your dog and you will be amazed at how close you and your dog will get to a grouse.
My lab has caught 2 grouse on the ground in her hunting days. The louder you are when it comes to hunting this bird the worst of you will be.
Please don't take my reply to be nasty or anything but I have hunted behind a lab for nearly 30 years and I love it.
Thanks for your help.

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Well the purchase agreement is signed and we close on our first home on August 27th, time to start thinking about dogs,..when is the best time of the year to get a new pup. I was thinking I would probably wait until early spring, like 11 months from today or something like that.

Any input, I am probably going to be looking for an English Setter pup, should I get a male or female? I know with labs most prefer females, is that true here also?

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Duckbuster-

The point that I was trying to make is that different breeds of dogs scent in different ways. Not all are going to have the nose or the abilities that others are. You're right grouse do run as well. But when pressured grouse more than pheasants will break cover and flush. It all has to do with the cover they live in, when a pheasant flys it exposes itself to hawks, or owls or other predators, grouse usually don't break the canopy of the trees they live in when they flush. I will also say this, grouse will tend to run more in front of a dog like a lab, one that is a little slower working, they whole idea of a pointing dog is to confuse the bird. The bird can hear that dog coming, no doubt. Then suddenly the dog stops, confusing the bird into hunkering down until the gunner can break the bird of cover. I have never heard of a dog catching a wild, healthy grouse before, you must have one fast dog.

Grabs- As far as the male/female debate goes, here are my pros and cons of each, do with the info what you will. Again these are generalizations there are always exceptions.

Female- Pros: 1.Generally catch on to training more quickly. 2. Usually not aggressive with other dogs. 3. The puppy factor, if you end up with the dog of a lifetime you can always have some pups and try and get another one.
Cons: 1. The mess of dealing with heat cycles. 2. Not as physically strong as male dogs, tend to tire more quickly in heavy cover.

Males. Pros: Stud factor, if you end up with a great male you can easily make 300-400 dollars for stud fees. 2. Stronger, just like in most animals the males tend to be bigger, and stronger. This may not be a positive in the grouse woods where I like my dogs no bigger than 45 lbs.

Cons: 1. Aggresiveness with other male dogs. 2. Tend to take longer to train. 3. Marking. 4. Do not live as long.

Like I said earlier, all of these traits can be different from dog to dog and it all comes down to what you are looking for and what things are important to you in a dog. As far as when to get it, it is easier to potty train a dog in the spring or summer, I would pick out the breed, then the breeder, then the actual litter that you want to choose from. Then get one of those pups, no matter what season it is. I would make a decision pretty soon, there tends to be a waiting list for most real good breeders of puppies. The guys that I run dogs with have litters sold for months before the b*****s are even bred.

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More news to me, Male dogs dont live as long as a female.

Never heard of that before, how do they figure that one out?

My uncle had a 13yr old male, and If I remember correct he was still half azz hunting at that age.

What kills the males before the females?

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Q. Why do males die before females?

A. Because they want to!

Serioulsy, of course this again is a generalization. Look at any species of animal, males tend not to live as long as females, humans included. If I had to guess I would say that body mass has a lot to do with it, carrying around a bigger body your whole life is going to take its toll. Agian no scientific proof to back that up, just a guess.

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    • lilakerr
      Covid-19: Can you take online classes? These are some top tips to help you achieve better outcomes. Here are some top tips to succeed in your online classes for 2021. Treat your classes like a job Be selective in where you study Keep an eye on your internet usage Take care of yourself Another semester, another year! Due to the pandemic, things may look different in your schooling this year. Many students are now taking online classes, despite having only had experience with in-person classes. The content is unchanged, but it can be difficult for students to adjust to the new learning method. Online classes can be difficult if you aren't already. This article will share tried and tested tips that were passed on from previous students. These tips can help you to succeed in online classes. Treat your classes like a job It is easy to feel that your education is more informal now that you don’t have to travel and attend in person. You can certainly benefit from attending lectures in your pajamas. You can boost your motivation to study seriously by not doing any work in bed, or in your pajamas. sets clear boundaries as to when it's time to work and when it's time for you to live. Do not mix the two! If you are part of a full-time program, you might try to maintain a 9am-5pm work schedule at home. You should start work every day at 9am. Take your lunch break at a time that you choose, then work until 5 pm. This is a great method to keep you committed to your work and allow your school to continue to be your school. You might find it difficult to put your school away if you are a workaholic who doesn't have a set schedule. Be selective in where you study It is easy to stay focused when you are sitting in a lecture. It's easy to focus when you have only one thing to do: pay attention and learn from your teacher. Online learning can lead to distractions. Living with people can make it difficult to focus if they are also cooking, watching TV, or talking with you. All the noise can distract you from your goal. Avoid the common spaces in your home to create a peaceful space for studying. You don't need to study in your living room or kitchen. Instead, use your bedroom. While office space is a great option, we don't all have the luxury to do so. Make sure you have privacy and minimal foot traffic in your home. Keep an eye on your internet usage Online learning is hindered by the ease of accessing virtual distractions. If you watch an online lecture while simultaneously receiving messages notifications, it can cause you to lose your focus. You can set your laptop as "Do not disturb" so that you don't get distracted by notifications. Additionally, it is a good practice to have your lecture/or assignment fully displayed on the screen while you finish them. If you do this, you could accidentally lose your focus by filling up extra space with social media or news browsing. Clearing out extra browsing space can help you focus. Take care of yourself This is our last and most important tip. Be kind. Online learning isn't an easy transition. If you are not as productive or having difficulty staying motivated, it's normal. That's normal. You should take care of yourself. Alternative opinion in studentjob.co.uk article: http://www.studentjob.co.uk/blog/5757-best-online-exam-help-top-five-websites-you-can-trust  
    • alexmoss8432
      or spammers lol 
    • alexmoss8432
      I usually listen to audio books 
    • BrianF
      Fished solo Sunday and Monday afternoon.  Began by targeting smallies, but couldn’t buy a fish which was odd because the conditions were juicy - calm, cool, cloudy, drizzly.   Frustrating to say the least!    Figured if I was gonna get skunked, then it might as well be swinging for the fence.  Switched to Muskies at 7:30 and got lucky as heck, putting three in the boat over the next two hours, including a porker 48”er.  Felt very content the rest of the evening.    Got back out on the water Monday afternoon under post-frontal high skies and was fortunate to trick this lonely blonde an hour into the day.  Missed another a short time later and had some follows before pulling the plug to head home.  Didn’t want to leave that’s for sure!  All East end fish caught casting btw and all released unharmed.   Water temp was 71. 
    • MasonDavis1
      I recently found an interesting thomas king essay topic on this site. God, I'm so glad that now I shouldn't waste time surfing the web. By the way, the rest of the topics from the list were also very interesting.
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