Hunting Wiley birds with French Brittany

PTH

Member
So I have a question for all you bird dog trainers out there. I have a 10 month old male French Brittany, he has had quite a bit of exposure to pheasants, working him in fields and has also been on quite a few actual hunts (maybe 20). He seems like he is a natural, lots of bird drive. My question or concern I guess is, at the game farm he does awesome, points 9 out of 10 birds. But in the wild it is a totally different story, I would say he points 2 out of 10 if that, most of the time in the wild the birds jump way out of range, not because the dog is jumping them, but they are heavily pressured, wild jumpers. The dog is obedient, and many times when he lights up and gets birdy you can tell the birds are running like crazy. I will mostly call him back, or get him to whoa, but it seems like I am just pulling him off and the birds will eventually flush out of range. Lately I have been just letting him go hoping he will catch up to them and pin one down, but that is rare, most of the time he basically just flushes them out of range. I don't want him to think he can just run all over hell flushing birds, but I hate to call him back or whoa him just to have the birds flush wild anyways. What is the best way to give him a chance to point the birds without making bad ranging habits? Should I continue to let him go deep, 150 yards or so and hope he figures out how to point wild birds or what? He has been on enough birds that I would have thought he would be a little more stealthy with them instead of just plowing into them with his nose. Thanks for any insight, I think I have got a pretty decent dog, just don't want to steer him in the wrong direction.
 

Meller

New member
Need to remember the dog is only 10 months old; he handles the birds on the game preserve because they sit tight, myself I wouldn't worry about the wild birds yet; since the season is over, I would continue working on obedience to commands, stand steady or whoa, casting, retrieving, hear. Sometimes it just takes a little time and maturity for a young dog, and especially on pheasant, to learn how to handle the wild birds, such as not getting to close, or cutting them off, just learning to handle wild birds!
 

Miforester

Member
I agree with Meller, your dog is very young, you are doing well with him. Young dogs are going to bump birds until they figure the game out and even older dogs will do that if not used to hunting wild pheasants. I wouldn't hesitate in whoaing him if he is pushing hard on runners, then release him when you are comfortable. I am no expert but I allow my younger dogs a little more latitude when hunting. I biggest concern is when a dog just starts tracking one scent and isn't casting any more, I figure we are missing birds......just keep getting him into birds and he will come into his own as he matures.
 
Yes at 10 months just give him a lil experience on wild birds & whoa him if need be... Save the $$$ & cool it on the released birds it won't teach him much if he already point 9 out of 10 dummy birds...

Its all repatition repatition repatition with young dogs wild birds will teach him most exposure to wild birds tracked trailed pointed shot then retrieved will teach him more then a season on dizzy dummy birds at game farm that just sit & watch as dog walk up to it etc.

Quail would be a awesome trainer meaning wild quail hunt

PS wear you from PTM
 

Crossing shot

New member
My first serious exposure to pheasants was December. Birds were spooky. Left strong scent trails. Lots of birds but not many shots.

The next year, things were different opening day. No long scent trail. Lots of green masking birds' scent. Did very well. December same as before. In December I hunt when the sun comes up so there is no long scent trails and hunt private where birds are not so pressured. Dogs sleeping close to my helped keep them close.

Sounds like you have a good dog.
 
I wouldn't whoa him if he's on a scent at 10 months old. Wild pheasants are the toughest for a young dog. They will learn quick though. It took my older dog (who was very good on quail) about a season or 2 longer to figure out the wiley pheasant. Even now, with 3 dogs on the ground, you will only get about half of them off of points. Roosters anyway. I had alot of hen points this year as always. This year was a little different. I got probably 60-70% of the birds killed off of points. Sometimes I had a dog running ahead about a 100 yards and one of my other dogs would point the rooster in between. So I think the lead dog was trailing, and when the bird tried to slip behind it, the other one pinned it down. Just my guess. A bird could have run out the end also. Could have been separate birds? But I would let the dog roll.
 

mnaj_springer

New member
I would not be whoaing or saying much of anything to a young dog while hunting wild birds. Even in her second season, I allowed my Pointer to learn from the birds and I train while training. My concern is that I don't know where the birds or what's truly happening, and I don't want to correct the dog when they are actually doing what they should.

