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My first hunt of the year
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Keith
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PostPosted: 08/29/03, 8:52 am    Post subject: My first hunt of the year Reply with quote

This weekend is our first hunt this year. Me and my wirehair will be dove hunting. It is usually me and a few labs in the field. I have taken my wirehairs for years and they do a good job.
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kiwimac
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PostPosted: 08/31/03, 8:17 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

G`day Keith.hope you have a great hunting season mate.Down here in NZ,we have to wait until May 04 comes around to hunt again.I have placed my order in for my 1st ever `wire`.Should be ready in Dec.So I continue to buy books,study this site etc.Both my sons are as excited as I am.Have got my wife onboard as well.Keith,I came across Altmoor`s web site and made contact with Rodger Smith.Had him send me his kennels manual called `The Drahthaar puppy manual`.Have you read it.If so what did you think of it?It appears to be very helpful to me.Targets the 1st time owner.I know it`s a DD manual,but it should apply to `wires` as well,do you think.Any other books that you could suggest,I would be most gratefull.I would have to get the suggested titles thru ebay,which is fine with me.Back to hunting.Whats the state daily limit on the birds you are hunting.When does your waterfowl season start...
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Keith
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PostPosted: 09/02/03, 10:42 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I had a superb dove hunt with excellent dog work. Wirehairs are very good dove dogs. Good obedience in the field and fast retrieves. She also saw many birds before I did.
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Keith
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PostPosted: 09/04/03, 2:13 pm    Post subject: kiwimac Reply with quote

I would think that a DD manual would be good for training a wirehair. My hunting season always starts here in my home state with dove season on September 1st. Sometimes it is very hot. Two years ago it was 108 on opening day. But this year it was in the 80's. That is Fahrenheit. This year I had a real good hunt and the dog performed great. It is straight retrieving work for the dog. I have her heel with me into the field and then sit by my side. She was really great and saw many birds before I did. She does a real good job marking birds down and retrieving them. You hunt them over planted fields and this year they were real muddy. She saved me a lot of walking in a lot of deep mud. It always amazes me that a dog with those small feet can run full speed through mud that we can barely walk through. She also did a real good job of finding doves that had fallen in the 4 foot high grass and weeds on the sides of the fields. My next hunt will be on the 13th of September. I am torn between going to Nebraska and hunting sharptail grouse and prairie chickens or staying here and hunting blue wing teal (small duck) and resident geese (early season here to take advantage of all the non-migratory geese). I saw a lot of ducks and geese where I went dove hunting so I know they are here now. But I would really love to see my 3 year old and my new pup out running on the prairie for grouse. The real hunting in my home state begins in late October for ducks and early November for bobwhite quail. If I go to Nebraska for prairie grouse this month I will probably go back up there in November and hit their pheasant opener. Wirehairs are very versatile hunters. This year I will hunt- pheasants, snipe, woodcock, ducks, geese, rabbits, prairie grouse, quail and doves with my dogs. Many times I will hunt many of these on the same hunt. By the end of February most seasons are over.
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axjms
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PostPosted: 09/05/03, 6:01 pm    Post subject: rabbits Reply with quote

Hi keith,

I have a 14 week old gwp pup. We live in Alaska. I am working with her on retrieving and some basic tracking. I am planning on taking her on her first controlled hunt (planted pheasants) this weekend. I am worried about shooting over her too soon and making her gunshy. I make a ton of racket almost every feeding and have played with her near a rifle range but I don't want to push to fast. What do you think?

Also I wanted to ask about how you use your gwp for hunting rabbits. I love to hunt them but have never used a dog to do it. Should she just track them down and point them? I have a feeling she would try and chase them down. She has a real intensity for game already and I don't want to start any bad habits.

thanks
Jason
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Baron
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PostPosted: 09/07/03, 1:43 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Jason,

I wouldn’t take a pup that young hunting and shoot over it. First, a pup should be introduced to gunfire correctly before any shooting is done over it. Otherwise, you risk causing the pup to become gun shy. Second, there is basic yard work and training that should be done before a pup is put in the field and expected to hunt. Otherwise, your pup may develop bad habits that will be difficult to correct later. Is your pup pointing staunchly yet (at that age, I would doubt it)? If not, you may be encouraging the pup to bust birds instead of pointing them.


