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mnguy152

which should i get

26 posts in this topic

Was thinking the other day about getting a dog for pheasants. Then the question i have for you guy is a pointer or a flusher?

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i have a pointers so I am biased. I love hunting over both types, but its just so much more exciting to shoot a bird over a dog on point.

plus it gives you a little extra time to get ready before you shoot. and guys like me who are a bad shot need all the help they can get lol

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I have a flusher and enjoy hunting over a flusher in MN sloughs. I can read my dog like a book and can tell when he is going to flush a bird. Not many catch me off guard. I think you would be happy with either and im sure if you get one or the other you will prefer that.

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With pointers you need to get a good beeper collar which doubles the price of the dog right off the bat. If you don't get a collar you can spend a lot of time calling a dog locked on point with no idea of where it is, then throwing rocks, or shooting shells to get the bird to flush, so you can get on with the hunt.

As I get older those prolongeed breaks are actually a big help-way better than running after a hot flusher in the hopes of beating him to the end of the field before all the birds flush wild.

I drop many pheasants over water and I would much rather send a dog than go back to the truck and get waders. In my experience flushers make better water retrievers and are more adept at hunting dead birds. I've hunted over many pointers that would rather find the next live bird than the one dead one.

I love American Water Spaniels- tough as nails, little sheading, no smell, great canoe dogs, headstrong but impossible to finish well-but out of the box they have great hunting spirit. Hans

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Either one will be fine if you do your research and know what you are getting into.

Flushers are a high percentage bet for pheasants and day in and day out I think the average Joe may be better served with one. If you can keep a flusher obedient and in gun range you are well on your way. If I had a flusher it'd be a field bred springer spaniel. I love how they run and hunt.

If you get a pointer understand that they aren't magic and pheasants don't always behave for a pointer. Some days will be a near religious experience and other days will leave you scratching your head thinking it just isn't you and your dog's day. Pheasants can be tough for pointers to handle at certain times. At other times they sit like they are velcro'ed to the ground. There is a wide variance among pointers on how they run, range, point, and handle. You have to figure out what you'd be comfortable with and then try and find a breeding like that. I like 'em when they run alot and are super intense and stylish on point. Some like 'em more like a flusher where they barely get 40 yds. away.

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How about a pointing lab? Best of both worlds.

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Totally open ended question in which opinions will greatly vary on. More exciting hunting over a pointer this over a flusher that etc. etc. Could go on forever.

I've hunter behind many different flusher and pointers and they are own good in their own right. I personally own Springer's originally mainly because that's what dad always had when I was growing up (he got that idea from some magazine X number of years ago that talked about springers). I will probably always have them.

One thing to consider...house dog or not? If so, maybe size comes into play in that you want a little smaller breed. What type of cover are you mainly going to be hunting? etc. etc.

I don't think you can make a wrong choice, it's just a choice that you're going to have to make that will most cater to your own personal needs.

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one thing is it will be a house dog and needs to be on the smaller side.

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I average around 20 - 30 roosters per year in MN alone with pointing dogs and have never used a beeper collar. Some times I use a $5 bell.

Pointing puppy prices vary from about $400 - $800 (or more)for pups out of solid hunting stock. Price varies depending upon breed, breeder, pup's parents, etc... Local classified add pups may sell for less.

Beeper collars run about $100 in the web catalogs. The new radio trackers cost $500+, but I am not sure anyone with a bird dog needs one of these.

Electronic training (aka shock)collars are not breed specific. Plenty of labs wearing e-training collars ... Do not use them either, but that is a personal decision ... to each their own. If you decide to use an e-collar make sure you spend time in training too.

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one thing is it will be a house dog and needs to be on the smaller side.

Go Brittany 35-40lbs, Springer 45-55lbs or small lab (few breeders out there - see more in the South - that have female labs running around 55lbs).

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There are plenty of breeds small enough for the house. My current shorthair weighs 40 pounds.

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I have hunted over both pointers and flushers. Just having a good hunting dog makes the hunt enjoyable flushing or pointing. I have a Britt, so my preference is pointer. Someone made a comment about a pointer not retrieving a bird over water. We dropped a couple pheasants last year over water and my britt jumped right in and got them. Pointers will retrieve also. This was my first pointer and was not quite sure how training was going to go. took my time did lots of reading/research, and ended up with a pretty good hunting dog. take your time and figure out what you want and what works for your.

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Hey brittman... How'd ya teach the dog to ring the $5 bell when it finds the bird grin? I personally have a Lab, She just kinda took to it naturally and we have our good days and our bad days afield, but even at that, ANY day afield IS a good day! As (I believe) LovinLifeGuy stated earlier, I too enjoy the flush of a Pheasant over a slough full of cattails. At the moment, my Lab is laying on the floor with her head on my daughters leg getting her daily 'backrub'. Dog trained daughter well wink!! Phred52

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Brittany's or English setters. Grew up with labs, but got hooked on pointers and will never go back.

