An unlikely bird dog...


Idiot Savant
As I may have mentioned I have always hunted forest grouse primarily, alone and dogless. We have a dog, but she is not a bird dog, just a loving family member. She's smart, sometimes too smart for her own good. She loves to retrieve and if I hunted tennis balls she'd be the best hunting dog one could hope for.

Last week my wife and I went to our "cabin" to spend some time alone, celebrate turning 55, and hunt some grouse. However the "orange bloom" has hit with deer season opening and the trailhead to my usual coverts looked like a KOA campground. Since the deer hunters were going uphill, I decided to head downhill. I headed for the lowland and some valley quail. But wait, I don't have a gundog. Hmmm...

So, just for grins I decided to bring Sasha along. She really doesn't have much of a nose for birds, but then she just might do some thing right, who knows. She knows "whoa" and if she's not in full chase mode on a furry creature she listens.

We geared up with plenty of water as the Okanogan is still fairly warm this year. Several hundred yards into the cover and I spot a section of heavy brush and a maple poking out of the middle. I suspect pheasant instead of quail and wait at the edges as Sasha heads into it. Cackle, cackle, cackle and three roosters emerge overhead, a clear shot at all, but the season doesn't open until the 20th. Sasha repeats a carbon copy move on the next brushy cover with the same results. Next saturday is going to be interesting when we return.

Finally we find some likely cover for quail and sure enough as she busts into it a covey of 10 or so erupt from the cover. The 28ga full of Bismuth 7 1/2's drop two like rocks. Here's where it seemed to unravel. Remember I said Sasha doesn't have a nose for birds...? She has no concept of finding dead or wounded birds either. Some 20 minutes later I had found one but the second seemed to have evaporated into thin air.

Some elements of the game were registering with Sasha, but there's an awful lot she doesn't get. When all was said and done though we had a great time hunting and did bring home at least one bird. It will go on the grill with it's bigger cousins that I managed to bring home the day before.

So with no further fanfare, meet Sasha...



Active Member
Roper thats awesome! Kinda like "Green Acres"...except you replaced Zsa Zsa with Sasha!

One of these days I'll convince my "Urban Wife" to head east...until then I'll make due by reading your posts and pics of bird hunting.

BTW - I did manage to talk my wife into letting me buy a new 16 ga. o/u...can't wait...although I feel like I've created "gun adultry"....probably won't be taking the Sportsman '48 16 ga. out much.

Thanks for sharing!

She's great! There are standard poodles that are passing master level hunter tests along side labs, chessies and goldens.

Some dogs are really bad about hunting for dead birds (has nothing to do with their nose). My first dog didn't care for dead birds and it took years for me to get her to look for them. With live birds and tracking cripples she was a pro...but she didn't want anything to do with a dead bird. It was all my fault- If I had done more bird work with her as a puppy, I'm sure she wouldn't have had an issue with them.

Anyway, the way I trained her was by hiding dead birds in grassy field. I start out with her watching me throw the mark and commanding "dead bird" and she would go hunt for it in moderate cover. Eventually, I would put the birds out without her watching. The command stuck and eventaully she turned her nose on to it.
Roper, good bird dog in that poodle.
Try a grouse wing on a line and rod and play the game of chase the wing around, also like our friend above said play find the dead bird, (I just use wings rubber banded to a tennis ball).
Ya had a gun dog and didn't know it