Tired Chukar Hunter Needs advice

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Tired Chukar Hunter Needs advice

Postby 4thehuntbirdz » Fri Oct 12, 2018 12:18 am

Need some help everyone. I used to be a pheasant chaser with Labs but I picked up a GSP about 8 years ago and hit the chukar hills. I've been on this quest to master chukar hunting, and frankly I'm getting a beat down! I still love it though...must be crazy. Anyway, after a particularly rough outing I started reflecting on the past years and really began to wonder....is my dog really a good chukar hunter? Or is he a below average performer? I've been doing this game for 8 years now and I'm not an expert or a pro trainer. But in general, in the training fields my dog points fine, he is very solid on whoa too. But all the training seems to go out the window in a real life chukar hunting situation. So to all the chukar folks out there....these are the problems I face (I actually have more but we don't have that much time :lol: )

1) Sometimes I think my dog runs through coveys. But I'm often unsure because I don't see it. The terrain makes visibility to your dog very difficult. I honestly can't say whether he runs through coveys about 75% of the time. It seems like I have a lot of "wild flushes"...maybe too many. It also seems like I'm not getting as many points as I should. I've only seen this seriously about 2-3 times. I think I can correct it if I see it but I can't when I don't.

2) I think my dog points too close to covey...crowding them so they bust before I can get there. You often can't get there quickly due to the terrain and it seems like most coveys break well before I get there. I don't really notice a lot of creeping, just a point that seems too close.

3) My dog doesn't seem to work single chukars from a broken covey very well. I always hear that when you bust a covey you can start having fun picking up singles. This really hasn't happened to me my entire career. If we do find them again, I have the same problem with #1 or #2 above.

Any advice from the good folks on this board? What can I do to improve my success rates? It seems like training in a real chukar situation is next to impossible because there are soooo many variables with chukar hunting. I almost think the dog has to teach itself how to hunt chukar and be a good teammate w/ me...but it is all up to the dog and since I can't dictate the hunting scenario, he just has to eventually figure it out. Help? Advice?
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Re: Tired Chukar Hunter Needs advice

Postby JONOV » Tue Oct 16, 2018 10:51 am

It seems like he's "learned" from pen raised birds that he can crowd them.
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Re: Tired Chukar Hunter Needs advice

Postby LongHammer » Tue Oct 16, 2018 1:19 pm

Judging only by what I have seen from the Chuckar hunters on this site your experience seems to not be far off the norm. :lol: 500 yard walk up hill 700 vertical feet to a pointed dog and the birds all bust out when you are 60 yards away.
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Re: Tired Chukar Hunter Needs advice

Postby STait » Tue Oct 16, 2018 1:46 pm

Not my experience chukar hunting. A well bred dog should figure them out within a season. My suspicion is the same as JONOV's. Did you start him on crappy pen raised birds that he could get close to and catch? Go back and launch birds when he first scents them. Don't let him get close and then point, first scent only. Over and over again until he's staunch. Don't say a word to him, use duct tape (over your mouth) if necessary.
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Re: Tired Chukar Hunter Needs advice

Postby Bruce Schwartz » Tue Oct 16, 2018 1:59 pm

Thoughts:

A GPS on your dog will help some... you may be able to see who's doing the busting. A smart dog will start backing off with experience; a young dog not so much. Not unusual to get a point from 100 yards away.

Chukar coveys will run (as do singles) so they can be hard to pin down regardless.

when your dog tops out on a ridge it's good to whoa via whistle because many coveys are often just on the other side (they like to get up high and in lee of wind).

The denser the cover the more likely they'll hold

Chukar sit tighter if you're above them.

Agree with Longhammer - they're tough to hunt.
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Re: Tired Chukar Hunter Needs advice

Postby orhunter » Tue Oct 16, 2018 4:07 pm

Visibility is a problem. We don't want to be correcting a dog when we don't know what happened. But, you need to be on top of things when you encounter a situation where correction is necessary.