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I second DoubleLunger probably because I've owned both britts and English setters but wouldn't fault you for doing research and picking something else that matches what your looking for. Thats the fun part! Lot of good flushing breeds if youre going for roosters, I'm just a pointer guy though.

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I've owned both labs and pointers. To a large extent it depends on how you hunt, and in a way how old you are. When I owned the lab I used to go with large groups that would run em and gun em. A lab was perfect, except that nearly all I hunted with were poorly trained and a real PITA to work with.

About the time that friendship faded I bought a Brit and have come to really enjoy that style of hunting. Now I go with one or two people and it is more like a walk in the outdoors. We amble along and the dog works the ground. When the beeper goes off you move in that direction and usually get a decent shot. It has cost me a lot to get the two Brit's I own trained - I don't have the personality or the birds to do it right myself. But once the dogs get the technique down it is just a joy to watch them work the ground.

We got a lab in the family mainly to help out if we're duck hunting or if a pheasant goes down in the water. The Brits don't seem to like doing water retrieves, especially if it is cold water.

My advice is to get the best dog you can afford and use face to face recommendations on breeders. If you don't have the time, and most importantly don't have access to birds early in the dog's life to train it with, go with a pro trainer. That's going to run probably $1200+ by the time all is said and done, but you will love the result.

I've realized over time that you only have X number of openers - you get old, the legs or back gives out and you have to slow down. Having a good dog makes those times enjoyable rather than a hassble. Nothing ruins a hunt more than a dog that's out of control or having to listen to someone yell at the dog every 2 minutes.

Spend some time, be ready to spend some money, and you'll have great hunts for many years.

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I'll give a second vote for a pointing lab. There are a couple of good pics of them pointing in the "hunting dogs" sections. If you would see them work at an APLA event you would be sold. And for size, my female is 47# at 10 months so she will most likely top out less than 55#

Good luck in your search and most importantly, no matter what you decide, make sure the breeder has all health clearances.

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If I was buying a dog specifically for pheasants it would be a springer no question.

If you hunt ducks, geese, grouse ect. then the questions are more detailed.

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Like Tom7227 said, training a pointer is very demanding and requires a lot of birds. But hey, if you have a pointer that doesn't end up pointing, don't you have a flusher? Flushing guys feel free to rip me apart for the previous statement.

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Maybe... But most of the time it'll be flushing birds out of gun range. That's the worst kind of flusher.

As far as training being demanding, I'm more inclined to say it should be fun and rewarding for both you and the dog. Advanced training can be a little challenging but it also depends on the dog's personality and what it has between the ears.

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In my experience the pointers I have had require a more gentle hand than I possess. That was one of two major reasons why I go with a pro.

The second is access to birds. I live in the metro and just have no reasonable way to get birds. My most recent dog, a 2 year old Brit, came from a breeder/trainer that pushed me to get the dog on birds at 12 weeks. I thought he was nuts but went with him and I am totally pleased with the dog. Would he be as good without the early/frequent access - don't know and never will be able to know. I think you need to have 3-5 birds every 3-4 days minimum to get the dog squared away and there's not many folks that can have that access.

Since I wrote my original response no one has discussed the issue of how you hunt - big group vs small group, run and gun vs leisure walk. Any thoughts on that part of it?

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My opinion is if your hunting with a small party and in cover that you can see your dog most of the time pointers are great and make for a fun hunt. I usually prefer to hunt alone with my pointers as you can cover alot of ground by yourself since pointers generally cover a lot more ground than a typical flusher.

If your hunting in a area with standing crops and there are tons of birds a pointer is pretty much useless. The pointer will have trouble trying to point the running birds. However a good trained flusher will likely stay close and will find and retrieve the birds that are shot.

I like to hunt in larger parties with my pointers and I still enjoy it but just not as much. I have alot of fun though when we go as a group. Most of us train together and its really neat when you see multiple dogs honor and back other dogs. You have to have alot of trust in the other dogs and I usually try to avoid mixing the pointers and flushers together, but I have had some good hunts with both together as well.

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mostly just kids(2) and myself and would be alot of public land during the week like afterschool sports and stuff maybe someweekend hunting.But who knows what we be getting into lol becuse alot of the ground would be cattails and i love hunting late season too.

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I have owned both and love parts of both.... Maybe a pointing lab? It really is a personal decision, I love the up close excitement on walking up on a pointing dog, and I love the pure out of the blue flush of a flushing dog working the tall switchgrass. I love to have some fun in the cooooooold duck slough as well, and that led me to the lab, although my old shorthairs were fabulous dogs, but once they died, I just had to get multipurpose. So I hunt with two trained labs. But I am seriously looking at a pointing lab. Some friends recently got two pointing labs so I can't wait for this season to see them work.

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I have had both. I started with a lab and now am on my third pointer. A lab is a great first dog. Most, in my experience, are very willing to please and very trainable. Just be careful who you purchase it from. There is a lot to be said for good breeding. I believe it trumps all the best training in the world. If I only hunted Minnesota pheasants on public land, this would be my choice. There is something about a pointer, or setter ranging wide and locking on point in the prairie grass, thats what drives me. If you can't decide, get both!

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