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Season so far...


jparrucci

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Well, my first year of pheasant hunting with my young pup hasnt gotten of to a great start. We are having a blast, just havent been successful. My Brittany is just over a year old and full of energy. The first few times we went out, he was working too far ahead of me. I've cured this behavior for the most part lately, and he has stayed much closer recently. (wish I had invested in a shock collar with a beeper) We have seen a few birds here and there. Being a younger pup (14 months) and with limited training, I didn't expect much going into this season. The dog has been awesome. He has done a great job pointing hens, but I've had a lot of roosters flushing way out in front of us. Early on this may have been due to us being too loud, and walking with the wind at our backs at times. Recently we have been moving slower, quieter, and almost always with our faces into the wind. The results have been a few more opportunities-if I could just hit something once in a while we would have bagged a few birds by now. I think the dog is starting to hate me, as I havent been able to get him a bird yet. I also have been hesitant to pull the trigger because I always seem to have to walk into the sun, making it hard for me to distiguish between hen and rooster, and have always been more safe than sorry. I've passed on a few birds that I probably would have hit because I wasnt sure what sex the pheasant was. Any of you have something you look specifically for to easily distinguish between hen and rooster? I have been hunting just west and south of the cities (I live in waconia) and it all the public land seems to be pretty well hunted over. I have made one trip south of Marshall for a day, and did see a few birds, should have shot a couple. I'll be headed out again tommorow all day with a friend. If any one has some tips/pointers on how to put my dog and myself onto some more roosters, let me know!

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I have an easy one...hunt the new snow. Then both you and your dog can 'track' them. Plus stick with it. The birds are out there, you just have to find them. I have a 5 mo old brittany and she also tends to point more hens than roosters, but that will change. She has had almost 50 birds shot over her so far and she is just starting to 'get it'. She doesnt do very well tracking them for any distance...she gets excited and overruns I think. That is something that will come with experience. Hens tend to hold more than rootys, so that is the reason we are both seeing the hens. Nothing wrong with hunting crosswind, in fact, with my older dog, I prefer that...she can cover more area that way.

New snow will concentrate birds for you as well. Right now, a rooster can sit in a million different places. Once we get snow, most of the grass will be pushed down, eliminating a large % of the area he can hang out.

Be very, very quiet. That always helps. Work slow and shoot straight. Dont judge your season poorly because of a few misses, that is not all that hunting is about.

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You are in the right track by hunting into the wind and be quiet. Try to keep talk with partner or dog to a bare mininum. Also you didn't mention if this is your first pointer or not?

If you are switching from a flusher the hardest part of the game is learning to trust the dog and follow it. Don't look at a piece of cover and plan to work it in a certain manner if your dog keeps wanting to go the other way. Trust her nose and follow. Also remeber the rooster that flushes wild or runs would of done it to the flusing dog as well. Try wet weather birds hold tighter or a snowy day. Roosters also get used to people always hunting cover a certain way. Walk to the farthest perimeter and hunt in the direction of the parking lot etc. Don't do what everyone else does.

By the way are you from AV

Mwal

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if your having trouble knowing if the bird is a hen or a rooster, a few things that I look for is length of tail feathers, rooster will most likely be longer, except for early season, also look for the red color around the eyes, or the white ring on the neck, thats how I tell for the young ones. The cackle the rooster makes may help as well.

If its just you and the dog, just take your time and dont rush. Noise I dont think is too much of a factor, as the birds know your there once you shut the door of truck. Also just trusting the dog, is key, after all its the one with the nose.

Hunting into the wind should allow you an advantage, and possible a closer shot. This snow should also help keep the birds from flushing so soon. dont give up, and enjoy the hunt.

Good luck to you and your dog, and keep up the reports!

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Thanks for the quick responses guy! I am from AV originally, just moved out to Waconia last year. My parents and both younger brothers still live in AV though. Most of the areas I've been hunting have little or no corn left, so that has also helped out with displacing some cover for the birds. Let it snow! I think tommorow a friend and I will do some jump shooting for ducks in the morning, and then hunt some pheasants in the evening. Another reason my shooting has been so bad: wrong choke in gun! Don't know how that one has slipped my mind for a few weeks, but it cant be helping my cause. Good Luck

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Good advice above. If possible hunt alone or with one other person. Quiet, quiet, quiet. No beeper or bell if possible. You will almost always have more pointed hens as they tend to sit better (not always though). When possible try to work to an edge (thicker cover to thinner cover or vice versa) or a choke down point where the bird will have to make a decision to fly or sit tight.

When your dog is birdy -

Do not follow directly behind it. You need to "help" your dog pin the bird. Circle wide to help "herd" the bird to a spot where it may want to sit, ie. a cover edge or choke down point. This is a delicate dance but will help your dog pin more roosters when done right. If there are 2 of you, one person should be on each side of the dog to help prevent the birds from circling behind you.

When your dog is pointing -

When possible, DO NOT walk in on a point from directly behind your dog. Always try to circle around your dog and come in from the side or from the front. Sometimes you will need to circle 30-40 yds in front or even more and then come in towards your dog.

Hunting the wind -

If you have a naturally quartering dog (not all are) you should see some definite changes in your dog's hunting pattern depending on your direction vs. the wind direction

Into the wind - dog should be doing a windshield wiper pattern in front of you.

Across the wind - dog may be doing a yo-yo pattern going far out and coming back in to you. The dog may also backcast behind you at times. Try to discourage backcasting.

With the wind - Dog may run way, way out there and quarter it's way back to you.

Unless you have a direct line to God, and can change the wind direction, you will have to hunt into, across, or with the wind at some point during your hunt. Just try to minimize walking with the wind or walk with the wind in the least productive part of the cover.

Experience is what you get when you don't get what you want. What you want is to kill a big fat cock pheasant over your dog's point. When that doesn't happen analyze the situation and think of what you could have done different. Sometimes there is nothing. After all the bird is a living, unpredictable creature. Sometimes you may realize that if I only would have worked the dog from the other direction, or toward that fenceline, or if I only would have come in from the other side of my dog's point it may not have flushed wild or run off. As you and your dog get more experience you will find that you will bag more birds.

Lastly, have patience. Your dog is young and inexperienced. It won't really be getting good until it has 3 or 4 seasons under it's belt. In the meantime, take it hunting and help it learn. Try to learn for yourself too.

The best way to identify a rooster is to look at the neck and head (which is what you should be shooting at anyways) for the white ring around the neck and red wattle around the eyes. If you can't see that then don't shoot.

Good luck,

gspman

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I own two Brittany bird dogs. An eight year old and an eight month old.

Wild pheasants run and some birds will flush wild. I have found that most flushes far ahead are caused by my voice and not the dog's actions.

Agree - quiet is the key. Often tough to do with a young dog.

Another route is to spend a day at a hunting preserve - you can ask the owner to tell you exactly where the birds are planted or go with him when he plants the birds. Is this hunting - not really. But it is very controlled training.

Pointing, shooting and fetching or at least pinning 6 to 12 pheasants in an afternoon will really educate your young dog. It will also teach you to understand how your dog behaves as it gets on birds.

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