View Full Version : Upland game hunting without a dog?
I'll be taking dad with me on an upland game hunt. ###This'll be the first time for us. ###Was initially set on pheasant, but because we are dog-less was only able to flush 2 in two hours (@ Grizzly Island) on our first scouting trip. ###
For a beginner, what's an easier upland game (if any?)
10-01-2001, 09:13 AM
A dog can help for CA quail but hunting without one is still pretty easy. ###They're not as prone to hold tight and let you walk right past them as a pheasant or hun. ###There are lots of them in CA too, so a decent spot shouldn't be to hard to find. ###That would get my first vote.
I wouldn't stop pheasant hunting though... you just need to hunt them differently without a dog.
10-01-2001, 02:37 PM
Also with quail, you flush maybe 20 at a time and can spend lots of time chasing singles and doubles. ###You kind of lose yourself in trying to figure where they all went. ###A dog helps here, but they generally don't go far and will hold and flush if they don't sneak over the next hill on the ground. ###Fish and Game Dept puts out a good beginners book for the quail of California, it talks about species, habitat, etc. ###I'm still learning too except I bring my kids instead of my dad. Good luck, have fun.
10-01-2001, 08:57 PM
I had my best hunt ever with a WELL-TRAINED dog. I had my three worst trips ever with a trained-it-myself-dog. ###Never again will I drive two hours+ and walk 5 miles just to see a pooch flush birds at 80 yards. ###I will definitely hunt behind a good dog. ###That said, 90 percent of my trips are dogless mostly because none of my buddies have dogs. ###Our trips are exhausting but usually productive. ###We kick a lot of bushes and throw a lot of rocks - anything to get the birds to move. ###Good luck.
10-01-2001, 09:19 PM
I think QalHntr is referring to Quail in his post. ###My experience is that pheasant are truly frustrating without a dog. ###You know they must be around you but you can't bump them out. ###Stick to Quail if you are dogless. ###Or Blue Grouse when they are in season. ###
(Edited by Soccer Dad at 9:23 pm on Oct. 1, 2001)
10-01-2001, 10:24 PM
I'd have to agree with QualHuntr. ###I've had some of the best hunts ever behind a good dog and some of the worst with a bad dog. ###I'd go dogless before I hunt again with a bad dog.
SoccerDad is also correct though. ###Quail without a dog hasn't bothered me much at all and I don't change my style of hunting. ###Pheasant without a dog changes the game. ###If it's somewhere that's too overgrown or where the birds can run indefinitely, a dog can make a huge difference. ###If it's smaller areas of cover that you just have to be very thorough in stomping through yourself you can still be very effective while dogless.
I'd be curious to see how many people that hunt pheasants with a dog do so with one of the traditional pointing breeds vs. an adapted lab that just loves to "get em up". ###One of the best pheasant dogs I've hunted with was a lab that hated the water (go figure?).
10-02-2001, 07:15 AM
Not to start a dog war here but for those of us who hunt everything that flies is there a dog better suited for all around hunting than a lab. ###I will also agree about a bad dog ruining a day, two years ago we found a flooded area of Grey Lodge that was full of pheasants, we also found somones old Golden Retriever who wanted nothing to do but play in our field full pheasants. ###We did end up getting 6 roosters out of it but jumped about 20. ###It was good but could have been great. ###Get a lab!
10-02-2001, 09:57 AM
###Okay Kid now you started a dog debate. ###My experience with hunting pheasants behind friends labs is they run away from the dog. ###The situation you talk about yes a lab would probably be best, but in traditional upland cover a good pointing dog will get ahead of a running bird and put the brakes on them. ###When I hunt the presrve I hunt I look for the fields where labs are hunting and hunt behind them and do very well, at the preserve I hunt there is no limit you pay for what is planted. ###Don't get me wrong I love labs for retrieving work but I will put my dogs up against any flusher in true upland conditions.
10-02-2001, 12:29 PM
Of course, not all labs are flushers - some point!
10-02-2001, 02:44 PM
###Yeah earlier this year I was in a pointing dog competion that is timed and there was a pointing lab in the competition but worked way too slow compared to the other breeds. ###It was fun to watch the lab point though.
10-02-2001, 04:22 PM
i have to agree with whoadog. when i was younger we had a very good german short hair. he would put the brakes on any pheasant. it was so cool to watch him just freeze and point. if we took to long to show up our dog would actually start shaking. it was really cool. as i got older our dog passed on and i have hunted without one for many years. just take it slower and don't leave any stone unturned. i mean kick every weed , brush pile, zig zag back and forth and be ready when you get to the end of the field!
10-02-2001, 05:52 PM
Timed competition and actual get out and hunt situations are different. ###Why would I care if it takes my Lab 3 hrs to get me 10 birds or 45 min for your dog to get me 10 birds. ###I'm out to hunt, not compete. ###Another bird that is very huntable, probably more so than quail, are Chukar. ###If you can chase (and I mean chase) them down and get them to fly, you can walk up singles and doubles in the sparse sage, brush and crevices in the canyons that hold the birds. ###Don't be in a hurry and have good boots. ###They can kick your .... if you aren't used to the game....hronk
10-02-2001, 06:50 PM
I will agree that there is no perfect dog for every thing but living in so Calif if you hunt like me and my buddies do you need to be flexible. ###If I ever get a scanner I'll post some pics of my first chocolate lab with the three limits of chukar we got in Jawbone.
