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How can I learn to hunt pheasant with my dog?

This is a discussion on How can I learn to hunt pheasant with my dog? within the Hunting forums, part of the Gunner Forum category; I am a 34-year-old female who recently aquired a german shorthaired pointer (bird dog) and would love to take her out in the field. I ...

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Old 06-21-2014, 11:38 AM   #1
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How can I learn to hunt pheasant with my dog?

I am a 34-year-old female who recently aquired a german shorthaired pointer (bird dog) and would love to take her out in the field. I love game birds and would also love to learn to hunt myself! I live in the Bay Area, CA and was wondering if there was a place we could go and learn...

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Old 06-21-2014, 12:03 PM   #2
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Here in colorado our game and parks offer classes designed for women complete with an actual outing. I'm sure cali offers something similar. Otherwise akc and ukc dog clubs have trials and tests year round in cali and there's always folks looking for others to train dogs with. Another option is shooting clubs, trap skeet or rifle ranges. Visit these places and strike up a conversation you'll be surprised how many are eager to share their knowledge! Good luck!
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Old 06-21-2014, 01:23 PM   #3
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Welcome from the Texas Panhandle, Ma'am. Gun Dog, written by Richard A. Wolters, is a good tool, even though it's 50 years old. I have used his books to help train my Labs.
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Old 06-21-2014, 01:40 PM   #4
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Can't help you but wanted to welcome you to the forum. Great bunch of people here.
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Old 06-21-2014, 02:02 PM   #5
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Welcome to our forum.

I grew up hunting pheasants and training bird dogs, but that was back in the glory days in Nebraska and it was a rare day when we didn't see 20 or 30 birds and wild birds, at that. Those days are gone in most places, though you can still find good hunting in the Dakotas and eastern Montana.

Pheasant hunting, these days, for most hunters means hunting preserves where you pay to hunt. These will be pen-rased, stocked birds, not wild birds. I suspect that's what you'll end up doing in just about anywhere in California and, in fact, this may be the only way to hunt pheasants in the Bay area.

This isn't necessarily a bad thing for training purposes, by the way. Stocked birds are nowhere near as savvy and tricky as wild birds and wild pheasants, especially, can give even a well-trained pointing dog fits because of a pheasant's innate tendency to run (they can run as fast as a horse). It's why the flushing breeds - spaniels and retrievers - have always been so popular for pheasant hunting. Stocked birds hold much better for a dog than wild birds. Wild pheasants are not the way to start a pointing dog. Moreover, there's only a few places left in the country where you can even see enough wild pheasants in a day get a new dog trained in an orderly fashion. Even a well-trained bird dog needs to see birds on a regular basis to stay in top form.

I would strongly recommend joining a bird dog club in your area, not just for the sake of training the dog, but for training yourself on how to handle and train the dog. A friend of mine makes a good living training bird dogs for people. He told me many times that the hard part wasn't training the dogs - that was the easy part. Nope, the hard part was training the owners on how to handle their dogs. Wasn't uncommon for owners to send dogs back to him two or three times because three months of hard training by him was quickly undone in a just couple weeks by the stupidity of ignorant and/or impatient owners.

Hunting with an upland bird dog IS one of the greatest partnerships you can have with a dog. It's a rare and beautiful thing and it stays with you for the rest of your life. Nothing else matches it. Even after all these years, I remember and miss every bird dog I had. You have to learn your part of the deal to make the partnership work, though.

Last edited by north country gal; 06-21-2014 at 02:07 PM.
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Old 06-21-2014, 05:24 PM   #6
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+1 on all the above. Wolters is was and ever shall be a true authority on retrievers. Tom Quinn also wrote a great book The Working Retriever, and he's from the San Joaquin Valley your neighbor. All of what ncg said is absolutely true. The best way to learn is to get around others that have done it for a bit. Those pointers are a bit different than retrievers, did the breeder offer any direction of which u seek?
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Old 07-11-2014, 07:50 PM   #7
Joined: Jul 2014
From: USA
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you'll first have to accustom your dog to gunfire, starting with a .22 blank gun at a distance, gradually getting closer, then go to a shotgun from a distance, and gradually get closer. Do not startle/hurt your dog's ears right off the bat, or he/she will associate hunting with pain and fear. Not what you want.
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