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Author Topic: Advice For The New Bird Hunters  (Read 4250 times)

Offline Naches Sportsman

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Advice For The New Bird Hunters
« on: October 18, 2016, 10:33:16 PM »
These are some of the things that I tell people younger than me when I take them upland bird hunting for the first time. These are the principles I believe in.

Be fit cardio wise. If you can't run more than a mile or two at a time, you shouldn't be upland hunting. Being fit is important so you can get around easier, and cover more ground efficiently.

Know the rules. Study the bird regs front to back several times and know what every limit is and what all the rules are. Pass Hunters Education.

Study the game species. Get on Google and do some research. Another option is to go to your local library and find bird books. Study the books.

After you study the bird species you are interested in, look at a map of the state you live in. Are their areas where you are likely to find those species?

Scout. Spend money on gas and burn boot leather. Go explore. You won't learn squat about an area if you're sitting on your butt at home.  See what the area holds.

Know that you are going to get skunked. It's called hunting for a reason. If you are in it for killing, buy chicks at the hardware store and raise your own birds for food.

Don't ask for people's spots. I have had people follow me around and ask me before, and I state some/all of these principles to them.

Notice that I haven't mentioned a dog anywhere. Until you are consistently putting up limits or close to limits, there is no reason for a dog. A dog is useless if you are in an area that doesn't hold birds. A bird dog takes a lot of time to train and get ready to hunt.


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Offline JODakota

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Re: Advice For The New Bird Hunters
« Reply #1 on: October 18, 2016, 10:41:50 PM »


Notice that I haven't mentioned a dog anywhere. Until you are consistently putting up limits or close to limits, there is no reason for a dog. A dog is useless if you are in an area that doesn't hold birds. A bird dog takes a lot of time to train and get ready to hunt.

This is the dumbest thing I have ever heard. Some of us hunt birds because of our dogs. It isn't always about limits and the kill.
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Offline Old Dog

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Re: Advice For The New Bird Hunters
« Reply #2 on: October 18, 2016, 11:10:32 PM »

Be fit cardio wise. If you can't run more than a mile or two at a time, you shouldn't be upland hunting. Being fit is important so you can get around easier, and cover more ground efficiently.


 :yike:  I'm nearly 64 years old with double knee replacements, and I'm not running anywhere.   >:(

I still get out upland hunting with my dog, and do 4 or 5 miles depending on terrain.   :IBCOOL:

I also agree with JODakota.  I've been upland hunting for just over 50 years, and I can't imagine doing it without a dog.   :dunno:
Hunt hard and shoot straight!

Offline Smossy's Girl

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Re: Advice For The New Bird Hunters
« Reply #3 on: October 18, 2016, 11:22:00 PM »
... thank you for deciding to post this information for those seeking it!
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Offline 87Ford

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Re: Advice For The New Bird Hunters
« Reply #4 on: October 18, 2016, 11:52:58 PM »
Until you are consistently putting up limits or close to limits, there is no reason for a dog. A dog is useless if you are in an area that doesn't hold birds. A bird dog takes a lot of time to train and get ready to hunt.
If it weren't for my dogs, I wouldn't hunt birds.  For me, it's ALL about the dogs, not shooting "limits or close to limits" :twocents:

Online JeffRaines

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Re: Advice For The New Bird Hunters
« Reply #5 on: October 19, 2016, 12:05:20 AM »

Until you are consistently putting up limits or close to limits, there is no reason for a dog. A dog is useless if you are in an area that doesn't hold birds. A bird dog takes a lot of time to train and get ready to hunt.
If it weren't for my dogs, I wouldn't hunt birds.  For me, it's ALL about the dogs, not shooting "limits or close to limits" :twocents:
[/quote]

I think Naches is not saying that a dog doesn't help - I think he is giving some people a reality check. Some people think that the reason they aren't finding any birds is because they don't have a dog, and he's just saying that getting a dog isn't going to fix your inability to pick a birdy area. Getting a dog isn't going to take you to 'master hunter' status(if there is such a thing).

Thats my take on it anyway.
« Last Edit: October 19, 2016, 11:41:41 AM by jackelope »

Offline NW-GSP

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Re: Advice For The New Bird Hunters
« Reply #6 on: October 19, 2016, 04:00:19 AM »
Without a dog I would have not found the majority of birds I have shot nor found them in the first place.

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Re: Advice For The New Bird Hunters
« Reply #7 on: October 19, 2016, 07:02:22 AM »
Without a dog I would have not found the majority of birds I have shot nor found them in the first place.