If you don't have an e-collar get one. Do some obedience training with it so the dog knows what it does before using it while hunting. Make the dog wear it every time you train or hunt even if you've no plans to use it. Put on low setting when you plan to use it or think you may have an opportunity to use it. Teach whoa/stay with the collar and only that for the time being. Treat the dog like it's a pup, start from zero. I'd also recommend giving a SERIOUS thought to place board training. I can e-mail you instructions if you can't find them on-line or in a book.

After the classroom stuff...... With the e-collar on low or whatever level you used in training and if dog creeps, hold the button down till it stops. If whoa training is complete, it will. You can train using the tone on the e-collar also. The dog has to know what the signal means which ever you use. Using both is a good idea. Tone for command, volts for disobedience. If the dog chases birds, use the collar to stop it. DO NOT SPEAK TO THE DOG. Use the collar.

When dog is on point, do not come up behind the dog to get at the birds. Always try to be in a good position as the dog searches so you can come in from the side for a point. You want the birds between you and the dog and give the do a lot of room. DO NOT SPEAK TO A DOG ON POINT. If the dog breaks, use the collar.

Don't forget place board training.

Chukar hunters have no use for pen raised birds and launchers. If you can't simulate Chukar hunting in your training, the dog is learning (has learned) the wrong stuff. A good Chukar dog will point birds at whatever distance is necessary and they learn this from the Chukars and you holding fire if the dog messes up. A little persuasion is in order at times. A person can resort to pen raised to cure specific problems but I'm not sure your dog is to that point. Only you can decide.

I've tried hunting coveys after they fly off and it's a lost cause. If you break up a covey they can be hunted but they usually all land together and start running. If you can get around in front of them fine, otherwise forget it. Singles are another matter. If you let them settle down, they hold fine and I've gotten some fantastic points out of my dog on singles or doubles. The more birds in the covey, the less likely you are to get close. Some/many birds are unapproachable. Don't blame it on the dog.

Correcting habits the dog has had for eight years might be a problem.

I like what Bruce said about whoaing the dog at the top of a rise when the wind is blowing hard. That can be money in the bank.
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Re: Tired Chukar Hunter Needs advice

Postby 4thehuntbirdz » Tue Oct 16, 2018 5:20 pm

Thanks for the advice everyone. I think I'll really try to key in on reducing the dog's range for now and get the whoa command to work for me in hunting situations....ya know just trying to keep the dog somewhat close and visible. Then I can correct if there is a run through the covey.

I've trained with pigeons and traps. I've always followed what all the trainers say....bring them in perpendicular to the scent cone....flush the birds early to keep dog off guard etc....never let him scent and move in. I kid you not, the dog is super smart and when it is training time it is perfect. When it is hunting time, it can get a little ugly.

So what are the characteristics of a great chukar dog? Seems to be the dog must have a long nose, very strong pointing instincts, a great retrieve and a lot of cooperation. I'm sure that can be found in all breeds to some degree. Any breeders pumping out these types of dogs that you all have had experience with? Breeders that breed chukar hunting dogs...preferably in the west.
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Re: Tired Chukar Hunter Needs advice

Postby orhunter » Tue Oct 16, 2018 5:48 pm

Long nose and strong pointing instinct. Two key elements. Should be able to detect birds in a breeze at 200 yards. Always hunt with the wind in the dog's favor.

Good luck with reducing range. Wonder how you plan on doing that without taking the hunt out of the dog?

Breeders that breed Chukar hunting dogs....out west. Lots of 'em because that's what we hunt out west. If ya want a Griff, ya gotta look elsewhere. Wisconsin is a good start. If you'll settle for a Wirehair, Bone Point Kennel, Cascade, Wires West....and a few others.
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Re: Tired Chukar Hunter Needs advice

Postby Bruce Schwartz » Tue Oct 16, 2018 6:25 pm

You also need dogs with good feet - the basalt/shale is hard on them and if they get sore you're trip is done. Some use booties but I prefer to hunt enough to allow them to toughen up on their own with time. You can avoid some problems by getting good maps and avoiding really steep stuff.

I mentioned a GPS - Astro, or whatever. Typically the terrain is rugged and has sagebrush so you can't see the dog a lot of the time. Big runners are desired by many but I don't think that's as important as a dog that's works with you and doesn't lead you off on some wild goose chase.
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