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post #1 of 27 (permalink) Old 11-24-2018, 01:36 PM Thread Starter
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Thor's Continuing Education

Thursday and Friday I worked Thor at continental shoots. He had 25 retrieves on Thursday and 60 retrieves on Friday. These shoots are not tower shoots but instead look very much like British driven bird shoots. There are plenty of marked retrieves but there are also plenty of birds that the dog does not see. Some things that we did:

1. Thor had plenty marks to work on---pheasants and ducks.
2. Friday we got to our stand early, before shooting started. We went to a stream where there were about half a dozen wounded ducks from the day before. Thor got to run down these cripples.
3. Thor is steady---at least for now. I am counting my blessings.
4. After the shooting, many use their dogs to hunt up cripples. I don't do this but Friday was an exception. Glad I did it. Thor had to dig out half a dozen birds from the thickest stuff---pheasants and ducks. Birds that I couldn't see. I watched him search for an opening in a brush pile, then pull out a cock pheasant when he could finally poke through.
5. I watched Thor push down branches and pull some out of the way in order to make an entrance to get to the bird in one brush pile.
6. Even though there were poor scenting conditions Thor's nose worked well.
7. I did watch Thor chase one cockbird that took off. He jumped for it but only got some tail feathers. Just needs a little more experience for this one.


I am very happy to have the opportunity to do this. I saw some things that we will work on---well we do have several more shoots. Overall we had a terrific two days. For the old time field trialers---This was at Spring Farm, preserve and kennels of the Schellinger family.
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post #2 of 27 (permalink) Old 11-25-2018, 01:57 PM Thread Starter
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We will be working another shoot next Sunday. I will be doing some preliminary training to mark an unseen bird by the sound of it hitting the ground. This is what may happen at these shoots. The gunners are hidden by brush, the birds are hidden by brush but shots are heard and a thump is also heard. Meanwhile the dog sees nothing.


Example, Spring Farm Peg #4 Five foot berm and tall bamboo to the right of dog and handler hides the gunners and the bird. A seasoned dog will look in the direction of shots and hear the thump of the bird hitting the ground, will then get to the bird for a retrieve.
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post #3 of 27 (permalink) Old 11-25-2018, 08:01 PM Thread Starter
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I think I will have a little fun with this, I am guessing that most do not have experience with this type of work. I will also try to get pics at the next shoot. Anyway, a word about the horn.

A horn is sounded at the end of each frame signaling all gunners to unload and shift to the next peg. While gunners shift, I release Thor. He can get a drink, poke around a bit, maybe pick up a hidden cripple, lie down. After several minutes a second horn is sounded signalling the gunners to load their guns in preparation for the new frame. No matter where he is Thor will come running back to our station and sit and immediately start scanning the sky. I am amazed at the unintentional conditioning that has taken place. It really is something to see.
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post #4 of 27 (permalink) Old 11-28-2018, 11:19 PM Thread Starter
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We got out today to work on those hidden marks. Twenty five mph winds made it difficult to hear the thump of the bird but we did it. Non pressure learning, quite operant. And Thor just loved parading around with a cockbird.

Last edited by gdgli; 11-28-2018 at 11:29 PM.
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post #5 of 27 (permalink) Old 11-29-2018, 10:12 AM Thread Starter
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Pheasant hunters---why pick up and hold cripple from the back?

Last edited by gdgli; 11-29-2018 at 03:35 PM.
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post #6 of 27 (permalink) Old 12-03-2018, 10:22 AM Thread Starter
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We worked a 650 bird continental shoot yesterday. Thor retrieved 45 birds. I had the opportunity to make some good observations.


1. Twice he chased flying crippled pheasants, they short-hopped a couple times. He leaped and got them.
2. I watched him circle a clump of thick bushes ten yards in diameter. He could not penetrate them, he circled attempting to enter several times.
He finally found a small opening, pushed in, and pulled out a hen mallard. This scenario was repeated a couple of times. Took several minutes. Good perseverance.
3. I watched him adjust his hold on several birds. Hmm...What was wrong with the hold he had? Well yesterday the light bulb went off in my head and that question was answered. There is a reason a dog (at least Thor) needs to get a better hold. Curious if anyone else has the answer. Watch how your dog brings the bird in after adjusting the hold. I am not telling but would like to hear from others.
4. Thor was steady. I positioned us under a cedar tree, it was raining all day. Let me count my blessings.


Overall, good progress on this stuff. He needs more of this but I am very happy with what I see.

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post #7 of 27 (permalink) Old 12-05-2018, 05:53 AM
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I just noticed your question/comment on how dogs pick up birds and why the adjust their holds.
Not an expert on this by any means but I think mine will pick up from the back or adjust his hold to avoid getting spurred by a rooster.
Also sometimes when a bird is flapping its wings over his eyes he will adjust his hold.
I have noticed frequently he will set the bird down and pin it with his paw when he is adjusting his hold, interesting to watch.
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post #8 of 27 (permalink) Old 12-05-2018, 06:06 AM
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Hopefully I have attached a pic of him holding a bird by the back for delivery to me
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post #9 of 27 (permalink) Old 12-05-2018, 08:28 AM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Golden Gibby View Post
I just noticed your question/comment on how dogs pick up birds and why the adjust their holds.
Not an expert on this by any means but I think mine will pick up from the back or adjust his hold to avoid getting spurred by a rooster.
Also sometimes when a bird is flapping its wings over his eyes he will adjust his hold.
I have noticed frequently he will set the bird down and pin it with his paw when he is adjusting his hold, interesting to watch.
I am no expert either but I agree with you. I think that Thor now prefers to pick even dead ones up by the back. At these shoots most birds are cripples. In fact I bought a tool to help me kill them. I use the FOWL NECKER. Age has affected my hands so I found the tool to be very helpful.

I haven't seen adjusting hold when a wing covers the eyes but maybe they haven't been completely covered. In any event I start talking to the dog so that he is directed by the sound of my voice.

Now that you mention it I have also noticed the pinning of the bird. Interesting.
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post #10 of 27 (permalink) Old 12-05-2018, 05:39 PM
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When Lucy picks up ducks, if they are really hissing and mad, she'll spin around and pick them up by the back. She's pretty good at it. Riot just grabs them however. Reilly also spun around to the back of the duck also. My dogs have never had pheasants.


~ Stacey with Lucy and Riot, missing Hunter, Reilly, Tiger and Pennie
Wiseman Wildfire Grayling Fish On CD RA JH SHU WC "Lucy"
Thistle Rock Kicking Up a Fuss CD RA WCX ** "Riot"
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