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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I've made a few observations on this list lately regarding this subject. What is of interest to me is the reasons behind this opinion. Not to pick on Rob, but when his dog Blue won a recent trial you didn't hear anyone saying that trial beagles or hounds can't hunt; or that beagles or hounds can either hunt well or trial well but not do both well. So, am I to assume this seems to be a perception, or bias among Pointing Bird dog owners? If so, why doesn't hold true for other hunting breeds, including labs or retrievers as I don't seem to hear the same criticism of them or flushing breeds such as the Springer Spaniel?

So, I'm at a quail trial and the brace of dogs are released. After about 20 minutes. in the distance one pointer (sorry Wormdunker but it is my post) locks up in the handler moves in and flushes a Covey of eight quail. The dog is steady to wing and shot. The dog and handler go on to find two singles out of the busted Covey and the dog is staunch and steady to wing and shot. The next thing you see is the pointer heading out to the low brush a ways off. A friend of mine is with me and at his first trial leans over to tell me that the dog wouldn't be worth a dxx! as a hunter because it missed six single birds and wasn't quartering and hunting some of the open grass field areas. He said his old dog would've found them all and we would have been eating fat that night. What do you think??
 

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This is something very hard to explain.

But yes it carries over into the beagle world also.

Blue got his 2nd. In a ARHA Progressive pack trial.

In my opinion the ARHA PP promotes a complete rabbit hunting dog.

If you have an outstanding cottontail gun dog. He will do well in ARHA PP.

Unlike many of the other formats and trials (in the beagle world).

I think you will find that 95% of all ARHA PP champs are top notch cottontail gun dogs.

I doubt any body would ever try and say that about another beagle format.

I have ran them all and in my mind if a guy is wanting a top notch gun dog beagle (for cottontail rabbits). ARHA PP would be the place to look.
 

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I being a bird dog trial guy and a beagle trial guy agree with Rob ARHA is the only bealge hunt that makes a dog cicrle a rabbit with a gun shot on its own as well as gain points in other hunts


I say that horse back dogs make bad hunters as for NSTRA dog make the best hunters

the bottom line is these dogs are tools as well as pets and we use them oh we see fit

I would use a screw driver as a pry bar but my dad would not
 

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This one is gonna get good. I know the answer but need to think how I can answer with out lighting the fuse to the breed war or worst yet the F.D.S.B. verses the A.K.C.
 

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Hey legris,

Now thats a good one. My first answer was - "It all depends" and let it go at that! But what KIND of field trials are you takin' here????

As many of you know, I'm a Brittany guy. We ran the Brittany field trial circuit pretty hard from Maine to So Carolina for many years. Had dogs with pro handlers also. When we started, there was NO horseback handling and there was alot of native game also. Almost all the dogs were hunted and trialed. The best ones knew the difference and did well in both worlds.

WD, dont worry. bc/ I luv longtails too. And I'll say it again "A good bird dog is any color":D ;) :cool:

Natty B.
 

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Oh yeah, white men can't jump either. wait were talking dogs and better yet, say you have a good hunting dog, will it be a lousy field trial dog if you decided to try trialing it ?
 

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when I added my post I forgot to say NAVDA as well them dogs always seem to make good hunters I have never been around many AKC trial dogs and was not happy with the ones i was around
 

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Natty has the absolutley correct answer " It all depends!!!" What makes a "good trial dog" or a "good hunting dog" all depends on the perspective.

Here in the midwest, with either the Grouse woods up north or the smaller and smaller pheasant/qual habitats available, MOST hunters would prefer a closer working dog, thus would shy away from an open/all age dog from West Texas Trial blood. However, someone chasing quail in that area might get a little perturbed at a Cover Dog Champion that is used to busting northwoods Aspen thickets for Pats and Timberdoodles. So its all in the eyes of the beholder.

There are some dogs that can do it all, but as has been mentioned here by other guys you can have a jack of all trades and a master of none, or you can work on making a dog drop dead awesome on something and let the chips fall where they may....

OR just do what I'm working on GET A BUNCH OF DOGS:D :D

There are several different types of Trials, -- NSTRA, FDSB, AKC, Cover Dog, etc... Each has there own following and each has there own detractors, but in reality, its just like tournament fishing, are BASS guys better than PWT guys??? No not necessarliy, just different.

Since I'm also a Brittany man, lets take an example from that breed. Nolan's last bullet is a kick butt NSTRA Brittany (30X champion). NSTRA is a walking trial where the birds are shot and retrieved to hand. Many would argure the closest competition to actual hunting. Tequila Joker is an open all age Dual Champion Brittany (8X National Field champion, Iam's Dog of the year, blah, blah, blah....) He got his "stripes" in the Horse Back/FDSB style trials where the birds are not shot.