+1

A well trained dog will find far more birds than a guy on foot ever can, not to mention it adds so much more to the experience.  If I didn't have my setter, I wouldn't bother going.

Offline fethrduster

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Re: Advice For The New Bird Hunters
« Reply #8 on: October 19, 2016, 07:04:34 AM »

Scout. Spend money on gas and burn boot leather. Go explore. You won't learn squat about an area if you're sitting on your butt at home.  See what the area holds.

Know that you are going to get skunked. It's called hunting for a reason. If you are in it for killing, buy chicks at the hardware store and raise your own birds for food.


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Offline jennabug

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Re: Advice For The New Bird Hunters
« Reply #9 on: October 19, 2016, 07:13:17 AM »
These are some of the things that I tell people younger than me when I take them upland bird hunting for the first time. These are the principles I believe in.
:D :tup:

Offline birddogdad

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Re: Advice For The New Bird Hunters
« Reply #10 on: October 19, 2016, 07:17:40 AM »
Until you are consistently putting up limits or close to limits, there is no reason for a dog. A dog is useless if you are in an area that doesn't hold birds. A bird dog takes a lot of time to train and get ready to hunt.
If it weren't for my dogs, I wouldn't hunt birds.  For me, it's ALL about the dogs, not shooting "limits or close to limits" :twocents:


 :yeah: The experience with my dogs is ALL that matters when upland hunting....but I do agree, be in shape~ upland hunting is not easy (especially chukars)
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Offline JLS

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Re: Advice For The New Bird Hunters
« Reply #11 on: October 19, 2016, 07:26:16 AM »
I agree wholeheartedly on the comments about dogs.  I would not hunt birds much at all if I didn't have a dog.  It just adds so much more to the experience, particularly if you have trained the dog yourself.  We are a team, pure and simple, and getting to watch him work is amazingly rewarding.

All that said, I think the point the OP was trying to make is that you can hunt birds without a dog.  I did it a lot in college.  It was much more the norm than the exception.  I killed some roosters and I killed some chukars.  I am sure I walked by a lot of birds, and I know I lost some cripples that a dog would have found.  I also found some birds by diligently poking around in the rocks and looking for feathers.

Yes, having a dog is pointless if you can't identify good bird habitat.  However, if you are hunting without a dog, and assuming that there are not birds there because you don't see them flush, you are misleading yourself.  Chukars don't always flush wild, nor do Huns or pheasants.  We all know how tight these birds can and will sit.  The takeway here is just because you don't see the birds, don't assume they are NOT there.  You will have to broaden your abilities as a bird hunter and look for droppings, scratchings, etc.  For a dogless hunter, snow is a blessing beyond compare.

Don't run out and buy a bird dog just because you THINK you might hunt it.  I hunt my dog nearly every week, usually 2 times a week.  He works well because I work him often, and I because I am consistent in what I expect.  Don't think you can take a dog out on opening day, Thanksgiving, and Christmas and have an all-star hunting dog.  He'll hunt about like you shoot if you only do it three times a year.
Matthew 7:13-14

Offline floatinghat

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Re: Advice For The New Bird Hunters
« Reply #12 on: October 19, 2016, 07:41:59 AM »


While I don't agree with every paragraph as written there is merit to the logic. 

Being in shape helps

Know what you are shooting and limits, be on the legal side of the law

Do some research on your own

I won't buy chicks but a roasted Chicken now and then

A well trained dog is A) A lot of work B) expensive.  For me nothing better than watching my female lab in the field she is driven, competitive, and a natural  Our male is a rehome, goof ball, little competitive drive, but he has a blast without understanding what was trained out of his instinct.  I am hoping he gets there. 

All of these are measured on expectation.  Depending on how success is most often driven by effort and commitment (depending on how you measure success, for me it's the experience).

Offline Rainier10

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Re: Advice For The New Bird Hunters
« Reply #13 on: October 19, 2016, 07:51:30 AM »
Thanks for posting your opinion and advice.  I am sure that will be helpful to some.

Interesting that the very first reply is someone saying it is the dumbest thing they have ever heard.

I guess some people just have to be negative and then the piling on begins, sorry about that.  :sry:

Thanks again for posting your thoughts.
Pain is temporary, achieving the goal is worth it.

I didn't say it would be easy, I said it would be worth it.

Every father should remember that one day his children will follow his example instead of his advice.


The views and opinions expressed in this post are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of HuntWa or the site owner.