10-02-2001, 07:42 PM
###I agree with you that it is not a competition and I ususally only hunt with someone who is a competitive hunter once, it can become dangerous. ###The only reason I mentioned the pointing dog competition was in response to Tealman mentioning pointing labs. ###I new I was sticking my head out to be bit off, as probably Lab owners by far out number pointing dog owners on this forum, but if you have ever hunted over good pointers you would see the difference in bird finding ability, as I have hunted over good labs in the same conditions and seen the difference.
10-02-2001, 08:50 PM
I really love watching the pointers work but you'd have to agree the pointers aren't a good dog for a beginner to start off with. ###I personally don't have the patience or time to train a pointer so those of you who own and love your pointer I do admire your commitment. ###For those of us who need a waterfowl/upland/tennis ball retrieving family dog it's tough to beat a lab.
10-03-2001, 06:26 AM
Whoadog... ###I guess I was a little defensive. ###Sorry about that. ###It's like guns and fishing gear. If you specialize in one game (upland, W.fowl, whatever) or fishing type you are better too use the best tool for that job. ###If you do it all, you need something that does it all. ###With 3 Labs I am a little predjudice.....hronk
10-03-2001, 07:03 AM
I've bird hunted with family and friends for almost three decades without a dog. Hunting Quail is work, but I really enjoy it. ###When my Rotts pass into dog heaven I am really cosidering a Lab (black or choc). My dad-in law has GSP's but I dont know how they work. ###
10-03-2001, 07:37 AM
Of course I only threw out the pointing lab comment in order to stir the pot. ###You know, sitting at work just trying to cause trouble. ###
10-03-2001, 08:06 AM
Guys this is what I like about this forum we can have good debates, and dog debates are always good, and it is all in good fun. ###If you didn't stick up for your dogs then you have no time or energy invested in them and aren't worthy of a good dog. ###
10-04-2001, 05:27 PM
It is always risky getting involved in a dog debate, but here goes. My wife and I have 2 dogs. 1 is a Brittany, the other a Chessie. I feel this is best of both worlds. I have a quail dog(Brittany) that can retrieve ducks and a duck dog(Chessie) that can flush up quail. But for pure perfofmance they are much better at what they were bred for.
10-04-2001, 07:07 PM
I am a big fan of Labs. I think the are the ultimate all-round dog. The thing is that sometimes here in So.Cal it might get too hot for them.
10-04-2001, 09:14 PM
Here is an idea, since you scouted Grizzly Island I assume you live in No Cal. ###Consider a day hunt at one of the clubs mentioned on this forum for Pheasant, Bob White, or Chuckar. Personally I recommend Chuckar if they are avail as they aren't that expensive, about $10/bird. ###Many clubs require a dog, but you can rent them for around $25. ###Now they aren't representative of having your own dog. ###I hunted wild pheasants and quail for many years w/out a dog and then bought and trained my own lab and I can say there is no comparison. ###The quality of the hunt is only surpassed by the enjoyment of watching the dogs work. ###The club and their dogs will just give you a taste, but I'll bet you get hooked and I believe you'll have alot more fun.
10-05-2001, 05:15 PM
Folks there is a real good article in GUNDOG magazine this month about folks who think Retrievers(Labs, Chessies) and Flushers(Springers) who think their breed will do as well when they try to cross over to do what other dogs were bred to do. It ###reafirms what I believe. It is better to have an upland dog and a waterfowl dog.
10-14-2001, 05:45 PM
well last spring me and my bro got an english pointer. we were told she wasn't a water dog. she went to school in norco here in so cal. she was great every weekend we went to see her. one day it started to rain and you woud have thought someone gave her cement shoes and threw her in the river, she hated it .
11-02-2001, 08:08 AM
SRS, 2 birds in 2 hours isn't so bad for someone just starting. My first ever trip resulted in 0 birds flushed in a very long day (nice walk though). If your heart is set on Pheasants than hunting out of one of the private clubs would be a good starting point (rent the dog). I hunt alot of Quail without the use of a dog (but I sure appreciate it when I get to use my partners pointer). The Sac valley has lots of good Quail spots (Marin Cty, Areas foothills West of Sac) just do a little talking with the DFG and Forest service in the area you think you might want to start hunting. When you find the birds you need to make sure you break the covey up (or you will be chasing them for miles, back and forth) and keep an eye on the bird you hit. When I started hunting I lost alot of downed birds due to my eagerness to shoot his buddies. Now I shoot one and go get it. I may not get as many shots but I do not leave many in the field. Another way to get into bird hunting is to take you Dad out Dove hunting. No dog needed but a few kids to get the downed birds help. Lots of shooting if you are in the right path (if you are not in the right path then move to it but don't get into another hunters line). Good Luck
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