How to retrieve birds without a dog

A5 Sweet 16

Member
Good info. Unless you have floppy ears & tail, you have to employ every trick possible to find roosters.
1. Landmarks (a tree in the distance or whatever) help, but you have to be way more specific than that. In short grass - changes in color; other subtle variances. In tall cover - one weed or cattail that looks different. You have to really zero it in. And thou shalt not take your eyes off that spot. But you will, so prior to doing it, say the mark out loud to yourself so you're more likely to remember it when you're ready to concentrate again. "The taller cattail that leans left a bit, that's just to the left of the smallest of the 3 trees on the horizon."
2. Since the article does talk about dogs, I'll add that if your dog doesn't see the bird fall & you have to take him/her to the spot, once you get there, you stay put & let the dog do the searching. Don't search yourself. The dog has roughly 1,000,000 times better odds of finding it than you do, but he/she doesn't need your stink all over the place making it tougher.
 

bobman

New member
LOL I drive 3-4000 miles every years to hunt pheasants, I wouldn't go to my mailbox to hunt them without my dogs
 

ithacafan

New member
LOL I drive 3-4000 miles every years to hunt pheasants, I wouldn't go to my mailbox to hunt them without my dogs
I agree with this 100%. Why shoot at any bird that you don't have very high odds of recovering? A dog gives you that advantage.
 

Dakotazeb

Active member
What am I missing? It's just giving suggestions on how to find downed birds if you're dogless. Where's the controversy?
I'm not sure what got him banned but if you look at his previous posts the majority are a link to the "bird hunting society" site and a few to another site. Not sure what his motive was in posting those links without any other interaction on the thread.
 

cheesy

Active member
"our group" is usually good about 'triangulating' where the bird goes down at. I'll get a line on it, dad will get a line on it, brother in law a line on it. Where the lines meet is where the bird is. If it goes down with a good leg though and not dead, I really wish for the dog I had as a kid that was deadly on cripples. Brother in laws lab is turning into a good replacement though.

Often we'll hang a hat on a tall weed to mark the area so as our search widens we at least know where we started.

Many a times a lone feather was enough to get us where the bird was. Have to take into account where the wind blew that feather from though as it fell to earth.

Newbies that sometimes hunt in 'our group' often are confused the first time we take off running to where a bird fell while they're looking around and congratulating each other on the shot that dropped a bird with a good leg and his head up ready for the track meet.
 

1pheas4

Super Moderator
I'll leave the dog behind once in a while to hunt pheasants when there's snow on the ground. I've done well with tracking birds in fresh snow that's been on the ground for a couple hours. Giving the birds a few hours to start moving around and making tacks in the snow helps. If the snow has been around for a few days, it's good to learn the difference between fresh tracks and older tracks so you're not wasting time tracking down a bird that's long gone.

Once a pheasant is knocked down I'll keep my eyes on the spot he dropped. Never take your eye off that area until you get there. If the bird is ready to run you can used the snow to track him down and locate him without a dog.
 

A5 Sweet 16

Member
Triangulating, spot marking, getting there quickly..... that's all important. But then you just get down on all 4's and sniff around until you find it. Are you guys saying you can't smell them?
 

gimruis

New member
I've hunted over some poorly trained dogs and I can say for a fact that in those cases I would have much rather hunted without a dog. A bad one can ruin a hunt quickly.

For years I hunted without a dog because I didn't have the means, affordability, time, or devotion required to train and have one. I still did OK. I actually did better than a lot of people I know who had dogs too. Now that I have a dog that's been trained properly, I wouldn't go without her.
 
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