Hunting quail without help can be more than just a little challenging since they are so good at hiding in plain sight in the deep grass. You could almost walk over the top of them and never even realize it. But, if you are willing to invest time and effort in training your dog to hunt quail, you can look forward to many more successful hunting trips in the future. The training is not hard, but it can take months before your pup is ready to take out in the field and improve your tally.
You can train your pup to flush out the flocks of quail, splitting them up and making it easier for you to shoot them. You can also train your dog to bring the birds back to you. While tracking and hunting are natural to most dogs, domestication has dulled this ability down. It is up to you to restore it and train your dog to make the most of this natural instinct.
The basic command can be something as simple as "track", "hunt", or "go get 'em!" The choice is yours, but no matter what you choose, be sure you stick to the same command every time to avoid confusion. The goal is to train your dog to use his nose to find his quarry in the deep grass or woods and flush them out so that you can shoot them.
This is much easier than trying to both yourself. Unless you are planning to sit in one spot and hoping the quail will walk by, you need to flush them out. Chances are good if you flush them out by walking past them, you are going to be too startled to get off a good shot and you may even end up hurting yourself. A well-trained dog will not only find more quail for you, but he can make the hunt much safer for both of you.
Before starting to train your pup to hunt, he must have mastered basic commands such as 'sit', 'stay', 'come', 'lay down'. Your pup must be trained not to react to the sound of gunfire, and you will also need a few supplies:
To fully train your pup to be a great quail hunter can take months or even years. The big thing is to continue working with your dog all year round, especially during the off-season.
I adopted Blu from a rancher who said he was agressive to male dogs (I have not seen this in him). I hope to teach him how to flush and retreive birds and if I can get him to point even better.
Blu does not seem to be interested in tracking or even play with my quail dummy covered in quail scent. How do I get him interested and motivated?
Hello Angel, If the dummy and scent are not enough to get him excited then you might need the real thing. I would suggest looking into purchasing a live bird. Purchase a pen-raised Quail if possible or a pigeon if a Quail is not easy to get a hold of. Secure the bird's wings to it's side by wrapping Velco around it's body over the wings, and then toss the bird a little ways and let your dog watch it move and run a bit. To reduce the chance of the bird getting away either attach a long, 50 ft piece of twine or thick thread around the bird's leg, or practice this in a fenced in area, or have an assistant help you. Keep him restrained but encourage excitement. Another way to introduce the bird is to place the bird into a cage and encourage your dog's excitement about the bird. The live birds will get your dog excited about the real thing if your dog is birdy by nature. The movement, scent, and noises of live birds is far better than a dummy for encouraging interest. Once your dog is excited about live birds, then you can use dead birds that have been frozen from a hunt or purchased with the feathers still on. Toss those birds for retrievals, and to encourage pointing and scenting. Once your dog is extremely excited about real and dead birds, and showing more instincts for pointing, retrieving, and tracking, then try the dummy with the scent again. By that point the scent will be something familiar that excites your dog, and will be more likely to hold his interest. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden
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