Offline JLS

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Re: Advice For The New Bird Hunters
« Reply #14 on: October 19, 2016, 08:00:19 AM »
Interesting that the very first reply is someone saying it is the dumbest thing they have ever heard.

I guess some people just have to be negative and then the piling on begins, sorry about that.  :sry:.

Some people seem to lack the ability to convey a message with grace and tolerance.

The notion posed by the OP is certainly not true.  As I noted above, even in very good habitat you are going to miss birds that don't flush.  Saying there is no reason for a dog is very misleading at best.
Matthew 7:13-14

Offline Rainier10

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Re: Advice For The New Bird Hunters
« Reply #15 on: October 19, 2016, 08:20:49 AM »
Interesting that the very first reply is someone saying it is the dumbest thing they have ever heard.

I guess some people just have to be negative and then the piling on begins, sorry about that.  :sry:.

Some people seem to lack the ability to convey a message with grace and tolerance.

The notion posed by the OP is certainly not true.  As I noted above, even in very good habitat you are going to miss birds that don't flush.  Saying there is no reason for a dog is very misleading at best.
I think he said until you are finding limits of birds there is no need for a dog.  Are you saying that is not true?  That a dog is needing the first time you go afield?  Would you go the opposite way and say don't even bother chukar hunting if you don't have a dog?

Some of the posts sound like chukar hunting can be pretty brutal on your dog.  A long hike in an area with no birds doesn't sound like a good idea for the dogs health.  I am thinking the OP might be onto something when he says find the birds first and then take a dog.

I am not sure it is the "dumbest" thing to find a good bird spot before bringing or even getting a dog if you are just starting out.

A dog is quite an investment for a first time bird hunter.  First time hunters are who the thread is directed at.
Pain is temporary, achieving the goal is worth it.

I didn't say it would be easy, I said it would be worth it.

Every father should remember that one day his children will follow his example instead of his advice.


The views and opinions expressed in this post are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of HuntWa or the site owner.

Offline trapp01

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Re: Advice For The New Bird Hunters
« Reply #16 on: October 19, 2016, 09:01:38 AM »
bird dogs = life

I agree with everything except the last paragraph.

I've put lots of miles on my boots and pickup and knocked on more doors thank I ever thought possible. Killed quite a few birds but it's my dogs that got me hooked on upland hunting.

I would rather watch my pups work all day and not shoot a single bird  than hunt without them.

A well trained bird dog imo is one of the most important tools for upland hunting.

Teaches you to move slower in area where your dog is birdy and faster when your dog looks at you like,"he'll there's no birds here." Basically teaches you the habitat birds live in.

They let you know when it's time to be done for the day (hurt pads. Exhaustion)

They find cripples and birds down in heavy brush.

Companionship is the most important. Having dogs makes you feel responsible for getting out there and hunting. When nobody else wants to hunt when it's snow raining or hot my dogs will always want to hunt.

It's something about watching my girls work so hard, for so long for me and get very little in return that keeps me going out bird hunting.

"Never, ever spoil your bird dog." -hunting with hank.




« Last Edit: October 19, 2016, 09:08:46 AM by trapp01 »

Offline AspenBud

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Re: Advice For The New Bird Hunters
« Reply #17 on: October 19, 2016, 09:07:07 AM »
Bird hunting is largely about the guy driving the truck. You can have the best bred and best trained dog in the world but if you don't know how or where to find the birds your dog will be in for a lot of nice hikes.

Having said that, some species exist in places that make finding them after they have been shot incredibly hard without a dog. There is no better conservation tool than a well trained bird dog. A well bred, well trained, dog will not only help you find the birds you are hunting, but also find the ones you shoot and thereby help ensure you get your limit without a lot of game wastage.

Offline JLS

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Re: Advice For The New Bird Hunters
« Reply #18 on: October 19, 2016, 09:08:27 AM »
Interesting that the very first reply is someone saying it is the dumbest thing they have ever heard.

I guess some people just have to be negative and then the piling on begins, sorry about that.  :sry:.

Some people seem to lack the ability to convey a message with grace and tolerance.

The notion posed by the OP is certainly not true.  As I noted above, even in very good habitat you are going to miss birds that don't flush.  Saying there is no reason for a dog is very misleading at best.
I think he said until you are finding limits of birds there is no need for a dog.  Are you saying that is not true?  That a dog is needing the first time you go afield?  Would you go the opposite way and say don't even bother chukar hunting if you don't have a dog?

I am not saying a dog is needed the first time you go afield.  As I said in an earlier post, I spent four years of college hunting birds without a dog.  A decent portion of that was chukar hunting, of which I had varying degrees of success. 