If I were you I would let the pup roll and learn. Running birds are tough on any dog. And wild birds teach young dogs the appropriate distance to point from.

On a side note, I did some training the spring following my pointer's first season. She had previously pointed at 5 yards or so in training. After a wild bird season that bumped up to 15 to 20 yards. That helped understand 2 things. 1. She learned from the wild birds. 2. Wild birds need waaayyy more space. Anyway, I'm rambling.
 

PTH

Member
This is a great site, thanks for all your responses and words of wisdom. Guess I will just keep working him and getting him as much exposure as I can. I am in Utah, wild birds are not exactly around every corner. I am planning on making a run to Montana, one of the Dakota's, and maybe Kansas or Nebraska this fall. We have done Montana a few times, but I've got the rooster itch bad. While I have you guys on the line, I have one more question. I eventually want another dog, when would be a good time to introduce another hunter into our home?
 
This is a great site, thanks for all your responses and words of wisdom. Guess I will just keep working him and getting him as much exposure as I can. I am in Utah, wild birds are not exactly around every corner. I am planning on making a run to Montana, one of the Dakota's, and maybe Kansas or Nebraska this fall. We have done Montana a few times, but I've got the rooster itch bad. While I have you guys on the line, I have one more question. I eventually want another dog, when would be a good time to introduce another hunter into our home?
Is this your 1st time training & or owning a pointer??? My personal opinion is you seem to have ur hands full at moment with 1 10 month old wait till that dog is finished or had a solid season under its belt then go for number 2 but lots of guys run multiple dogs... I hunted my dog with a seasoned Brittany Brown & white taught my dog lots mainly retrieving & backing...

1 thing I'd advise is shoot 100% of your birds off points for that dog it needs to understand I go track find bird pin it point then you shoot it & he retrieve it every time that's wear dummy birds are great repatition ...

I taught whoa with pigeon but only when my dog caught scent she figured out smell bird point it I came In picked up pigeon tapped wing & if she broke point the bird got to fly off if point was solid I kept tape on wing & tossed it for a retrieve... Added gun fire later to situation... Once she started hunting wild birds they taught her all she needed to know if o onCE your dog knows what u want & what his job is the light will come on & learn if I bust birds or stop early they never get to retrieve them that's the reward for my dog the retrieve...

Just a simpletons opinion I trained my dog my self no NAVHDA help but they can help big time if u can't get birds or no place to train...
 

mnaj_springer

New member
This is a great site, thanks for all your responses and words of wisdom. Guess I will just keep working him and getting him as much exposure as I can. I am in Utah, wild birds are not exactly around every corner. I am planning on making a run to Montana, one of the Dakota's, and maybe Kansas or Nebraska this fall. We have done Montana a few times, but I've got the rooster itch bad. While I have you guys on the line, I have one more question. I eventually want another dog, when would be a good time to introduce another hunter into our home?
You should probably wait until your current dog is finished. I think you'll find that is more enjoyable than trying to develop two young dogs.

Also, please don't think an older dog will teach a young dog to hunt. A young dog can learn from an older dog when hunted together, but most likely the young dog will learn bad habits, including letting the older dog find the birds and retrieve the birds.
 

A5 Sweet 16

Member
Also, please don't think an older dog will teach a young dog to hunt. A young dog can learn from an older dog when hunted together, but most likely the young dog will learn bad habits, including letting the older dog find the birds and retrieve the birds.
Agreed!! How many times have I heard, "Oh, great, then he can teach the little one how to hunt!" No. That's not how it works. If you DO hunt 2 dogs (one young one), when the older one DOES do all the finding/retrieving, DON'T praise the little one!!!! You'll teach him he doesn't have to do it. I recommend giving the little one plenty of time to hunt withOUT the older dog.
 

Crossing shot

New member
This is a great site, thanks for all your responses and words of wisdom. Guess I will just keep working him and getting him as much exposure as I can. I am in Utah, wild birds are not exactly around every corner. I am planning on making a run to Montana, one of the Dakota's, and maybe Kansas or Nebraska this fall. We have done Montana a few times, but I've got the rooster itch bad. While I have you guys on the line, I have one more question. I eventually want another dog, when would be a good time to introduce another hunter into our home?
I would give your current dog one more year by himself. Anytime after that. I always had pairs of britts two to three years apart. Worked out well with the pack duties. One always tends to hunt close and one runs. Just like a wild pack of canines.
 
