Friday, October 23, 2009

Wild Turkeys Ruining My Grouse Hunting

I went over to Fatman yesterday for a quick hunt. Happy got birdy right out of the van and locked up on a familiar cover. I have flushed a grouse out of this thicket several times this year and the bird is getting wise to our routine. He flushed 40 yds. ahead of us. We are going to have to change tactics to get close to this guy!

I put Blackie out at "The Buffet" cover and he hit a point, broke and pointed again. No bird, but it tells me something had been there. And then, it happened. Blackie got into a flock of turkeys and that turned into a rodeo. It took nearly an hour to get him back. The turkeys will run like crazy and the dogs stay right after them. There seems to be an abundance of turkeys the past few seasons. I run into them far more than I'd like! They can sure ruin a grouse hunt.

Later, I ran 2 more grouse off the road and put Blackie on them but did not get a shot. 3 flushed, but no shots. I did find 2 piles of feathers in the road where someone had ground sluiced some birds.........and that's another blog!!! DWT


  1. I guess that's something else I'm going to have to worry about. Turkeys are becoming more and more common in Maryland. Last year I saw them on the road in front of the house and I heard them calling in the woods nearby. If Erin ever ran into a covey of turkeys it would not be pretty.

  2. Not easy to train a dog to know the difference. I'm sure they know that turkey's aren't grouse, but to them, they ARE BIRDS. A shock collar would be a tricky tool in this situation. You've got to be careful how you use them and you've got to see your dog and know exactly what is happening when you use it. That's one of our biggest problems here. The forest is pretty dense and you don't always SEE your dog when he goes on point. Of course, most of the time, you can "hear" the commotion, (with turkeys) but still, you shouldn't use a collar unless you KNOW what the dog is doing. Using a shock collar the wrong way, and at the wrong time, does more damage than good. It's a challenge we may be forced to deal with if the turkey population keeps growing.

  3. I only used a shock collar twice. The first time was when Flash started chasing deer which are very numerous around here. I always put it on her when they went for a run. When they jumped some deer I nailed her. Two shocks, and she never ran a deer again. My collar had a feature where you could beep the dog before you shocked them. I used it on Flash on point so she wouldn't creep and it worked well but one day I was distracted and shocked her instead and she refused to work for a week. About six months later, we were out for a run on my friends farm when she wandered into an electric fence. She was pissed and turned around and proceeded back the way she came. after a few minuets, she appared on a ridge and we watched her retun to the car, jump in the open window and lie down in the back seat. We laughed for days about it but she wouldn't do a thing for you if that collar was around. As you said, be really carful how you use a collar with a Gordon. I can see how turkeys will be a real problem as they become more numerous. I didn't think about it but you raised a real issue and I'm not sure how to deal with it.

  4. Gordons are tricky because they are so smart. Dan does the training here. He uses the collar for the deer chasing also. With other training, he tries to "fool" the dog into thinking it wasn't Dan who hurt them with a shock. If they think it was the deer, they get the idea it's not good to chase one because the deer will hurt them. If the dog doesn't know it is Dan, they think the punishment will come no matter where they are, or who they are with. I don't like my dogs thinking that we hurt them. I want them to think that their behavior brings on the punishment and we are the good guys. We think it's more effective and you can avoid those nasty looks from your Gordon!