Also, pheasants are not the right bird to start a pup on, especially a pup as young as yours. Pheasants like to run, which can frustrate a young pup and cause it to bust birds instead of pointing them. Also, if you shoot one and the pup tries to retrieve it, if the bird isn’t dead it could spur the pup or even bat the pup hard with its wings, causing the pup to develop a fear of making the retrieve. That is a problem that can be difficult to correct.

Take your time developing the hunting talents of your new pup. Introduce it to gunfire properly. Do the necessary yard work. Introduce the pup to birds properly. Then, take the pup to the field and set up training scenarios there. Get the pup understanding and doing its job in controlled training situations before you try to hunt over it. Yes, you will miss the first couple of months of this hunting season while you’re training your pup, but you will save yourself a lot of headaches, problems, and bad habits. You’ll be happier in the long run.

As far as hunting rabbits with your dog. It isn’t too hard to get them to do that. Most of the versatile breeds will eagerly hunt rabbits with a little encouragement. Just praise and encourage you pup when it tracks and points a rabbit. Shoot a few of them for the dog when the dog points them, and the dog will get the idea that you want it to hunt rabbits. Once they understand that, they will hunt them all the time. For safety reasons, I don’t like to shoot a rabbit that isn’t being pointed. Since these dogs don’t bark when tracking rabbits, like a beagle would, and because they can cover ground so quickly, it is sometimes hard to know exactly where your dog is when they are tracking. It’s better to lose a rabbit than shoot a dog.

Good luck with your pup.
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Keith
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PostPosted: 09/08/03, 10:42 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Don't expect to much out of a 14 week old pup. Take your time. I introduce them to shooting a little at a time. I start out with a 22 blank gun. I wait until they are doing something they love, like chasing a bird. Or sometimes if they love to retrieve, which most do at this age, I will take a dummy when they are at least a couple hundred feet away and throw the dummy in the air and shoot the blank while the dummy is flying. If they love retrieving and you can see that the shot didn't bother them they start associating the shot to seeing the dummy fly. Then I slowly over a few days start closing the distance. Same thing if you shoot while they are chasing birds. Close the distance that you shoot over time. Only after I have worked the blank gun up close and it doesn't bother them do they hear their first shotgun. And again at a distance. I have known a lot of people with gunshy dogs. I have never had one. I think most of the time it is the fault of the trainer introducing the gun to close to fast. On pointing just remember when starting your pup out to only shoot birds that were properly pointed. And don't let the pup get in the habit of catching poorly flying pen raised birds or it will be real hard to teach them to hold their points. Later after they have become good at pointing you can shoot game like rabbits that the dog is tracking and chasing. My dog will point rabbits, or flush them if they don't hold and track them. Some days I don't hunt rabbits. If you are into a lot of birds and don't want to hunt rabbits just ignore the dog and tell him to hunt on when he is hunting rabbits. They can adjust from hunt to hunt. They are smart dogs.

Last edited by Keith on 09/09/03, 8:40 am; edited 1 time in total
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axjms
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PostPosted: 09/08/03, 4:52 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks Baron and Keith,

I decided not to take her out on the pheasant hunt last weekend. I did start her on pigeons. I read that it is best to get them pointing before they are too bold to actually try and catch the bird. I think I may have missed the window because she is definitley bold enough to try and catch the bird.

This is what I read and what I did. Tell me what you think. I got a live pigeon who is a strong flyer and tied a forty foot string to its leg. I tied the string to a pole stuck in the ground and then tossed the bird. A few times, I planted it but mostly I tossed it so I wouldn't leave a scent trail. The pigeon flew and then burrowed into the deep grass.

A few minutes later I brought the pup (Elsa) to the training area and told her to "Hunt" She knows this command pretty well because I have been working on quartering with her (all fun and games) and sometimes I plant a feather dummy.

We worked upwind in the field on the long line and she would sometimes find the bird well and sometimes not. Sometimes the bird would move and clue her in and she would sight point. Other times she scent pointed the hidden bird. I then "Whoa'd" her (always after a solid point) and held the line tight so she couldn't bust the bird. If she held her point by the time I got to her I praised her and petted her up her back. Then I reached over with my other hand and tossed the bird back up. Sometimes the bird cooperated by flying diorectly away and sometimes it was a pain and just flew right close within sight. When that happened she went wild and wanted to get the bird of course. I would then heel or carry her away and come back at the bird from a different angle after several minutes.

Sometimes I had a friend shoot a capgun as the bird flew but sometimes I was alone and couldn't do it. She was completely oblivious to the noise and was completely focused on the bird.

