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Bird Hunting Dilemmas to Ponder in the Off-Season

Photo by Nancy Anisfield / Anisfield Hunting Dog Photography

Photo by Nancy Anisfield / Anisfield Hunting Dog Photography

1. Your dog is on point in a nasty, thick blowdown. The bird is pinned and won’t flush.

(a) Do you wait and wait, knowing that if you go into the mess you probably won’t have room to swing your gun even though the bird might fly out the other side and you’ll have no shot?

(b) Or do you move in to flush it, hoping to secure a shootable location before it flushes, figuring it’s better to make something happen in case the bird decides to run and/or your dog breaks point?


2. You’ve trained all year to make your pointing dog steady. As soon as you start hunting and put up a few wild birds, he starts breaking on the shot.

(a) Do you forego the opportunity to shoot, focusing on correcting your dog and re-establishing his steadiness so all that training time isn’t for naught?

(b) Or do you say the heck with it, and take the opportunity to put a bird on the ground for him to retrieve (and for you to eat), figuring you’ll recoup the steadiness in the spring?


3. It’s late afternoon, you only have a half hour left to hunt, and you know of just one more spot that almost always holds birds that you can check on your way back to the truck. But you just shot at one, and while it really felt like you were on it, you didn’t see the bird fall.

(a) Do you and your dog spend that whole half hour, if need be, looking for that bird in case you got it, never wanting to waste game?

(b) Or do you send your dog on a quick search then get back to hunting your way to that last honey hole where the odds of another shooting opportunity are pretty good?

Post your answers in the comments section.

Nancy Anisfield, an outdoor photographer/writer, sporting dog enthusiast and bird hunter, serves on Pheasants Forever and Quail Forever’s National Board of Directors. She resides in Hinesburg, Vermont.

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5 Responses to “Bird Hunting Dilemmas to Ponder in the Off-Season”

  1. Jay says:

    Question #1 I’m going to answer B. I would look for the best place to get in and make a shot. Then flush the bird. My dog has worked hard to find the rooster and deserves to be rewarded.
    Question #2 I’m going with A. The bird being shot is my dogs reward for doing a good job. If I decide to take the shot it might make him think breaking is ok.
    Question #3 I’m going with A again. If I did get the bird it would be a great opportunity for my dog to work on tracking a downed bird. Besides nobody wants to waste.

  2. Jeff says:

    I’m the same as Jay. If I’m training for steady to wing and shot, I don’t shoot birds that the dog isn’t steady on. If I didn’t care about that, I’d get a flushing dog. On the last one, I never leave an area until I’m absolutely positive my dog won’t find the dead bird.

    If I know I killed it, I count it in my bag for the day – I figure that is the spirit of the regulation – how many did you “take.” I took that bird but couldn’t find it, that should still count as a part of my limit. I’m weird that way, though.

  3. mark says:

    3 A’s for me

  4. Steve Horton says:

    1-B (alternately I might call the dog off and walk away from that bird), 2-A There’s really no other choice if you want to continue to develop your dog, and to me that always works out best in the long run., 3-A Always follow-up on a shot, whether on deer, or birds, it’s just the right thing to do

  5. I mi?yt suggest making use of ?lear plastic
    containers. Like that people can easily see what’s insi?e.


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