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Thread: Strange find/point

  1. #1
    Member Burke's Avatar
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    Default Strange find/point

    Ember, Pie and I went out Sunday for a little run in the hills. It was a bit drizzly but we needed to stretch our legs. We didnt expect too much, yet you never know...eventually Ember went on point and it seemed honest. I took a photo (sorry for the poor quality) and in the mean time Pie came along and backed. I took another photo before investigating the find. I went over the small rise and kicked around a bit in the most likely cover and nothing rose. I turned back to the dogs and off to my right a small hawk (merlin or kestrel size) took flight. I had never had a dog point a raptor before...thinking back, I wonder if the little bugger had been after a ptarmigan? I didnt see any evidence of ptarmigan. I have seen hawks dive after prey (gophers, rabbits and such) before and knock the wind out of themselves such that they have to sit still until they regain their faculties. The tundra doesnt seem that solid...maybe he had been after ground squirrels? Any how it was a little weird for me. I know some times if game birds are few and far between even experienced dogs can point funny things. Again, it was the first time I had witnessed pointing a raptor.




  2. #2

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    Interesting. the dogs I have worked with will point just about any critter that freezes up on them. Raptors don't hold still often so I have never noticed them pointing one specifically. Great photos of that beautiful country.
    "When the time comes for a man to look his Maker in the eye, where better could the meeting be held than in the wilderness?"

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    What kind of dog is that darker one? I have been around a german short hair that pointed any small animal that moved, house cats, etc.

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    First off I am entirely jealous of you getting up there, been meaning to for some time it has been a few years. Ive never seen a small raptor like a merlin hunting ptarmigan or ground squirrels, usually it is the small song birds and voles they are after, but who knows. I would also guess they were just pointing the raptor who was most likely after voles or songbirds, at least that is my initial opinion. I have seen merlins hold position for quite some time, much like owls will. If you had a built in spotting scope wouldn't you just sit and watch too?

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    limon32...Ember is a Wire haired pointing griffon (WPG)

    andweav.... you are probably correct, the small raptor was probably there after songbirds...and good point, having built in spotting scopes would invite me to sitting and watching the world too.
    I havent done any research but curious if it was a merlin or kestral. At least those are the two small raptors that come to mind.

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    I think up above treeline a merlin is more likely but I imagine it could have been either. I'm sure it would take a ptarmigan chick but that would probably be one heck of a fight! Kestrels are described as having a bit of a unique hovering habit, if that helps you discern the two, but would probably take a lot of observation.

    Had a small merlin hit the house window one time at full speed and die, wish I had thought to keep it and do a mount as it looked awfully neat, really bright yellow claws, but I just put it in the bushes to recycle.

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    Last ptarmigan hunt I went on, I saw a pair of raptors (don't know which) that appeared to be actively hunting ptarmigan. Found one carcass (could be another predator too) and the raptors were circling the brush we located a large covey in.

    Maybe conjecture that they were after the ptarmigan but it was sure neat watching them.
    "I do not deal in hypotheticals. The world, as it is, is vexing enough..." Col. Stonehill, True Grit

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    Yep, I'd bet it was a Merlin up high like that. Cool birds, for sure, but I doubt a Merlin or Kestrel would be out hunting ptarmigan. Likely another small bird, or a vole it spied, or just curious.

    Did it look like this bird? It's a Merlin.


    Jim

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    Member Burke's Avatar
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    I do know the difference between the two raptors...i did not get a good look but the coloration was more like a Merlins. In Montana I caught them and other raptors a couple times in my pigeon coop or my pigeon traps. Very neat birds. I always gave them to falconer friend who would check them out, clean them up, vaccinate them and set them free. I haven't looked into which raptors are common in Alaska.
    This kind of event is part of why I always enjoy the ventures outdoors...you just never know and it is always amazing!

    Side bar.....sorry
    Example : this summer I was out with my wife and we saw an ermine in the trail. She had never seen one and she was so delighted, like a child at Christmas!

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    Burke,

    I know what you mean. I am forever the student in whatever I do. Every time I answer one question about something in nature - or elsewhere - I come up with 10 more questions.

