Speed and scenting

With ears flying, Northwoods Vixen (CH Westfall's Black Ice x Northwoods Prancer, 2011) shows plenty of speed. Photo by Chris Mathan.

Ears flying, Northwoods Vixen (CH Westfall’s Black Ice x Northwoods Prancer, 2011) shows plenty of speed. Photo by Chris Mathan.

A dog that covers a great deal more country sure speeds the process of finding these (ruffed grouse) birds, whatever the density.
~ Gordon Gullion

Basically, I agree with Gullion. But I would add that a dog’s range isn’t nearly as important as its speed. To cover more ground in a given period of time, a dog needs to be fast.

And there’s one more piece. Speed just carries the dog to likely areas. It’s the nose that finds birds. A dog must have a nose capable of scenting birds before they’re passed or flushed.

In other words: I think a bird dog should run at 10 mph but have a 15-mph nose.

As the 10-mph dog with the 15-mph nose detects game, it shifts gears from a fast, searching speed to a slower, intense pace. Its body becomes rigid as it checks and follows scent. Its pointing posture is usually well balanced and composed and often one foot is raised in the classic style.

Another type of dog hunts at 15 mph but has 10-mph nose. I call this a “whack” pointer. The dog never seems to slow down and make game; instead it slams into point from a full-speed run. Often, it ends up in a twisted or crouched posture. Unfortunately, and just as likely, this dog will miss the bird or bump it.

How fast should a bird dog hunt? My answer: fast enough. The dog should hunt fast enough to cover as much ground as possible but not so fast as to outrun its nose.


    Spotlight:  Northwoods Chalcedony

    Northwoods Chalcedony (CH Elhew G Force x Northwoods Vixen, 2016)

    Callie did a stellar job for her first season on the prairies, under some very tough conditions. All birds were pointed and retrieved to hand. She blew me away. I love this dog and cannot get enough of her.
    ~Tom Massaro, hunting in Montana

    Good stuff about puppies

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    A pointing dog’s first hunting season
    Bird and gun introduction
    Early development of puppies
    How to correct a dog
    How to pet a dog
    How to pick a puppy
    Patience and puppies
    Picking puppies: the unimportance of picking order
    Puppies and fireworks
    Puppy buying mistakes
    Raising puppies at Northwoods Bird Dogs
    The pointing instinct
    Training puppies on a stakeout chain

    Good stuff from previous posts

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    Finer points on...

    A brace of bird dogs
    Accuracy of location
    Bird finding
    How to flush grouse and woodcock
    Hunting pattern
    Running grouse
    Scenting ability
    Speed and scenting
    To point a bird, first a dog has to find it
    Using grouse dogs on pheasants


    A bump or a knock
    Backing point
    Bird dog basics:  hunt, handle, point birds
    Bumping grouse
    Electronic training collars...a little perspective
    How to correct a dog
    How to pet a dog
    Patience and puppies
    The pointing instinct
    Transition to wild birds
    Unproductive points
    WHOA and NO


    Dogs, not averages, matter in breeding
    Evaluating litters
    Pointers of Northwoods Bird Dogs
    Proper conformation
    The tail of a bird dog


    Bird dogs and hidden traps
    Feeding bird dogs
    Feeding for ideal body condition
    First aid kit for bird dogs
    Get your dog ready for the season
    Hazards in the grouse woods
    How to maintain a good weight for your dog
    Quick lesson on poisoning and how to induce vomiting
    Tick-borne diseases in dogs


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