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Join Date: Jun 2009
Location: Northern Berks County, PA
Grouse with a flusher?
My black lab has shown some potential for bird hunting. I had him evaluated by a trainer at a bird farm/shooting preserve (she is a pretty good trainer, I've watched her dogs work and they are phenomenal), and she felt he was best trained as a flushing lab.
I'd like to try going for grouse, as I've never really done much grouse hunting, and he and I have enjoyed shed antler hunting for just the walks in the woods, with probably 20 miles of walking for the 2 antlers we found.
Anyway, I'd like to give it a whirl, but most of what I hear about for grouse involves pointers. Has anyone hunted them with a flusher? If so, any tips to get a newbie started?
Oh, and he got injured very badly in August (long story, but he got a nasty gash on his shoulder/side), and is nearly 100% again now. Actually, he probably is 100%, and the vet said he can resume normal activity. All sutures are gone, his wound is closed up, and he's back to his normal self again, but you can see the scar because where they shaved him for his two surgeries (that hurt the bank account!) hasn't fully grown back yet.
Anyway, I want to get back on track with his scent trail training and long line retrieves (the trainer gave me "homework"), as well as getting him used to a command for "far enough". I haven't settled on a command for that yet, but she told me I need to use something I'll find easy and consistent for me to use so he is clear on what I want him to do.
I have him whistle trained, and he comes very well to a double-whistle from a coach's whistle.
I want to get him out to the bird farm for some more training here soon, and would like to do a few hunts there with him to get him more accustomed to it. The trainer evaluated him (using a starter and then a 22) for being gunshy, and he showed ZERO reaction to the shots. She is not concerned about him being a problem there, although we still have to work our way up in noise yet.
Just looking for ideas.....he loves being in the woods, and I'd like to try for a grouse this year.