    Ermine are a cool little critter!

    Just about an hour ago I photographed a pretty little Kestrel at close range. I'll get a photo posted tomorrow perhaps.

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    Burke,

    Here a photo of a Kestrel I did last evening.



    Jim

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    Wow Jim...that is cool picture, they are phenomenal birds. what a coincidence we open a dialogue about the beautiful little creatures and you go out and find one....unless you had him tied up in the back yard the whole time :-)
    Nice exposure!
    Thanks for sharing!

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    I love raptors, although I compete with them for game birds! Jim, those are some very nice photos. Pax and I did decent on a recent ptarmigan trip. It was a hoot to get my brother on some ptarmigan for the first time! Pax did go on point three times this past week, which turned up the same thing Burke....no ptarmigan! All three times, I would have bet a paycheck he had a ptarmigan pinned. After further investigation, we turned up nothing. My brother did say, he saw a couple small dickey birds fly out of the cover opposite of me, on one occasion. I saw a lot of the small birds in the cover we hunted this past week. Paxson is a young dog, so he’ll keep learning. Did your griff sight point the raptor?
    "If I could shoot a game bird and still not hurt it, the way I can take a trout on a fly and release it, I doubt if I would kill another one." George Bird Evans

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    Hoyt,

    Sometimes a young pointing dog will point off birds when bored with not finding gamebirds to point. The dog will grow out of it, but you could also say something like "Dickey birds" and walk off. He'll eventually get the point, so to speak.

    My dogs and I totally spanked the sharptails this weekend! Found several ruffed grouse as well, and brought one of those home, too.
    Walked about 10 or more miles on Saturday to get limits, but maybe half as much on Sunday. I was two birds shy of a limit yesterday afternoon when I said "goodbye" to my hunting partners and set off to hunt another area on my own. A mile into it my dogs started finding sharptails every hundred yards or so and we moved something like 30 grouse in an hour of hunting. I eventually took the rest of my limit but continued to hunt the dogs and just let them point and work running birds and such and let the birds fly off. Great experience for the dogs. No pigeon work this summer, but both Rudy and Charlie were spot on. Charlie did start breaking at the shot again but that also saved some time and effort in finding a few birds that came down with just a busted wing. Now if I could just get myself a new right knee!

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    Member Hoyt's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jim McCann View Post
    Hoyt,

    Sometimes a young pointing dog will point off birds when bored with not finding gamebirds to point. The dog will grow out of it, but you could also say something like "Dickey birds" and walk off. He'll eventually get the point, so to speak.

    My dogs and I totally spanked the sharptails this weekend! Found several ruffed grouse as well, and brought one of those home, too.
    Walked about 10 or more miles on Saturday to get limits, but maybe half as much on Sunday. I was two birds shy of a limit yesterday afternoon when I said "goodbye" to my hunting partners and set off to hunt another area on my own. A mile into it my dogs started finding sharptails every hundred yards or so and we moved something like 30 grouse in an hour of hunting. I eventually took the rest of my limit but continued to hunt the dogs and just let them point and work running birds and such and let the birds fly off. Great experience for the dogs. No pigeon work this summer, but both Rudy and Charlie were spot on. Charlie did start breaking at the shot again but that also saved some time and effort in finding a few birds that came down with just a busted wing. Now if I could just get myself a new right knee!
    Lucky man! I was happy to get on a few ptarmigan for my brother, and becasue I know how fall birds can be. I'd like to try my hand on some Sharpies in the next few weeks. We'll see if moose hunting season ends quick enough or not!
    "If I could shoot a game bird and still not hurt it, the way I can take a trout on a fly and release it, I doubt if I would kill another one." George Bird Evans

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    Let me know when you and Tom are done moose hunting and we'll get together for a sharptail/ruffed grouse hunt or 14! I need pretty models.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jim McCann View Post
    Let me know when you and Tom are done moose hunting and we'll get together for a sharptail/ruffed grouse hunt or 14! I need pretty models.
    Hahaha will do!
    "If I could shoot a game bird and still not hurt it, the way I can take a trout on a fly and release it, I doubt if I would kill another one." George Bird Evans

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