Grouse were really down again in Pennsylvania and getting bird contacts for my young dogs on wild birds was tougher than ever. (Next fall I hope to find a cabin to rent up in Michigan or Wisconsin if the birds are good there. Anyone willing to recommend a small cabin please contact me at LCS.)
This year I’ve been buying 2 dozen quail every couple weeks. It’s really easy to pick them up at the post office and much less than preserve prices around here of about $14 a bird. 24 quail shipped by U.S. Postal mail costs me about $135, including $4.50 for the required cardboard bird shipping box. That works out to $5 per bird and the option to train on your schedule
Quail are the easiest bird to acquire and use for pointing dogs. Pheasant run too much and cost too much and can’t be shipped.I keep mine in my LCS Johnny house that we sell plans for. A large LCS bird carry cage with our gravity feeder and waterer can house them for about a week. Feed regular quail food not scratch or birdseed. Use them in a week or they won’t fly as well.
I plant 1 or 2 birds for each dog and only shoot them if they are steady to flush. Always let the dogs drag a stiff check cord. Leave the ecollars out for now. (Don’t shock young dogs around birds unless they have gone they the entire collar conditioning process.) That way you can step on the check cord and stop them from creeping and flushing. Don’t say anything.
Don’t overdo it either, birds are like candy! A piece or 2 is great, more looses interest. If you get a good point and kill stop there. Next dog. Set them up to succeed. Quality not quantity on young dogs. Always trying to end on a good note is the key to a happy eager hunting companion… and hunter.
Cheers… Mr Buck