What I am saying is that you simply are going to miss a lot of birds without a dog, so to think a dog is not going to benefit you until you are finding limits is not accurate.  I see a few coveys of birds here and there when I am bow hunting, yet I can come back with my dog and find multiple coveys of chukars in a day on the same ridges. 

To say there is no need for a dog until you are putting up (I am assuming he means flushing, not harvesting?) limits of birds makes about as much sense to me as saying there is no need for a spotting scope until you can find multiple legal bucks a day with your binos.  A scope is not a necessity, but it sure helps a lot.


Some of the posts sound like chukar hunting can be pretty brutal on your dog.  A long hike in an area with no birds doesn't sound like a good idea for the dogs health.  I am thinking the OP might be onto something when he says find the birds first and then take a dog.

The chicken or the egg?  Chukar hunting is as hard on your dog as you let it be.  If you condition your dog (including his feet) and take proper precautions, such as boots when necessary, there is no threat to the animal's health that is greater than any other terrain you hunt in.  The important things are having a decent understanding of health risks that your dog faces and how to recognize them.  I hunt some very rugged country for birds, and can usually get two days worth of hunting out of my dog before he is due for a recovery spell. 

I am not sure it is the "dumbest" thing to find a good bird spot before bringing or even getting a dog if you are just starting out.

A dog can be a significant monetary and time investment, for sure.  Anyone that is just starting out should really ascertain their commitment prior to getting a dog.  However, there is no way in hell I'm leaving my dog home to go check out a bird spot prior to taking him.  That's what he's there for, is to find birds in a vast area.  Someone could go hike through the Swanson Lakes and come away thinking there aren't many birds there.  Go back with a good dog and all of a sudden you realize there ARE a lot more Huns out there than you think.

A dog is quite an investment for a first time bird hunter.  First time hunters are who the thread is directed at.

A huge investment.  Heck, I have almost 2k in my dog and Garmin GPS collar alone.  I think it's ridiculous to think that you HAVE to get a dog to hunt birds.  I think it's equally ridiculous to suggest that a dog is of no value unless you are putting up lots of birds without one, because you are missing many more than you are flushing.
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Offline JODakota

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Re: Advice For The New Bird Hunters
« Reply #19 on: October 19, 2016, 09:20:05 AM »
Interesting that the very first reply is someone saying it is the dumbest thing they have ever heard.

I guess some people just have to be negative and then the piling on begins, sorry about that.  :sry:.

Some people seem to lack the ability to convey a message with grace and tolerance.

The notion posed by the OP is certainly not true.  As I noted above, even in very good habitat you are going to miss birds that don't flush.  Saying there is no reason for a dog is very misleading at best.

I've stated my opinion. If you noticed I didn't quote the whole post because there's a lot he wrote that I agree with. I found the part I quoted myself to be judgemental and possibly demeaning to those who might possibly interested in joining the sport, and frankly, just down right stupid.

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Offline Rainier10

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Re: Advice For The New Bird Hunters
« Reply #20 on: October 19, 2016, 09:38:01 AM »
Fair enough.  Everyone is entitled to their opinion.  I am sure we can agree a first time bird hunter not having a shotgun may be one of the "dumbest" things we heard of.  We will just have to disagree on whether a first time bird hunter not having a dog along is the "dumbest" thing ever posted here.
Pain is temporary, achieving the goal is worth it.

I didn't say it would be easy, I said it would be worth it.

Every father should remember that one day his children will follow his example instead of his advice.


The views and opinions expressed in this post are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of HuntWa or the site owner.

Offline JODakota

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Re: Advice For The New Bird Hunters
« Reply #21 on: October 19, 2016, 09:49:21 AM »
Fair enough.  Everyone is entitled to their opinion.  I am sure we can agree a first time bird hunter not having a shotgun may be one of the "dumbest" things we heard of.  We will just have to disagree on whether a first time bird hunter not having a dog along is the "dumbest" thing ever posted here.

That's not what he stated, and that's not what I said. He stated that if your not consistently putting up limits, there is no need for a dog. That is an absurd statement.
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Offline Rainier10

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Re: Advice For The New Bird Hunters
« Reply #22 on: October 19, 2016, 10:04:59 AM »
Fair enough.  Everyone is entitled to their opinion.  I am sure we can agree a first time bird hunter not having a shotgun may be one of the "dumbest" things we heard of.  We will just have to disagree on whether a first time bird hunter not having a dog along is the "dumbest" thing ever posted here.