Yes be cautious of hunting with other dogs to early my dog was almost 2 years old. .

My dog has lots of drive so she was strong retriever stronger then the older dogs she ran with but yes beware of bad habits... Hunt just you & your pup 1st few seasons it will help...
 

PTH

Member
Well the Britt is really beginning to figure this wild bird game out. I have had him out just walking fields, no killing just trying to introduce him to as many birds as I can. Seems like every time out he gets a little better. He has pointed many roosters rock solid points, it is so fun to watch. My question is what do you guys do with your dogs during the hatching season? I am not looking forward to not be able to walk the fields with my pup for 3 or 4 months. Kinda sucks.
 

Frank C

Member
PTH,

During the hatching season (in Michigan we call it the quiet time) you can still run your dog with sanctioned organizations such as NAVHDA and others as they typically have designated grounds to train their dogs on.

Otherwise, the quiet time (usually late April - early July) is a good opportunity time to brush up on basic commands and begin the gradual process of conditioning (for both man & dog) in preparation for later in-field training and the upland hunting season.

Frank
 
Well the Britt is really beginning to figure this wild bird game out. I have had him out just walking fields, no killing just trying to introduce him to as many birds as I can. Seems like every time out he gets a little better. He has pointed many roosters rock solid points, it is so fun to watch. My question is what do you guys do with your dogs during the hatching season? I am not looking forward to not be able to walk the fields with my pup for 3 or 4 months. Kinda sucks.
Buy some pigeons. I have also cross-trained my vizslas to find deer sheds. We found three sheds and 13 woodcock yesterday on our walk.
 

Kismet

UPH Guru
Also, in case you have not yet, check your state's game laws to see if there is a protected nesting/hatching season for birds.

Wisconsin prohibits training during ?April to August? or some time like that, to protect the young birds' early growing/learning season.

Best wishes.
 

bobman

New member
whoa is an obedience command and never should be used around birds
it's for teaching backing and keeping a dog safe from snakes, roads etc

you are doing the right thing letting him figure it out and don't stop him from reaching out after birds pointing dogs should go where the birds are and point even if that's hundreds of yards out

you won't be able to whoa him if he's working out where a pointing dog should, he has to learn to be steady on his own

don't shoot birds that volunteer up if you want him to be trustworthy, if he doesn't hold point he doesn't get the bird, that's what you want him to understand

hunt him by himself until he's perfectly steady, competeing with another dog will lead to busting birds with a young dog like him

Use the nesting season teach whoa it's done in the yard without any birds present and continue to bond with him, at this point pigeons are not needed
 
whoa is an obedience command and never should be used around birds
it's for teaching backing and keeping a dog safe from snakes, roads etc

you are doing the right thing letting him figure it out and don't stop him from reaching out after birds pointing dogs should go where the birds are and point even if that's hundreds of yards out

you won't be able to whoa him if he's working out where a pointing dog should, he has to learn to be steady on his own

don't shoot birds that volunteer up if you want him to be trustworthy, if he doesn't hold point he doesn't get the bird, that's what you want him to understand

hunt him by himself until he's perfectly steady, competeing with another dog will lead to busting birds with a young dog like him

Use the nesting season teach whoa it's done in the yard without any birds present and continue to bond with him, at this point pigeons are not needed

I agreed with MOST everything said in this post. Contradicted yourself in the first sentence. Saying whoa shouldn't be used around birds but is for backing. Backing is when another dog is on point. Meaning pointing birds. So in that case you are using whoa around birds. They may not smell em yet but the bird will get up eventually in front of the lead dog. I think the guy is wanting something for his dog to do when taking him for a run. Yard work is great, and re-emphasizing obedience commands are good off-season exercises, but beyond the yard the guy is wanting something for his dog to find during the nesting season. So what's wrong with pen raised birds? Everytime he goes out, put out 2 or 3. And put some distance between them. If he bumps em, let em fly. If he doesn't bump em, shoot em. Then maybe by the time season rolls around he's rock solid. If he is 100% with the yard training and obedience, then live birds are totally necessary.
 
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