Grouse-barking

edited July 2014 in Hunting & Working
Finally got this dog to bark for longer.

Skip to video and 0:23 second if one just want to see the action without reading the backstory.

Eirik told me to shoot a squirrel for him when he was 12 weeks old. Couldn't because squirrels are trapper's rights, and I don't have an (expensive) trapline or trapping licence. For awhile, he went mute and only barked at big-game animals like deer, moose, big-horn sheep. Then he got into the habit of killing foxes and coyotes.

He would still tree squirrels or birds without barking at them. Vladimir Beregovoy said not to worry because many East Siberians don't want their dogs to bark at game unless it's sable or moose. He stated only sport-hunters want their dogs to bark at lesser-valued games such as grouse and squirrels. So, many Siberians would follow their dogs' tracks in the snow to shoot squirrels and birds to procure food and pelt; and he wondered since his father is from Siberia from commercial-hunting lines, if those characteristics are inherited.

So, I began using the GPS to my advantage to find out which tree he finds. Waited. Nope, he didn't bark. He treed, but no barking. So, the chairman of the West Siberiian Laika branch of the Finnish Laika Club told me to shoot the damn birds anyway. He said it's normal and his best hunting dog wouldn't bark either until the first game was shot for it. After his first shot bird, Pavel barked once or twice. Gradually, the bark lengthened to about half-minute. By then, the season went to crap after losing some of my stuff in a moose-attack which after Pavel saved my ass and barked at for a long while.

For awhile, my girlfriend thought Pavel would never bark since she never saw him bark at small-game animals; only at big-game animals. She knew he readily tree. However, on the road-trip in Yukon, she got to see her first Ruffed Grouse in real life and Pavel in action.



I know some would ask why he wasn't let go, but legally dogs are not allowed to chase game outside of hunting season. Also, I don't know the locals, and I don't know their attitudes toward hunting dogs out of season 1 700 km from home if they are the type who ignore the laws.

Quite proud of him now. Can't wait to see his potential this hunting season. :) I would like to see him bark like a champion this year or next year. I know he got the bear-thing down already.

Comments

  • Good job Dave
  • edited July 2014
    Excellent Dave, but Pavel is WSL... I don't think he is infuenced by anything from commercial hunting in East Siberia.

    The barking at small game in trees should come natural for all young WSL's and especially those after commerial hunting lines in West Siberia. All though some individuals are much later than others, there should be a well developed interest for this.
    My experience is that they usually start up treeing small game, then they will go for big game as they mature. Some never look back and continue doing this if big game is shot for them, while others will continue treeing as well as hunt big game.

    That is why I tell people to wait with the big game untill the dog show good treeing skills just to be on the safe side. This may take some time, but the reward is great. The dog will be a good allround hunting dog.

    Belyj and Aza are both after commercial hunting lines in Siberia. In both there is a mother or father coming from Yamal. From what I have understood, the best treeing WSL's in Russia come from Yamal, and therfor we will focus on getting dogs from that specific area in future imports.
    Ok, Irtysh is of Moscow lines and Tyumen lines in Siberia, but still he's nuts for birds and I will for sure continue to feed that interest by shooting what he is treeing. Again, no moose hunting for him either.
    In both Belyj and Aza I see the same thing, and that is a huge interest for anything that goes on up in the trees. Aza is like a Finnish Spitz, and I can compare her to the FS' I have had before. She's nothing like any of the previous Laikas I have had. WSL, ESL or REL.

    I really hope you get to shoot a few grouse for him Dave. This can even give you an opportunity to bring him to Finland and get a diploma on bird trial :)


  • edited July 2014
    Thanks, Darren and Eirik. :)

    My biggest fault is not hunting with him earlier when he was still interested in small-game as a puppy. As soon he discovered what deer were, it was all over for his treeing ability. Had to start from square one.

    This is pretty much the area Laika experts should be consulted, not just Finnish Spitz experts. Better to hunt earlier than later.