Does that make NLB better than TJ??? Hell, who knows, I'd hunt behind either!!!! But it all depends on what you are looking for and what you like to hunt behind. I've hunted over AKC/FDSB champion dogs (Pretty Boy Jake among others) and I've Watched NSTRA dogs hunt (TimberGSP's Late "TIMBER"). They definitely hunt differnet, but they both were still excellent dogs.

So, my long winded response will end up with the following analysis, just what is your criteria for a "good hunting dog" and there is probably some type of competitive trial format to mimic that.

Keep in mind also, that there are many Big shot trial dogs that never have a bird killed over them, they are soley trained to compete. The handlers and or owners don't want to "ruin" them by making them "meat dogs". So saying they would make lesser hunting dogs may be true because they were never trained as such, but there's nothing wrong with that because its what the owner wanted.
 

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Well here goes folks as far as retrievers and hounds getting more respect in their trails they usually only run against like breeds. For instance you won't see a blood hound, plott hound, and the beagle all trying to compete against each other at the same trail. They are all hounds and maybe they can all run rabbits but can't compete with the beagle in a rabbit trail. Well now we have the pointing dogs same thing most will hunt, some will find birds, and some will even hold bird till flushed, but this doesn't mean they can all compete at the same type trails with each other. I know some won't agree with this but this is why A.K.C. has breed trails. Due you really think if a Irish or Gordon trail was open to all breeds they could compete with pointers, setters or even shorthairs. I could be wrong here but I was told to become A.K.C. champion you just need to acuire points not really win a championship trail. To be a F.D.S.B. champion you not only have to win trails to quallify you have to win a championship to be a champion.

Now for the second part of the question no I don't think all trail dogs make good hunters. I due believe a cover dog trail dog could compete in any type trail and still be an outstanding hunting dog because that what they were breed and trained for hunting wild birds. All age horse back dogs(F.D.S.B.) yes they will also make good hunting dogs they may run a little bigger than most hunters would like but when they fins birds they'll still be standing there waiting for you to catch up. Now A.K.C. trail dogs(at least the trails I've been to) are taught to run tree lines if they due try hunt the fields they are ordered to be picked up because the judges just want to see a race. Plus most of these dogs are only trained on liberated quail so they will get to close to a wild bird and bust it so again not what I or most hunters want to hunt over.
 

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gregm,

Well said!!!

I'm also sure some of the "coverdog" trial dogs would do real well on the grouse/wc hunting we have here "Up North".

OK, WD, BW, CD et al .. what say you????

Natty B.
 

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Different strokes for different folks.

I have always liked my dogs on the big running side. The trial dogs that are raised or worked in my string are hunting dogs first, trial dogs second. They will have had a lot of birds shot for them before they become a finished competitor.

Walking grouse trials (cover dog) demand a biddable dog. They have to hunt with you. The way to get them there is to train and hunt them a lot.

This past year I won 13 placements. They were won in the woods (on grouse and woodcock) and in walking shooting dog (planted quail) events. With the same string of 5 dogs we put more than 300 wild birds; grouse, woodcock and sharptail in the books.

I truely believe that a great trial dog and a great hunting dog are one in the same. Thats what makes them great to me.



"One mans trash is another mans treasure".


Back Woods
 

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I'm fairly new to the hunting dog scene but one thing I still can't figure out is why people try to label entire groups of dogs. (and I realize some of it is just to make good natured conversation).

I don't see how you can make a statement like that about any breed, breed organization or hunting/trialing organization.

But then maybe I just haven't seen enough dogs to know.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Just back from work. Bad day but I picked up a new title - electronic janitor. Coworkers have problems with the information system and I get to cleanup.

I would like to thank all of you for some good well-thought-out replies! I would like to point out that I have been observing field trials for about a year now. Lot of fun if you really enjoy watching good dogs work.

So, it sounds like all breeds have the same performance issues. Some will hunt and others will fall short of that goal irregardless of whether they just hunt, just trial, or attempt to do both. So breed to breed it sounds like all things are equal. Maybe Bird dog owners are just more vocal about it. But if a trial dog can't hunt, and the goal field trialing is the betterment of the breed for hunting, is there an issue with the judging of the trials? In the second part of my original post will the handler handle the dog differently during a trial? If so, is this misinterpreted by those not familiar with the sport. Does the handler have anything to gain by milling about and finding the other six birds? Or has he already demonstrated what the dog is capable of doing and has a better chance of winning if he sends the dog off to find another Covey and reproduce what has already been demonstrated? In my "opinion" I would hope that mindless quartering in areas with little chance of finding birds would find disfavor among the judges, but also realize that some regard this trait highly.

