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Thread: Point or flush?

  1. #1

    Default Point or flush?

    How did you decide?

    I'm reading up on gun dogs and training - we won't be able to get a puppy for at least another year, so reading is all I can do right now. What sort of things did you take into account when deciding on a flushing breed or a pointing breed?

  2. #2
    Member Hoyt's Avatar
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    It's all a matter of preference. I think pointing breeds are better suited here for grouse and ptarmigan. Generlly grouse hunting is done in thicker habitat, and having a flushing breed in that type of habitat woud make it tough to ever get a shot. When I think of flushing breeds, I think of open areas and pheasants. That is just my opinion though. Guys who love flushing breeds will more than likely have a different opinion than mine. I like all of the sporting breeds, although my bias lays with the pointers. It really depends on what you want out of a dog.

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    Member lynch's Avatar
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    I have a Flushing spaniel myself. But I must say that I agree with every thing Hoyt had to say. The thick grouse cover we have in our woods here are best suited to the pointing breeds. There are exceptions though. I do love having a flushing dog for hunting Sharptails in the wind breaks out at Delta. My little guy also is great for Ptarmigan in high country were I can have him working brushy draws while I walk the edge behind and to the side of him. Hunting Ruffs and spruce hens in the woods I often find myself walking with my dog at heel to prevent flushes that are hidden behind trees and thick brush. If you are going to have to wait a year before you get a dog maybe you should get ahold of some of the dog clubs and go to there hunt tests and watch the dogs and maybe go hunting with some different dogs. If I was wealthy and retired I think I would buy and train at least 3 different dogs, one for each type of hunting I like to do. However not being wealthy or retired I have a dog that is great for some of the hunting I do and not so great for some of the hunting I do as well. Also remember that the training is a little different too. If you get a flushing dog range control is very important, if a flushing dog works to far out he is worthless to the hunter. On pointing breeds steady on point is just as important,a pointing dog that is not steady on point is also worthless to the hunter. Hit me or some of the other guys on here up to go hunting over our dogs this coming season. Good luck.
    "Bark,bark,bark,sniff,sniff,bark,and bark" - Lynchs Blue Roan Lynch E.C.K.

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    Member Hoyt's Avatar
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    Great points by Lynch! I could use a couple different dogs myself! Myself not being wealthy or retired, I went with the style of dog that both intrigued me, and that I thought would do great up here! Even within the sub-category of sporting dogs there are many differences. English Pointers and such can be very high energy and huge ranging dogs. On the other hand the type of setter I have is a close working breed. Some dogs like Brittany’s are small in stature, where as a setter like I own can be quite large (65 lbs at 9 months). Do a ton of research, and talk to as many people as you can. It’s a very tough decision to be made, and one that will have an effect on your life for a good 10 yrs plus. Where are you located?

  5. #5
    Moderator LuJon's Avatar
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    I hunt rabbits a bunch and picked a springer as a "do it all" dog. Unfortunately the plan hasn't come together as he is playing house dog down in Alabama while the wife goes through a very demanding school and I am hanging out in the middle east. I hope to be hard on the training late this year but I don't know that the pup will ever reach his potential w/ such a late start. Things that seem to be important w/ a flushing spaniel is the aforementioned "hunting close" as number one. For rabbits based on the videos that I have watched I plan on teaching my pup to freeze at the whistle. I will not hunt bunnies w/ my dog if I can't break him from chasing them when I whistle. I trust me to hunt without shooting him but I enjoy hunting rabbits with friends and I don't trust anyone to not shoot my dog if he is in hot pursuit. If he flushes a bird then they fly up and add a margin of safety that is not there w/ hares. I also plan to use him to jump shoot ducks in a couple places.

    If I was going to concentrate on upland game then I would own a Brittany hands down. I may still pick one up, then just use the dog that is best suited for the area I am hunting. I have heard of people using them in tandem where the pointer finds the birds and then the flusher is sent in to spring them. I am not sure how well that works in practice though.