    I will have to ask Vladimir or Gary whereabout in Siberia Kazyr (Pavel's father) comes from. It would be interesting to find out.
  • If he's VRKOS registered, we can find out.
    Send me the information you have on him, and we will see what we can come up with :)

    You are not the first one to make that mistake Dave, but what's important is that you now have valuable knowledge before obtaining another dog :)

    It's understandable that a growing Laika will switch to big game when small game is not shot for them. Big game is easy to find and easy to follow.
    A Laika does not loose a moose trying to escape, it stop following or continue following, all depending on what kind of feedback it has got from it's owner for this.

    Shooting is the best feedback one can give the dog.

    Therefor...a puppy must be taken into the forest already at 8 weeks, and bringing a gun is always good.
    I remember going a long With a guy that bought a puppy from my second litter, and his female pup, 15 weeks at the time. Bring the gun I told him, but no...she's so young and nothing will happen.
    Guess what dog found a grouse and started barking at it... :/

    A good thing is that this happened again a week later as well, and then he had a gun :)
    She turned out to be damn good at birds and marten, and she did well With moose as well. He started out the right way by hunting small game and then continued to big game when she was good at treeing small game.
  • I believe exactly what you say WSL. I did not switch mine to even raccoon until they hunted squirrel for the first year.
  • Pavel is a fine looking dog. I have his full sister I do believe. Good cross I wouldn't take nothing for Kida I have owned a lot of hunting dogs in fact still run beagles but she has been more enjoyable to handle than any.
  • This is a very good Laika. I have never shot a grouse for my Laikas, but they treed them several times on my property. These dogs "somehow know" what may game may have some value. They would not tree a woodpecker, but notice a grouse quickly, as well as wild turkey. I have a friend in Rochester, Minnesota. He bought a male Laika from Moscow lines. With my instructions he choose a treeing line puppy and named him Ben. By the way, ben have never been bred and I highly recommend him as a sire to those who lives closer to him. Laika is an opportunistic hunting dog for a native hunter, who lives off land. Well, master of Ben was not a hunter, but Ben made him a hunter! Ben tried to tree squirrels and raccoons, but his owner never shot any. Ben drove a whitetail, silently, right on his owner, no shooting. Finally, Ben flashed geese so they would fly right over head of his owner. It worked. Bingo, this made his master a hunter. This is a true story, his owner (Lev Dyadkin) shared with me. Now, it is published here: http://www.huntinglaika.com/

    Ben is one of those Laikas, which will be remembered for entire lifetime.

    My first in my life Laika named Aliska was one my best dogs ever.
  • edited September 2014
    Well,

    Friday was a crap-shoot. Environment Canada issued a 90km/h wind warning for my area.

    Thought it was weird when I drove out this morning, there was wicked weather which came in 15 minutes after leaving the truck. There were lots of birds out, but then all the sudden they disappeared. In the morning, it was forecasted to be cloudy, but mild.

    Decided to walk around for 3 hours despite the horrid weather condition. Nope. Pavel wasn't interested in hunting at all. No moose. NOTHING. Finally came back to town, and saw a storm warning was issued and it's suppose to persist for the next 15 hours. :(

    I feel sorry for the poor blokes who decided to go deer-hunting after work.

    Anyway, happened to be talking to Rebecca this morning about hunting grouses in the Kootenays in the Elk Valley. We share the same experience: the only way to find grouse is to do some bushwhacking. Visibility in her area is so low, she can't see her female Norrbottenspitz beyond 20 meters. Luckily, it's not that bad up here. I can see up to about 100 meters or so.

    image
  • Dave,

    If possible buy one of the Garmin tracking systems that show the range of the dog and if the dog is treed. You might find knowing the distance as you approach the game to be very helpful.
  • edited September 2014
    I did end up buying a Garmin Astro 320 Nordic model two years ago. According the local radio club in my town, the frequencies for that model are legal to use in Canada.

