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Saw557

Pointers and pheasants

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I just returned from a not real productive pheasant hunt in SW minn on public land and I am wondering what other peoples experience's are with pointers in very thick-tall grass, cattails and standing corn. I have wirehaired Griffon and for what its worth he's a prize II NAVHDA Utility dog but things didn't really go our way I was also hunting alone. I figured out trying to hunt standing corn even small patch's waste of time and not good for the dog. The cattails were just about the same as the corn. He did all right in the medium height grass but the tall stuff he was bouncing like a pogo stick and just not punching out far enough to be effective. He did point several hens and a few roosters but I am wondering if the roosters weren't running out on him. Given the conditions and what I saw happen I almost wonder if a flusher wouldn't be a better choice. Also how much time on the ground would you expect out of a dog it was about 60 degrees out and he hunted probably 6-7 hours over two days and was all done

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I think a flusher is the best sure fire dog for pheasants in many situations. Having said that, shooting a rooster over a point is the only reason I go. Body count doesn't matter for me anymore, it's all about getting birds pointed. If you think your dog is going to make every rooster sit so it can point them solidy and you can get in front of it for the flush that isn't going to happen. Pheasants don't care about titles and I've seen some highly regarded dogs be made to look stupid by pheasants. Noted pheasant writer Larry Brown says he gets about 80% of his roosters over points but his definition of a point is very loose. You most definitely will have birds run out from under a point at times. At other times conditions will make birds sit better. Fresh snow, being pushed from a freshly picked corn field, etc., will sometimes cause them to sit tighter.

Clean standing corn is generally not going to work for a pointer. Most of the time the birds will run like mad in corn. Cattails do work and are great pheasant cover but for me I do cattails as a last resort. You will get more hens pointed than roosters generally.

At 60 degrees and having the coat that a griffon has I think getting 6-7 hours is pretty good. A dog with a shorter coat that's in good shape will likely go longer in warmer weather than a similar dog with a heavy coat.

Give it some time. Your dog will shine in late season. It's a different ballgame in late season. Crops are out and the weather has an impact. Also remember that a pointer doesn't get really good at it until they are in their 3rd or 4th season.

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gspman sums it up nicely.. That thick sawgrass beats dogs down, as well as cattaills..Early seaon cover as a whole is just tough on pointers. It's usually still green and very thick. The best times are yet to come, cops out, snow down etc. Give it time and it will pay off.. Or you can get yourself a springer like I did for when it's tough going for the pointers. It is nice to have him as a back up plan.

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Thick cover is all I hunt with my Weim. And like was said don't look for the perfect point everytime it just isn't going to happen especially on birds that have been hunted hard already (i.e. public land). These birds have saved there behinds before running and that's what they'll do again.

On another note: My dog was getting beat up pretty bad by the thick cover and I have tried alot of vest and such to keep her in good shape. Last year my wife bought her a cheap under armor knock-off shirt. The one for hot weather of course. And that worked as well as anything. It doesn't heat the dog up as bad as the neoprene vest and it fits tightly so it doesn't rub on her arm-pit area!

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Hunting tall grass or standing corn with a pointer is challenging to say the least. I usually avoid standing corn with my English Setter because I use a beeper collar on him and he covers a lot of ground it doesn't work out very well. We hunted near Benson a couple of weeks ago and hardly any corn had been picked. We hunted large public areas with grass and never flushed a bird. We decided to hunt a strip of standing corn on a public area and with all the noise we were making especilly the beeper the birds were flushing way ahead of us and we never got a shot. Two days later two of us walked the same corn without the dog and the noise from the beeper and the [PoorWordUsage] pheasants were still flushing way ahead of us and out of range. Again, no shots were fired. The best answer I guess is to wait until the crops are in and the grass becomes a better choice and with a pointing dog it is essential to know where the dog is. One farmer who had been harvesting corn at night said that he was kicking out birds from his field in the dark meaning that the smart ones are staying near the food.

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