Yes folks, in just over three weeks grouse/woodcock season opens in Maine! The leaves are already slowly transitioning to their brilliant fall colors. I have already cleaned my shotguns, gone over my gear, oiled my boots, held refresher training with the mutts......we. have. to . just. wait.
Less than 6 weeks until Maine Grouse hunting! Time to tune up the pointing dogs, and get them, and ourselves, ready for the upcoming bird season. I have been seeing quite a few grouse in my daily runs with the dogs, and anticipate a better season than last year. We will also take the time to shoot some sporting clays to sharpen our reflexes - Mr. Ruff is a hard bird to hit! Bird season in Maine runs from 1 October until 31 December. The early part of the season sees the woodcock migration. There is no hunting on Sunday in Maine. Give us a call if you want to chase the King of Game birds!
yup.....fall is almost upon us. The leaves are already slowly changing, the dragonflies are feasting on the leftover mosquitoes, the goldenrod is in full bloom. Time to start thinking about.....you got it, CAST and BLAST! Hunt grouse and woodcock in the morning, then shift gears and fish Grand Lake Stream for salmon. Makes for a perfect day. The warmer afternoons, earlier setting sun, and the crispness in the air makes for great hunting and fishing days. If you have never done this, you need to try it!
Training a pointing dog takes several pairs of hands to do it right. In the upper photo, Jerry from Downeast Outfitters (Hunting and fishing Guide Service based in Surrey, Maine) steadies his Gordon Setter "Shadow" on a planted bird. Steadiness training starts with yard work, then proceeds to the field, where planted birds are used to get the dog to remain steady in a hunting situation. A check cord is used to ensure the dog does not "break" and try to flush the bird.
The photo below shows my dog "Duke" pointing a planted bird with a check cord attached.
Jerry and I are dedicated to training our dogs together.....it helps to have someone else to plant the bird, hold the check cord, flush the bird, etc. With a little under 4 months until bird season in Maine, we will try to train at least once if not twice a week with our combined 4 dogs.
Not sure how to train your dog? Give us a call. We are happy to help!
Now that April is here, and the snow and ice are melting (sort of), it is time for the mutts to go back to school.......obedience training, followed by steadiness training using live pigeons. There are many, many references out there to use for training. My favorite is "Training the Sporting dog", by Donald Smith and Ervin E. Jones. It has chapters for both pointing and flushing dogs, with all the useful tips and information. It has been my training "bible" for at least 20 years.
Snow and ice is melting.......time to "tune up" the dogs. I start the whoa cycle almost from scratch, and get them ready so by the time spring is here I shift to penned birds or pigeons. I will continue this pretty much throughout the summer with periodic refresher training, and then smooth of the edges in September.
How do you keep your team ready for the season?
I love using pigeons for training my pointing dogs. They are easily kept, cheap to feed, reproduce throughout the year, and fly back to the loft when you are done with them. The dogs respond to them very well, and will readily point them.
As spring approaches, I start thinking about tuning up the dogs. I use live pigeons, which help with staunchness and realism. I will go through the steps for whoa training for a week or so before I do this. I will work the dogs most of the summer on steadiness and retrieving, and reinforce basic obedience.