This seems like a good way to get her mind focused on pointng and the book said to only do it until about 16 weeks. My concern is sometimes these birds are just flapping on the ground and she knows she can catch them but I hold her back. I don't want to start any bad habits but I want her to have a great start. What do you guys think about this?

Also, thanks for the tips about rabbits. I will hunt some this winter but she will be much older then.
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Baron
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PostPosted: 09/08/03, 5:51 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Jason,

Do you have access to, or can you buy any remote launchers? They can be used to simulate wild bird contacts (only, these you can control) that will get the pup pointing staunchly in a short amount of time.
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Keith
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PostPosted: 09/09/03, 8:37 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I like launchers too. With young pups I have also used the pigeon pole like you described to get their interest up. The best thing you can do is run the pup on wild birds. Any kind of wild birds. I like to let them find them and chase them until they start pointing them. This also teaches them how to hunt, where to find birds, and how to handle them. Then I will buy some pigeons or quail and put them in a manual launcher (I am to cheap to buy remote launchers). I will bring them in on a checkchord and let them point. When they point I restrain them and pet them and then spring the bird and take the pup and move out in a different direction. If you have two remote launchers you can move on to the next one. After they are used to the gun I will shoot the birds for them and let them retrieve them. I use the launchers because it gives me more control over the situation. The birds stay put and you know right where they are. It also lets you control the flush and propels the bird into flight.
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axjms
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PostPosted: 09/10/03, 5:11 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks for the good advice guys. I think the point of bagging or restraining the birds is really great and I will definitely do that in the future. I don't have a remote launcher or know anyone who has one. Plus I only have two pigeons to train her with so I hate to let them go. I will look around though and try and find a reasonable one.

Keith: did you find the pigeon pole with pups started bad habits? I am not an expert but I know that untraining is MUCH harder than training. This pup is only 14+ weeks old but she is a bird machine already. I don't think building interest is a problem at all. Mainly I want to channel that interest into solid scent points not a blitz on a bagged bird which is what she wants to do now. I have spent some time with scent tracking and all her retreives now are in brush so she has really got the idea of using her nose and does pretty well for a pup.

thanks again for the feedback and advice.
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Keith
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PostPosted: 09/11/03, 8:10 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I just use the pigeon pole when they are real young. The best thing to get them pointing would be wild birds. They will flush and chase for a while, but eventually they will come in slower and point. Then you can teach whoa and plant birds, bring them in on a checkchord and once they establish point teach them to hold the point until you flush the bird. Then you are ready to shoot some birds and get them ready for hunting season. And that first hunting season they will mess up with a lot of birds and flush them. You just go on and only shoot the birds that the pup handles correctly. If you can't get the pup into any wild birds you can use free flying wild pigeons (you can card them to recover them) and bring the pup in on a checkchord and let him flush or point the bird. Stop him with the rope right after he flushes the bird. He will start coming in slower and slower and then he will start pointing the pigeon.
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axjms
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PostPosted: 09/11/03, 12:45 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Keith: what is "carding" a pigeon?
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Keith
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PostPosted: 09/11/03, 1:39 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I used about 8" sqare cardboard with a piece of yarn through one corner and the other end tied around the pigeons ankle with about 10" of yarn seperating them. It catches the air in flight and shortens the flight distance of the pigeon so you can recoup the bird. You can experiment with the size of the cardboard to fit the flight distance you want. You have to be sure your dog is on a checkchord because they can chase down the pigeon and you don't want the dog catching the bird. The good thing is if you get a wild pigeon it will flush like a wild bird if the dog tries to get to close and it will teach the dog to point without you restraining him before the point. Just like a wild bird. The bird teaches the dog to point, not you restraining him. The bad thing is you need a pretty big open field with no trees or power lines for the bird to land in. If you can raise homers to a loft of your own you can use the pigeons without any restraints or put them in a remote launcher and trip it and they will fly home. I have also used quail in a launcher with a few feet of red yarn tied to their ankles so you can reuse them. If you use quail be sure to get flight conditioned quail that can fly a good distance. You just trip the launcher when the pup gets to close. He will start pointing to avoid the flush.
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ANGUS
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PostPosted: 09/11/03, 6:41 pm    Post subject: RE 1st Hunt Reply with quote

Well we missed our 1st hunt last year due to the fact that Angus was just coming 3months and we have very heavy under brush here ,the poor guy could hardly move in some spots, but we did manage some field work.and this year we have missed it again ,as the bush has been close due to the very high fire hazzard. lets hope that we get out for some ducks then.
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