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Here are some shots from yesterdays pheasant hunt.
It was really lovely weather, although it was snowing for whole two days until the very morning we were heading to the fields.
There was a lot of snow yesterday but not too cold.

I was wondering how difficult it is for dog to pick up scent of game in a weather like this for example? Is there scent at all, or do they hunt on sight?

I would love to hear from more experienced members, their thoughts.

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Replies to This Discussion

Hello Dusan,
I enjoyed your photos!

I'd say it is definitely scent rather than sight.
Although in very cold & dry weather with dry snow the conditions are more difficult than in moist weather.
I say this not through experience from hunting in these conditions but due to knowledge about avalanche rescue dogs in Switzerland.
I believe generally extremely low humidity, be it summer or winter, affects the scenting abilities of dogs.
Thank you Susan, it’s not spectacular (flat as a pancake where ever you look around you) but it’s a home, and very good hunting grounds.

I was wondering if maybe scent stays captured under the snow?
Because my young male didn’t behave as expected, but maybe he was overwhelmed with snow and German shorthaired girl in heat who hunted with us.

You are probably right, I never did give a thought about those rescue dogs.
Hi Dusan - looks like we two are all on our own here;-((

I guess you've hit the nail on the head: a young dog not very experienced in the field, first snow and then the distracting smell of a gorgeous girl... maybe you are just asking a bit too much of him?

With time, the passion to hunt will/may overpower those other passions... Keep it up!
Well I guess that the others are still celebrating the holidays ;)
Thank you Susan for participating on this.

He was introduced year ago in the hunting. I was surprised when on his first hunt ever he flushed some game after some older dogs have passed through without finding anything. And it happened twice on that day. He really was a star of the day then.

But this was his first hunt in this year though, and he really seamed uninterested in hunting at all. At first he enjoyed playing with the bitch in the snow, but as the time passed through he was less and less willing to go and search the fields. I did saw him at the start of the hunt sniffing the air but don’t remember seeing him later even try to do that. That’s why I thought that maybe there was less scent in the air because of the weather that day.

But than again I have the feeling that he is easily bored in anything that goes a bit longer in time. Same thing happens on the shows: first hour or two he is so happy with new place and lots of dogs; but as time goes by he gets very nervous and jumpy.
i am here and reading your inputs.
no replies from my side though as i don't have a clue :-)
Dusan, before I carry on let me say again I am not a hunting expert, I just train my dogs as much as I can.

I would not worry too much about his behaviour if it has only happened once so far. He may be back to normal on your next outing.

And now I'll riks saying something here - and probably get my head bitten off ...

If you find your dog is really in serious trouble, maybe consider if you expected too much from him before he was ready? From my own experience I know that introducing the dog to game and at the same time working hard on control can give the dog the anticipatory feeling that the smell of game means strict obedience plus gunshot, thereby combining too many impressions in that one moment. The dog will then link game with being controlled - all very well for a dog with alot of experience and strong hunting instinct but not if the dog has not yet had much experience with hunting.
Also the introduction of the gun must be done carefully, getting the dog used to a shot being fired when he is happily running free. A dog uncertain of gunfire and started too soon, will start to link the smell of game with the gun being fired and start to avoid game in anticipation of the shot... similar to above. Once the passion to hunt is stronger and the dog is used to the gun, then can you start combining the two.

I'd probably try to give my dog some quiet hunting experience (just the two of you) without anything being shot . I'd also let the dog chase after one or two pheasants! If possible exerting soft control for him to sit for 10 seconds before being sent in to chase. It must be fun for the dog but at the same time he must work together with you.

Does this make any sense?
Hello ladies

I know that we Serbs have rather bad reputation but don’t worry I don’t bite ;)
I reeeeeeeaaaaally appreciate you advices, and I don’t pretend to know it all.

I used to be in juniors since small boy and then active hunter, but when left to college and moved away I deserted it. Now I only occasionally take dogs to hunt - when father goes I sort of tag along. So as you might guess it is more of a walk in nature then hunt for me.

It’s just something I noticed on the last hunt and wondered about, so I thought maybe it would be worth posting it here.

If I got it right from your answer, moisture in the air is the key factor that affects dog’s scenting abilities, and not the temperature, or bit layer of snow anything like that?

(And yes it makes perfect sense to me; Irish musn’t be forced in to hunting but rather become interested in the same.)
Hi Dusan - I did not mean you would do the biting;-))
I really meant anyone who understands more about this hunting business than I do...

somedogs have better scenting abilities and have learnt to use there noses better than others. An additional factor influencing scent is climate. But I would not go so far as to say 'moisture is the key factor'.
Naw, I think we are all harmless here, don’t worry ;)

And how about scenting abilities in Irish, when compared to other bird dogs?
Does anyone have any statistics on that maybe?
Yeah, luckily at some distance too;-))

As to scenting abilities - now how would you go about testing that I wonder?
Apart from gathering hear-say and anecdotal 'evidence' that is... If you can develope a scientific test for scenting abilities of dogs I am sure you could make a lot of money Dusan! The customs would be buying the perfect drug-sniffer dog, the police the best tracker, the italians would be needing your services to get the best dog to find 'tartuffo', and the hunters the best hunting dog...
I'd say impossible to take a breed as a whole, more likely there are large differences from one individual to the next. And sense smell is defintely a learning thing also...

Of course if you ask me, the Irish are the best BY FAR!!!!!!
Well i thought more from personal experience’s view.
But if you want to be precise, I think I remember reading some article about number of receptor cells in a dog’s nose (I think that’s how it is called if I remember right). Those are the cells in a nose through which dog is “sensing smell” (sorry don’t know how to say that different). And according to that number, by far the best snifters are Labradors, second I think German Shepard, etc, but no Irish Setter on the list though.

…it’s just that I so often hear from our hunters here that Irish setter is just a show dog and not worth bothering. (German shorthaired pointers are very popular among hunters here)
And to tell you the truth I’m sick of listening that anymore. Of course none of them didn’t try to train setter ever, rather it is something that is circling around.

But hey… I was wondering what would be the best way for me to become disgustingly rich, and your idea is just perfect. You’ll see, one day you will be sorry why you didn’t cash in that test ;)

Hey Dusan - I get 10% !!!

Of course you are right, I remember reading about that test. I seem to remember Bloodhounds got a really high count... but our setters would beat them all;-))) that is why they did not include them in the test.

It is a pity most hunters stick to the breed they know and don't give others a chance. But of course it depends very much on the type of hunting you have. Usually the continental pointing breeds don't range as far as our setters do.

But back to nose: even with a maximum count of those smell receptors the dog still has to learn to use them...




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