Sounds like a dog's range is something of an individual issue in both trials and hunting and should be addressed in the region and birds being worked (sort of tailored to the birds you like to hunt in the way you like to hunt). My director likes to hunt grouse over a friend's Brittany. He told me he likes the dog working only 30 ft. in front of them. I asked him what does he need a pointing dog for. If it is the job of pointing breeds to find grouse and Woodcock and remain staunch on point until the hunters get there, why not let them range out and do their job? My dog competes in the grouse trials (Cover Dog) and hunts. In the fall that means hunt during the week and trial on weekends. He runs big while hunting also. So, you have to keep track of the bell or deeper, especially early-season when the ferns are up to your chest. But in my "opinion" that translates into more finds and more opportunities for me. Sort of a numbers game for an average shot like me.

Time to get some food, I'll check back later.

Legris
 

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that really depends on the format of the trial in NSTRA you need the other 6 birds in some of the horse back stuff you dont
 

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ORIGINALLY POSTED BY LEGRIS "HE TOLD ME HE LIKES THE DOG WORKING ONLY 30 FOOT IN FRONT OF THEM"
I'm hoping you meant "only 30 yards" in front of them??? Ten yards????

Legris, thats flushing dog range and awful close even for that. As WD said, lets dont turn this into a breed vs breed thing. I just dont want folks on here to think that a good Britt in the grouse woods is gonna run at bayonet range!!! Balderdash!!!

If you train yr dog before you go hunting, you wont have to worry about how far he runs. And he'll be there pointing when you find him.:D

Natty B.
 

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I second Natty's observation on range. The problem with my Britts and Grouse is that they hunt TOO far out. In fact, if it wasn't for a tracking collar, I would have probably lost Elliot last year up by Atlanta.

Due to where I live and the habitat available for me to train on, the grouse woods were a little foreign to my Britts and he got confused (he was only 11 months old). Funny thing is I thought a tracking collar was overkill on a bird dog. My buddy I was hunting with had and a set and slipped the collar on Elliot when we left the truck, I never really saw him do it -- Man am I glad he did. I called LCS on the way home and bought a set of my own ($1000).

One other thing about Trials, a lot of bird hunters (inlcuding me at one time) will bash the Horseback mounted trials as something that does not mimic a hunting situation and therefore those dogs are somehow a "lesser" hunter. I was one of those until I actually competed in one. Its actually pretty fun. There is just something very cool, almost "throwback", about riding through the fields and over the creeks on a horse following a couple dogs hell bent for feathers. With the age of Four Wheelers, Beeper collars, and Autoloading shotguns, It is occasionally nice to go back a bit in time, mount a horse and ride across the goldenrod in search of "bob"s. I don't own a horse, but have borrowed one from my trial buddies or rented one from the wrangler. I would strongly suggest that if you've never tried it (even just rode in the gallery), then do it a couple of times. It really is a different perspective following your dog(s) on a horse then on foot.
 

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I at times run my grouse dogs with my horses. I stay on the trail and the dogs hunt the cover. It takes two guys to make it work right. If I had a helper I would use my horses a lot more in the woods. (Don't need to be looking for a horse as well as a dog). I have some of the best trail hunting in the state.

gregm, what kind of tracking system did you buy? I have a wildlife materials TRX3S. It has the behaior circuit. You can tell if your dog is running, walking, or pointing. To me they are a great training aid.

On another note.

What about dogs breeding down? How many horseback All Age Dogs produce true All Age Dogs? They produce more horseback Shooting Dogs than anything. How many horseback Shooting Dogs produce great Shooting Dogs? They produce the better Walking Shooting Dogs (or our grouse trial dogs).
I feel you need the big running trial dogs from the top to the bottom to produce the great hunting dogs of today. If I'm lucky, I get one or maybe two dogs a litter that can compete at the standard that I set for them, the rest make awsome gun dogs. If you look at the pedigree of any great gun dog chances are he has some good trial winning blood in there somewhere.


Back Woods
 

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BW:

Well Said!!!!

As for my Tracking Collar, I purchased a Tracker Radio (www.trackerradio.com) Maxima 1000/5. Its compact and lightweight. It has a 4 mile range in flat woods, 2 mile range in rolling/hilly woods and a 12 mile range on open prarie. Its also approved for field trial events. The main reason I bought that particular one??? -- because it's the system my buddy had that helped me find my Elliot when he got lost. I figured that's as much of a baptism by fire as I needed!!! It has the behavior indicator (pointing or running) also.
 

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gregm

NSTRA does not allow a tracker but since most of the dogs dont run as big and the fields which are around 35 acres are normally completey fenced it should not matter
 

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Timber:

Right, I should have said AF/AKC allows the use of them. I would hope a dog wouldn't need one in a NSTRA trial:D ;)

I bought mine mainly for Grouse Hunting, I really don't have Elliot's range to that of an Open/All age dog where one may be needed. But in early season Grouse woods, it seems like he can disappear 10 ft in front of my face!!!!

I've seen some dogs that need a tracker in AF/AKC trials, they run big and when they do point, there is no moving them no matter how much whistling/yelling one does. That's what's nice about having a horse mounted spotter!!!
 
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