    Have to do the firmware updates in Finland though, since Garmin figured out how to brick the ones illegally imported from America. MURS haven't been approved by Industry Canada yet. I don't know if Garmin would render the Nordic ones useless, but don't want to take chances.
  • edited September 2014
    image
    Grouse hunting is diffecult for the dogs.
    Took a snapshot from a video where Belyj and Ice had noticed something up in the trees. Belyj barked a little, but Ice need to see it before he start up, but he was running around smelling and listening.
    In the end I kicked the trunk of the tree Belyj was most interested in (thought it was a squirrel), and what do you know... A huge male capercallie flew out of a tree 20 meter behid me.
    Oh well... hunting is not supposed to be easy. That would take all the fun out of it :)
  • Had my young dog flush 2 partridge for me yesterday. Only wish I was carrying a shotgun instead of my 22. 1st time she's seen a game bird. She wasn't ready for it to fly, neither was I. Maybe next time I'll be ready or the birds will be perched up in a tree...
    She is doing really good on squirrels. I didn't get her hunted up good last season (her 1st season) because of all the snow we had.
  • Dirtdodge,

    It is up to you but one thing I did to get the dogs to bark birds I bought some pen raised chuckers and kicked them up with the help of the dog. I made sure the bird had to land in a tree by where I placed them. It did get the dog flushing and then treeing them this way. With Ivan I used a pigeon with a string and cardboard tied to the birds leg. When I tossed the pigeon up after teasing him with it, the bird could only fly so far because of the cardboard tied on his leg with a string. I would not recommend chuckers they are slow and laikas can catch them. Pheasants might be better and that last time I was working one of my jagdterriers on birds I used quail and some of those landed in trees. Recently westsiberianlaika started one of his dogs by putting the pheasant in a building (there is a video). I liked that idea a lot and plan on using it with the pups I am training. The reason I liked it so much is a bird flapping around would more likely help a young dog tree harder because he can see the bird moving. Do this only if you want the dog to tree birds. Last year I ended up with bonus pheasant because Ivan treed them. It was a nice surprise.
  • Thanks! My old female has treed partridge and even barked on the ground at them. Most of the time I'm not ready for it to be a bird. I might buy some pheasants and try her on them. Our bird population isn't the best but enough you can make a meal out of.

    I did see that video and is an excellent way to train a pup.
  • I am guess where you guys live, it's illegal to use a rifle on a bird? I read many of the eastern states banned it.

    Legal almost everywhere here in the West. Some like Washington have a restriction on what calibre you can use though (rimfire-only).
  • edited October 2014
    I'll have to look into that Dave. I've used rimfire most of the time while hunting with the dogs. When treed start with the bottom bird and shoot your way up at them. I'll carry a 20 g shotgun, If I'm with someone who has the 22. Unless treed I'm not usually ready for a bird to flush. Gun slinged on my shoulder still... Sometimes they flush to a tree in sight of me and I'll get them. I'm usually squirrel hunting when the opportunity arrives.

    I never practiced with the dogs on birds. Some of my dogs have treed them naturally on their own. Keeping the dog close while hunting will be the hardest part for flushing birds. Treeing them seems to be easy if you show them that's something to hunt for.
  • You are right about not being ready the first pheasant I was not ready. After that when I was walking in I took a look before busting in there like I do with squirrels. I can't hunt turkeys with a dog but every time Ivan trees one I forget his treeing style and usually almost pee myself when the turkeys fly. He trees them a lot easier than squirrels.
  • edited October 2014
    Well.

    Today was interesting.

    Pavel treed the same hawk three times in two hours.

    First time he treed it, he barked at it for 7 minutes before it dropped this:

    image

    Second time, it flew.

    Third time, he treed it for a good 15 minutes.

    At least I got to practice my stalk-- moving only when the dog is barking, then freezing when it's quiet.

    It was weird to keep going to different areas, and it happen to be the same damn bird over and over again.
  • edited December 2014
    Found one of these on clearance yesterday for $18. Not sure if Optifade Open Country is ideal seeing how western turkey-hunters prefer ASAT or Predator patterns. We will have to see how the birds respond to it next season.

    image

    Sitka Gear is maddingly expensive for what they are compared to other similar backcountry hunting brands. At least First Lite and Kryptek are priced more similarly to hiking brands.

    Oh well, I have to start preparing for elk season anyway. Looking for a good external frame which isn't hell on my lumbar.
  • edited December 2014
    We slew a few birds this season-- not bad considering they usually come out only during the first two hours of sunlight and last two hours of sunlight, and I failed to book time off from work.

    Photos from last hunting season:

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    image

    I don't take photos very often; and about 95% of the time, it's a relative who remembers to take them.
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