In the previous installment, I wrote about how we train grouse dogs and so use grouse scent in certain aspects of training this time of the year. People who hunt on other game birds will, if they desire, use available scents that are consistent with their circumstances, pheasant scent in pheasant country and quail scent in quail country and so forth. This same idea holds for where we train and where we place birds in practice situations. Birds are strong motivating factors for bird dogs and most dogs are quite place-oriented. While dogs, in a strict sense, do not remember exact spots in the manner that we do, the outcome is much the same: Placing birds in certain places or certain types of places will result in many dogs who want to go to and hunt those places.
In our case, putting birds in thick cover helps dogs get in there and hunt the thick stuff, a quality necessary for a grouse dog. Using pigeons in velcro harnesses or in releasers, or pen-raised game birds in spots where the game bird you are preparing to pursue, can help that dog to be more effective come hunting season. Of course, different game birds live in different habitats and so tight woods might not be the answer in your situation. And thought you might not have ideal bird cover in your training area, it will still help the dog along if the trainer plants birds in places that even partially resemble ‘good’ bird cover for their game bird of choice.
You might not have exactly the same type habitat, but close is better than nothing. A good dog will figure out the missing pieces, given opportunity.
LCS Elite Staff