That's not what he stated, and that's not what I said. He stated that if your not consistently putting up limits, there is no need for a dog. That is an absurd statement.
Just so we are clear, this is the last two sentences of his post.

"A dog is useless if you are in an area that doesn't hold birds. A bird dog takes a lot of time to train and get ready to hunt."

I think this is great advice for a first time bird hunter.  Would you suggest a first time bird hunter take a dog to an area that doesn't hold birds?  Are you saying it is a good idea to put the time and effort into training a dog and getting it ready to hunt before you even go bird hunting?  What if you find out as a first time bird hunter that you don't like it?  What do you do with the dog and time you have invested into it?

Pretty sure we are going to have to agree to disagree on this one.
Pain is temporary, achieving the goal is worth it.

I didn't say it would be easy, I said it would be worth it.

Every father should remember that one day his children will follow his example instead of his advice.


The views and opinions expressed in this post are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of HuntWa or the site owner.

Offline trapp01

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Re: Advice For The New Bird Hunters
« Reply #23 on: October 19, 2016, 10:30:02 AM »
Fair enough.  Everyone is entitled to their opinion.  I am sure we can agree a first time bird hunter not having a shotgun may be one of the "dumbest" things we heard of.  We will just have to disagree on whether a first time bird hunter not having a dog along is the "dumbest" thing ever posted here.

That's not what he stated, and that's not what I said. He stated that if your not consistently putting up limits, there is no need for a dog. That is an absurd statement.
Just so we are clear, this is the last two sentences of his post.

"A dog is useless if you are in an area that doesn't hold birds. A bird dog takes a lot of time to train and get ready to hunt."

I think this is great advice for a first time bird hunter.  Would you suggest a first time bird hunter take a dog to an area that doesn't hold birds?  Are you saying it is a good idea to put the time and effort into training a dog and getting it ready to hunt before you even go bird hunting?  What if you find out as a first time bird hunter that you don't like it?  What do you do with the dog and time you have invested into it?

Pretty sure we are going to have to agree to disagree on this one.

There's options before getting a dog

Go with somebody who has a bird dog, there's lots of open seat threads on here and Facebook.

Go guided for your first time to see if you like it.

If you decide you like it that much then a trained pup really helps
I get it there's lots of senarios where someone can't or doesn't need a dog and if that's the case your really going to need to put in extra time and money into scouting and hunting.

But to say that unless your putting up limits or close to limits there is no need for a dog is over the top. Many times I go out with dogs and don't put up even close to a limit.but they flush that one quail and where's there's one there's more.

A dog is not completely needed for the first time hunter but sure helps a ton.

We see this all the time. 20 guys in a line shoulder to shoulder pushing a field without dogs, when 1 guy with a dog could more effectively cover the same ground

Offline JODakota

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Re: Advice For The New Bird Hunters
« Reply #24 on: October 19, 2016, 10:34:30 AM »
Fair enough.  Everyone is entitled to their opinion.  I am sure we can agree a first time bird hunter not having a shotgun may be one of the "dumbest" things we heard of.  We will just have to disagree on whether a first time bird hunter not having a dog along is the "dumbest" thing ever posted here.

That's not what he stated, and that's not what I said. He stated that if your not consistently putting up limits, there is no need for a dog. That is an absurd statement.
Just so we are clear, this is the last two sentences of his post.

"A dog is useless if you are in an area that doesn't hold birds. A bird dog takes a lot of time to train and get ready to hunt."

I think this is great advice for a first time bird hunter.  Would you suggest a first time bird hunter take a dog to an area that doesn't hold birds?  Are you saying it is a good idea to put the time and effort into training a dog and getting it ready to hunt before you even go bird hunting?  What if you find out as a first time bird hunter that you don't like it?  What do you do with the dog and time you have invested into it?

Pretty sure we are going to have to agree to disagree on this one.
Well you hunting period in area that doesn't hold birds is completely useless with our without a dog. So that's not really a valid point. Do you know how I got into bird hunting? I bought a bird dog, and the a few years later, I bought another. But he did state, if your not putting up limits, there's no reason to get a dog. That's ridiculous.I'm sorry, I bought my dogs to find birds and watch them work. Anybody who seriously runs pointers or Bird dogs for that matter understands this. Also, riddle me this, how do you know if an area is going to hold birds with out hunting it without dogs? I've hunted without dogs and though there weren't birds there. Run dogs in the same areas and have had the best hunting. What do I do with my dogs that I have time and money invested into?? They are dogs, they get exercised and hang around the house in the off season.
Not for self, but for country

 

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