MIX IT UP WITH POINTING DOGS AND FLUSHERS IN THE FIELD AT ONCE? BIRD DOGS ARE PRETTY SMART AT WORKING TOGETHER AND FIGURING IT ALL OUT.
By Tom Carpenter
One of the rewards of all of Pheasants Forever’s habitat work is the magic of being in the field with our bird dogs. According to survey numbers, more than 70 percent of Pheasants Forever members own at least one hunting dog. The flushing dog:pointing dog split is about 55:45.
That means we have probably have some mixed-dog hunts going on out there, which brings up the question: How can I hunt with my buddy who runs a dog that points while mine flushes, or vice versa? Won’t they just cause problems for each other and the hunting group?
The answer is simple: Just do it! Until you’ve tried it, it’s amazing how effective and easy it is to mix it up.
It all starts with mindset. You’ll have plenty of days to hunt alone with your dog – something we all live for. But on a shared hunt, you’re there as much for the camaraderie as the kill. That’s not to say you can’t or won’t get birds, though. You can, and will. Here are 5 approaches.
the flushing dog inside a habitat seam of thicker cover, working in. Let the pointing dog cruise the outside / lighter edge of a seam, working out.
as close as you want to your partner hunter-dog team, but a hundred yards or so is about right in thinner cover, 50 yards or so in thicker habitat.
each other over if your dog gets on a bird … especially a pesky runner, looper or lurker. Often a different approach – the plowing of a flusher or the finesse of a pointer – can locate the bird. And two noses and eight legs are better than one and four.
the pointing dog locks up, life isn’t over if the flushing dog works in and does the flush ... as long as somebody’s there to shoot.
they stay closer and quarter well, flushing dogs are perfect for a line of hunters working a field. But pointing dogs can partake too; place them on the ends of the line, pushing out to the sides where the flushers don’t go.
Life, friendships and hunting season are too short to miss out on mixed-dog hunts. More nose power is better than less, and bird dogs are pretty smart at working together and figuring it all out.
This content origiinally appeared in the Summer 2019 ssue of Pheasants Forever Journal as the Bird Dogs column.