Pointer Owners are you hunting alot?
You know, I got a pointer about 7 years ago now. I had visions of ruffies flushing from the ground in the shadow of my dogs solid point, me snapping a well placed shot with my english double. My dog only breaking its stare at my command of retrieve.
Now the reality.
Grouse are hard to find in the woods! During grouse season they are on the side of the road. For the first coulple seasons I and the dog would drive by grouse on the road, pull off and hike around looking for them. That was not productive.
I did finally find a place to get ptarmgan where my dog could go, but lack of training finally reared its head and my dog showed me she forgot all we had worked for.
The drive from anchorage to the training ground as well as the logistics of shipping quail up here were major factors.
Frustrated I have given up on hunting with her.
Maybe I havent broadend my horizons enough. It just started seeming to me that having a pointer in Alaska is pretty "pointless"
She is a great pet, a treasured part of our family though. She still has lots of hunt in her. She loves chasing the rabbits that the beagle scares up.
Im wondering if I ought to give bird hunting up here another chance?
At ABDA we have both flushing classes and POINTER classes. Check our website arctic bird dog ass. I think they start in april. We have lots of training groups that work together most wednesday nights once the weather is doable. You might even find a hunting partner.
How bad do you want quail? For the 5 of the last 7ys we had quail in a enclosure under our deck. After about yr 3 we quit training with them but kept 6-10 around just to look at & always provided a pet for the dog to keep on eye on. Anyway the reason I ask is because if now is the time to order if you want birds from a couple of farms in CA.
As far as hunting goes, there is always marsh busting in Sept for ducks. Your dog will point a lot of snipe when doing this & occassionaly find cripples that have hunkered in. If you have a spare weekend drive to the denaili hwy. I know there are a couple guys that do well in the talkeetna area as well, just need to scout & find some areas to hunt.
Come Oct move to the woods, Little su area, & the houston area are ok spots to try. I have never limited but usually can find a couple. Haven't tried johnson pass for yrs, always wanted to do a fly out from kenai for ptarmigan.
Nov & Dec. I go back to the woods, some don't like the taste of the birds this time of year but they are fine to me.
The bird dog club usually has a early spring training class, & a fun day begining in May where folks just get together & work on training with live birds out at Falcon ridge. Sometimes they train through the summmer close to Euklutna turn off.
So its work but it can be done if you have the time or energy to try spots.
Of course this weekend I am just going to have mine chase rabbits, but I guess you have beagles for that
let me know if I can help more,
frustrating but doable
The logistics of training and hunting birds is more difficult than the lower 48 for sure. But it is worth it, at least for me.
It takes time and effort to find quality bird cover. Grouse (ruffs)are few and far between and ptarmigan take quite a bit of effort or the snow conditions are not always conducive to dogs....
However, walking up on a dog that is locked in and flushing the bird and taking the shot while she/he stands quivering to go....nothing like it.
I have been here for 4 years now and just starting to find consistant cover with birds. It is lots of leg work. Like anything else, you get out of it what you put in.
For me it was similar when I moved to Montana. It took a few years before I consitantly found the habitat for birds. Eventually the leg work paid off, we were always into wild birds. Getting skunked didnt happen often.
You can find ways to keep the dog's skills tuned in. As others have said the Arctic Bird Dog Association (ABDA)has training and events that can help. You can use homing pigeons and/or purchase chukar and pheasant from Falcon Ridge. Hunt Tests are not for everyone but, it does give you a target to train for and a sense of accomplishment. Plus, the dog doesnt care, birds are birds!
Check out the ABDA, see if it might get you and the dog going again. It would be worth it.
I would be happy to talk....send me a PM
Sorry for the long windedness
Not sure I really answered your question
Yes, I do get my dogs out quite a bit to hunt. It is not as productive as Montana, but they still work their butts off searching for birds. When we do find them it is awesome. I try to get in the hills early season for Ptarmigan before the snow is too deep. When the leaves fall I mix in some grouse hunts. Mid season as snow gets deeper, I mostly hunt grouse because the dogs cannot stay up on the snow. They dont care if it is ruffed or spruce. I try to watch snow conditions and when it becomes packed enough for the dog to stay on top I go back for ptarmigan again.
I see by reading another post you have already have expereinced ABDA. Not sure when that wasbut....
You might give it another try. If the Hunt Test is not your thing, the club is trying to have more fun hunts and more regular training sessions that you can taylor to your dogs individual needs. It is not a class, but usually birds are available and we try to train closer to Anchorage so everyone does not have to go all the way to Falcon Ridge and you do not have the hassle of keeping your own birds.
Hey thanks for the responses.
I was in ABDA about 7 or 8 years ago when my pointer was a pup. We took that training class and I worked with a few guys there. For the most part we got my dog to point. Most of the time she got awfull close though and it was hard to get her to keep her distance. Thats about as far as I got with her training. She doesnt hold after the shot, nor retrieve worth a darn
I might bag it on this dog, she is pretty ruined now. I think undoing the past 6 years of bad habits would be too much work, and probably if I managed to get it done, shed be too old to hunt anyway.
But, I might get another in a few years.
This time of year....
As the "warmer" temperatures start to return to to the Interior I get out a lot. I mostly hunt Ptarmigan in the spring for a couple of reasons. You can get up on the windblown ridges where the birds are with a snowmachine. This makes walking for me and the dogs much easier. Im may instances there is more rock and tundra showing than snow. This make it easier to spot the birds and it allows the dogs to hunt without busting through the deep snow. It also keeps me out of any wayward traps. In my experience there aren't too many traps on the high ridges, they seem to be down in the brush. I was out both days last weekend. I carry one of the cheap sleeping bags they make for dogs in my backpack and when I stop to rest or for lunch or whatever my old GSP climbs in the bag and takes a little nap. This lets him warm up and he ready to go again. He usually doesn't get too cold when hunting or if its that cold I just don't go. IMO this time of years is as much fun or maybe even more fun than the fall when I hunt ruffies. You just have to get out there. Another little trick Ive learned is to carry a stick of butter with me. When its cold it stays nice and hard and every hour or so I feed a slap of butter to the dog. This helps keep his energy levels up and and the extra calories are needed to stay warm. Plus it makes his coat nice and shinny and smooth which helps shed snow. Make sure if your hunting with a shorter haired dog to knock the ice and snow off their bellies once in a while so it doesn't cause and irritation. Keeps me getting out and in shape and the dog too. Have fun out there.