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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I'm a first-time bird dogger who was fortunate enough to acquire a 3 year-old Drahthaar this spring. He's been a great dog and I've never had more fun in my 18 years of bird hunting. However, I've noticed a difference in his ability to hunt grouse vs. chukar. When grouse hunting, he really struggles to pin down the bird and give a solid point before the bird flushes. I'll notice him get birdy and start working much slower as he picks up scent, but he seems to have a difficult time figuring out exactly where the bird is. Almost every time, he'll bump the bird as he is working around. I've yet to get a solid point on grouse even though I've been able to get him on at least 30 or 40 birds this year. On the flip side however, when hunting chukar he is able to pin the birds with ease and give rock solid points virtually every time. He seems to pick up scent at greater distances and is incredible to watch work (granted, the wind has been pretty favorable while chukar hunting). He's better than I ever could have dreamed of in the chukar hills. So my question is, do you guys notice a difference in your dog's ability to hunt grouse vs. chukar? And what sort of tips could you give me to improve his ability to pin down grouse?
 

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Yes, there's a difference.
IMHO, that's just the game. Some dogs will get better with grouse experience, but it's less the "dog's fault" and more the darn "grouse's fault". They just don't hold very well. So cherish a grouse point when you get it. If you really want to struggle with your pointer, go hunt wild pheasant or desert quail. They'll drive you pointer crazy!
 

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Wait... grouse wont hold? We are talking about the birds you can basically kill with a rock right?


-DallanC
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Yeah Dallan, those are the ones. I've been hunting them for almost two decades without a dog and I was pretty surprised they wouldn't hold once a dog got on them. They seem to let me get pretty close when I'm just walking through the forest. I thought I had a flusher and not a pointer until I got the dog on chukar and he performed flawlessly.
 

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Very true regarding grouse--they are wild flushing birds with a dog but dumb as a bag of hammers when you are dog-less. I think its an instinctual response to 4 legged critters that regularly hunt them like coyotes and bobcats.

My pointers are similar with grouse--it takes them a while to figure grouse out, even then they are not as consistent as chukar. I only hunt rough/blue grouse a half dozen times a year so really they don't get too much experience with them which doesn't help the situation but I still get a point from them about half the time. I would say as long as you are getting out and hunting them that is as good as you can do. No amount of training can beat time spent on wild birds--you just hope the dog can get a little better each time
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Well I'll keep chasing them and hopefully he improves. I've noticed improvement from opening day until now, but he still isn't where I'd like him to be. He has really slowed down and is more methodical when picking up scent now as opposed to earlier in the year when he'd just trot right into them and they'd flush. Hopefully he keeps learning. I'm not sure how many grouse he had been on before I got him so this might be a pretty new experience for him.
 

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My GSP holds a decent point on dove (around the yard) and pheasants in the field, can't seem to be able to with grouse. He's a flusher and I blame grouse for moving....
Either way he hunts close during the grouse hunts and I shoot them when they flush. We've got a system that seems to work.
 

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In my experience.

Blues and Ruffs generally do not hold as well with a dog, because they are preyed upon by bobcats and dogs.

Sage Grouse will hold tight in Wyoming and will not hold at Sheldon Nevada. Different habitat is probably the reason. Ankle high black sage in Nevada and Sage trees in Wyoming are probably the reason the birds act like what they do.

Sharpies will hold pretty well.

Chukars are great with a pointing dog as long as they haven't been too pressured. The key is to get above them, if you are below them they will run uphill.
 

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One thing I've seen over the years is chukar tend to be in a covey of 10-30 or so birds moving all over the side of the mountain leaving a lot of scent.Most of the grouse I get into are single or a pair that don't move around spreading scent everywhere so when the dog finally catches a wif of them they are right on top of them or just ran over them.
 

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How do springers do on grouse and/or chukars?
 
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