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Discussion Starter #1
Weird question of the day.
I've seen other dogs do this, too, so I suspect it's something that's in their skill set, and I'm curious how they do it.
Out pheasant hunting today in very thick cover that was up to at least my shoulders. Can't see my dog at all, but I can see/hear the cover moving on and off, so I know about where he is.
He flushes a bird, and I *assume* sits because he's steady to wing and shot but I can't see him. Guy I'm out with makes the shot, and the bird drops about 50-ish yards away.
Since I can't see the dog, I just holler the command to go fetch the bird, and we start walking in the general direction that the bird went down.
A surprisingly short time later, while we are still walking in the general direction of the fall, the dog comes back with the bird.
He came back so quickly it's obvious he headed in the right direction as soon as he was sent. This happened twice today, and again, I've seen other dogs do this.
So the question is....how can a dog who absolutely could not have seen the fall know in which direction to head?
Do they head in the direction the bird flew?
Do they head into the wind (although there probably wasn't much down where he was, the cover was very thick)?
Inquiring minds want to know.....
Any ideas?
 

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Discussion Starter #2
someone on FB just gave me a great answer, and I think it's right so never mind, lol.
I hadn't taken into account the sound of the bird hitting the heavy cover as they go down. To a dog who is sitting, tuned in to the environment, that's probably what gives them the cue as to which direction the bird went.
And then of course, they rely on their nose once they get near.
 

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I was about to say I'm sure he heard the bird fall in the brush, and then followed his nose.

Good job!
 

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Grumpy Old Man
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He heard the bird as it rose. He heard the shot and he heard the bird fall through the cover and hit the ground. Or He broke when the bird flushed, and kept it at least partially in sight as it flew. From that point he was nearly under it as it came down through the cover.
 

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My two cents:

1. The bird leaves a scent trail while it takes off and flies.
2. The shotgun blast also leaves a scent trail in the direction of the bird either in line with it's flight path or intersecting it which I have already said is scented.
3. If you pay attention you may see the bird defecate as it takes off thus adding to the scent.
4. Of course sound plays a part---the dogs learn to mark by sound. Look at the pics of my continental shoot. Plenty of birds are marked by sound.
 

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Barb,
Here's a photo of a spaniel blind I ran last summer. The guy in the foreground is walking up to the 2 guys, they are the judges, in the background. The guy in the foreground has a dog with him, even though you can't see the dog at all. That's how thick the cover was. The blind was actually behind the judges into even thicker cover. When I ran Lucy on this I was scared to death, because I would never be able to handle her, because I couldn't see her. I knew roughly where the chukar was. No flying bird, no gun shot, nothing. I lined Lucy up best I could. She totally had it figured out and as best I could tell, ran straight to the bird. Dogs have amazing noses, beyond anything we can understand.
 

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