  6. #6

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    As mentioned before.... it is a preference. I'm primarily waterfowl. So I use a retriever. If I were more into grouse and ptarmigan, then I may opt for a smaller framed flusher.
    Now if I were primarily pheasant. I may opt more for a pointer with a retriever to pick them up.
    Each game is a bit different. The environment you find the different bird species is different. So choose a dog that is best suited for what you enjoy most. Also, remember you need to "live" with that dog during the off season. So find a breed that won't tunnel through your sheet rock when he/she isnt being worked.

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    Member Burke's Avatar
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    I actually disagree (respectfully) with pointers being better than flushers in the thick cover. I think they both can do the job effectively ...it does boil down to personal preference and training.
    I like the pointers in open cover because they typically cover more ground and hold a bird while you approach from a distance. In tight, thick cover the pointers can get "lost" while on point (bells and beepers help this issue though) and shots can still be tough thru the trees regardless of the style of dogs. Some birds are notorious for running or flushing wild, especially if they face lots of hunting pressure and that is tough with pointing dogs. Hunting ruffed grouse in Vermont we had an adage of - always shoot twice, the first shot clears the brush. A good close working flusher can be extremely efficient at scouring the forest and putting birds in the bag. You learn to read which ever dog you handle and the excitement is heart pounding.

    I currently own a Brittany and a Wire-haired Pointing Griffon, (Willy my Chesapeake recently passed and am contemplating his replacement) I have had Weimaraners too. All (except Chessie) are considered versatile, but mainly used as pointing breeds these days. I use them for all types of birds and hunting conditions / cover. They have all worked well. They learn with some guidance from you as handler, to adjust their hunting patterns to fit the needs of the cover. With either style of hunting dog you have to invest time to train the dog. Pointers who do not hold and spaniels/flushers who flush out of range are no good to the hunter.

    I have always had pointing dogs and a retriever. I used the retriever as a flusher when hunting heavy cover and of course for waterfowl. Once I had the dream of running them together and it worked a few times but usually I ended up running them separate on a rotation basis due to wanting to keep the dogs fresh so I could hunt all day in the warm weather of Montana. It takes patience and training time to coordinate the two disciplines.

    Lynch and Wetland make good points (pun not intended)...research the breeds, if possible get out in the field with the dogs and the handlers to watch and learn. It is a long term commitment so you need to get the dog who suits you, your family and your field needs.

    I have hunted birds over numerous breeds of each group, pointers, spaniels and retrievers and I enjoyed each and every one. I cant see myself hunting birds without a dog, they make the experience so much more fun and I enjoy the training process.
    There are other threads with similar themes you could read too.

    I would be happy to introduce you to my dogs and share my enthusiasm.
    Last edited by Burke; 01-09-2011 at 12:20. Reason: mistake

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    Moderator LuJon's Avatar
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    There are a couple areas I hunt with a smattering of small sloughs flowing through them. I plan to take my springer out and see if he can jump puddle ducks for me. Has anyone else used a dog for that?

  9. #9

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    Thanks for all the information! I'm currently in Anchorage, though there might be a move in the near future coming (which is why it will be at least a year before a pup! Got to get life sorted out...)

    I've been looking a lot at Brittanys - the smaller size seems like a good fit for my family. They're gorgeous dogs, too! I do mostly upland hunting right now.

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    Member Burke's Avatar
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    Lujon...I know guys who do jump ducks with with Spaniels. They usually have them operate as a non-slip (at heel) retriever rather than actually do the flushing but I am certain the dog could flush if you wanted it to. The only trouble I would see is that the dog will be out in front of you by a few yards and ducks would often be out in the water a few more yards...this would potentially add up to birds out of range.

    Side bar....my Weimaraner used to point ducks for me when we were hunting pheasants along creeks and or ponds.

  11. #11
    Member lynch's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by LuJon View Post
    There are a couple areas I hunt with a smattering of small sloughs flowing through them. I plan to take my springer out and see if he can jump puddle ducks for me. Has anyone else used a dog for that?
    Most of the little bit of duck hunting I do is jump shooting on small sloughs. I usually just keep pup at heel while I walk the edge and just use him for retrieving.
    "Bark,bark,bark,sniff,sniff,bark,and bark" - Lynchs Blue Roan Lynch E.C.K.

