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Reply To: Pheasants before grouse?

The Ryman Setters Forum Forums Hunting Pheasants before grouse? Reply To: Pheasants before grouse?


I think that one of the keys to your question is “puppy.”  I have watched adults who are experienced on pheasants transition to grouse: the ones I have personally witnessed handled the transition, and the grouse, pretty well.  Pups might be a little different story. I personally do prefer to start pups on grouse, either sharptail or ruffed, because I think it is usually a “cleaner” learning situation from which pup to learn. Like you, I hunt pheasant where we encounter single birds, not the large numbers found in SD for example, and these single birds are genius at sneaking and slipsliding around their home cover. A 300 acre field with very few pheasants can present a challenge for any pointing dog to pin a rooster, let alone a pup. I have seen pups do a good job trying to trail and pin a phez but then bird just cuts some 90 degree angles and escapes unseen. With grouse at least the pup most often will at least get feedback through a nice, noisy flush to tell them that they were on the right track but didn’t do well enough. Pheasants who have sneaked away just leave pup wondering if there really was a bird afterall.

A couple of other points though (no pun intended).  One is that when many people think/talk about hunting pheasants they are talking about places like SD where there is a ton of scent because the phez numbers are so high. That is a very different skill and experience for a pointing dog than a few phez scattered in large spaces.  The second thought is about the circling a bird to pin it back toward the gunner: I have read about that and have even seen it happen on a few occasions but am curious if anyone here has witnessed it on a consistent basis? It would take consistently performing that for me to believe that it was intentional on the part of the dog.  Maybe some do, I’d love to hear if anyone reading this has such a dog.

I don’t know if this answered any of your questions or not!

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