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    Also has to do with how you wish to hunt. With a flusher, dog and gun must work together and within gun range. But that means the gun must go where the dog and the birds are, like down into a deep ravine choked with alder or willow, or up the steep hillside, or through the really deep snow, and so on. If you're young and tough and want to hunt extremely hard all day, day in and day out, no big deal...right now. But if you hunt well bred and trained pointing dogs you can let the dogs hunt way out from the gun. Take my hunt today, for example; I snow shoe along while two of my Brittanys range out ahead of me, and then off to my left and my right. The dogs cover a lot of ground I don't have to cover, and since I trust them to find and hold birds by pointing those birds, I don't need to go where they go until they pin birds, and my dogs will stay on point until death overtakes them. I empower my dogs to range out quite a bit. They know their job and how do it correctly. I still hunt my pointing dogs all day if I decide to, and I still have to climb up or down or into cover when the birds are pointed, but it's an entirely different situation from hunting a flushing dog. A flusher will get you a lot of shooting. A pointing dog will get you a lot of shooting, but it will be less frenetic and perhaps more controlled than with the flushing dog. Nothing is carved in stone when dealing with wildlife, but give me my pointing dogs forever. If I were hunting running pheasants in South Dakota I might prefer to have a well bred and trained English Springer Spaniel out front if I want to kill a pile of birds quickly, but I'd do just as fine with my Brittanys even if a lot of the birds run out on their points and flush wild. I just get to hunt at a more pleasant pace and maybe prolong my hunt.

    Jim

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    Hello All, just a little dog chow for thought. However, I'm quite sure there has been a lot more experience shared then I possess. I like the German Short Hair Pointer (GSP)...I know you can train a pointer to retrieve and flush, I also know you can do the same with a retriever. A word of warning...My dog, as I'm sure with others is their best bud. I desided to never to use my GSP to flush after my breeder and a few others I know of warned of dogs that have be shot by their owners while flushing birds with their dog. I recommend to keep your dog on point and then you move in...If the bird runs, have your dog re-position. Again, I wouldn't send my dog to flush...I can do that, I just love my dogs to much to risk it...Now matter how good I think I am.
    Very Respectfully...

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    Member Hoyt's Avatar
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    Check this site out, it has good info.........
    http://www.ultimateupland.com/

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    Member Burke's Avatar
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    Well said Jim...

    Bird-Dog, Good call, safety is key...I am not sure why people would consider having the pointing dog flush, some might but I cant see the benefit.
    A well trained flushing dog will sit to the flush so as to minimize the chance of accidents happening.
    Last edited by Burke; 01-09-2011 at 23:03. Reason: add

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    Nope, I'll do the flushing myself, it's one of the best reasons to have a dog standing on point. Through decades of experience a hunter learns a lot about the birds being hunted, like when that bird might have had enough pressure and flushing is about to happen, and which direction that bird might just fly. It's possible to do some bit of direction in these concerns and cause the bird to flush when and where you want it to. And a pointed bird even gives a hunter a few moments to ensure shooting can be done safely.Besides those things, and possibly a dozen more, it doesn't take even a well trained pointing dog long to develop problems in the field when allowed to routinely flush birds IMHO. Jim

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    Member slimm's Avatar
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    As always Jim is spot on..
    Hunting over pointers is hard to beat, my GSP will lock up and hold the very second she smells birds I'm able to calmly walk up to her and pretty much determine how far out the birds are by checking out the angle of her head and where her eyes are,,,, say the birds are about 75 yards out, i then release her she then repositions and slowly creeps in and nails down exactly where the birds are and locks up again, usually at about 25 yards from the birds, i then walk out flush the birds myself if i knock one down she is on the retrieve immediately brings it to hand then on to the next covey.
    How can you beat that?? It's as close to a controlled environment as yer gonna get for upland game..
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    Member slimm's Avatar
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    In the second pic her point isn't near as intense and her head is held kind of high,,this tells me these birds are about 75/100 yards out ,,
    first pic is after i released her and she moved in to about 25 yards her point is more intense and her head is much lower and direct,, shootin is about to commence,,heh-heh..

    Here's another site that has some great info on hunting dogs,,http://www.uplandidaho.com/discussion/default.asp
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    Great pictures, very nice looking GSP and what a point!
    Respectfully...

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    What bird-dog said.

    Jim

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