do you think this bird was dead
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Author:  gunner76 [ Sat Nov 21, 2020 7:26 pm ]
Post subject:  do you think this bird was dead

Lost a pheasant today I could've swore was dead. When I hit him all bodily function stopped, wings and legs tucked up tight against body and he looked like a football flying through the air until he slammed into the ground. When he hit there was no secondary bounce or rustling grass, everything was dead calm.
I ran over to the spot and could not find him and spent the next hour going back and forth over the area with no luck. Do you think he was dead and I just walked by him(numerous times)or maybe he ran off?

I'm starting to think that I should just not even waste my time going out until it snows since I don't have a dog.

Author:  Multiflora [ Sat Nov 21, 2020 7:51 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: do you think this bird was dead


Going to the "spot" is not always accurate....we more often estimate short rather than long in many covers.
And, pheasants scamper despite apparent bodily function cessation.

Dogless is ok, just runs a different set of requirements.
Still, tough to best a dog as a buddy.

Author:  Tidefanatic [ Sat Nov 21, 2020 9:16 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: do you think this bird was dead

From your description, sure sounds dead in the air to me. If I were to wager, I`d bet that somehow you just missed him in your search. In certain types of cover, while we all should strive for a clean kill, for recovery it`s sometimes better if they move. Dogs are so valuable in just about all types of upland hunting.

Author:  chucka [ Sun Nov 22, 2020 9:30 am ]
Post subject:  Re: do you think this bird was dead

I don’t think that is all that unusual with pheasants. I have had them fall like a rock and never find them even with a good dog. That is disgusting. Pheasants are a tough bird and they are escape artist as well as experts at hiding. That is why I use enough gun and practice on clays.

Anyone that has hunted them much has had some strange experiences with them. One time I put one that was stone dead in my son’s vest later it got out and flew off.

Every season I find dead pheasants that got away from someone. When my dog was young I shot at a pheasant, and plainly missed it, and watched it fly out of sight. The dog had a lot of confidence in my shooting, and took off to retrieve when I shot. She came back with a cold, dead, stiff pheasant that someone had shot and lost. I didn’t have the heart to drop it as she was so proud of her recovery. I carried it for awhile and discarded it when she was distracted.

Hunt on. Don’t be discouraged. A dog is a great partner, but not an absolute necessity. There have been times when I couldn’t have one, but that didn’t keep me from hunting.

“If you pick up a starving dog and make him prosperous , he will not bite you. This is the principal difference between a dog and a man.”— M.T.

Author:  df [ Sat Nov 28, 2020 9:24 am ]
Post subject:  Re: do you think this bird was dead

Been there and done that, with and without dogs. They are tough birds. My “guess” is it was not dead and ran off and hid.

Author:  geometric [ Sat Nov 28, 2020 3:25 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: do you think this bird was dead

"Was this bird dead?" I don't know, but I do know a third possibility that might explain what happened to it. I have had game, including pheasant, stolen from me by predictors. I have seen otters take ducks shot by hunters, including me & they were suspect in the disappearance of a number of pheasant I shot. More recently, I had game disappear mysteriously. It was obviously being taken by a predator. I am not sure what it was to this day but I suspect it was a armadillo, aka: a hard shell possum. If I shot a squirrel & didn't retrieve it immediately, it would be gone when I went to get it. I would shoot a crow & see it fall dead & when I went to get it, it would be gone. A friend was watching me shoot crows. I made a particularly long shot & my friend (who wasn't shooting) walked over & kicked it! It was "grave yard dead". We walked over to where it fell a couple minutes later & it was gone! Believe me, it didn't leave under it's own power! All this happened in an area of about an acre!

Author:  Pine Creek/Dave [ Sun Nov 29, 2020 11:02 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: do you think this bird was dead


Hard to tell what actually happened, I have seen Pheasants hit real hard and still get up and run,
a predator might have gotten it also you never really know without a good dog to trail the hit bird scent.

Pine Creek/Dave
L.C. Smith Man

Author:  twistedoak [ Mon Nov 30, 2020 6:07 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: do you think this bird was dead

the one thing i've noticed
even with a dog ...
the bird isn't very often in the place where you think it is after it went down.
kinda like archery hunting it can be good to mark where you were when you shot ,
and also where you think it hit the ground.
but who knows??
i've had them drop like rocks , only to watch my dog take off chasing them across the field.
ive also thought i flat out missed ,then witness the furiously flapping bird drop 100yds out

Author:  33logguy [ Mon Nov 30, 2020 6:35 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: do you think this bird was dead

My Britt caught 3 of those, at the put & take yesterday

all " looked " Doa

I never take a bird for granted until he is in the game pouch

Author:  geometric [ Mon Nov 30, 2020 7:21 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: do you think this bird was dead

Yes, there are a number of possibilities. I never saw a pheasant do it, but I have seen rails on many occasions, drop straight down when shot comes close and not necessarily actually hitting the bird. The bird appears to be dead but dives when it hits the water. Pheasants are tough & I have seen them get back up & start running again many times but never after seeing them hit like the OP describes. It is certainly possible but I think it is the exception to the rule.

Author:  Oldfarmer [ Sun Dec 06, 2020 2:55 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: do you think this bird was dead

Pheasant hunting is a game best undertaken with a 4 legged partner. Still a bird will be lost on occasion, but you and your dog will have fun.

Author:  Pine Creek/Dave [ Mon Dec 07, 2020 12:34 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: do you think this bird was dead


I agree 100%!

Pine Creek/Dave
L.C. Smith Man

Author:  John H [ Mon Dec 07, 2020 1:10 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: do you think this bird was dead

We had a goose and a duck hit the ground like a sack of potatoes within 15 yards of our blind Saturday that we never found. 3 hunters and 3 dogs.

Its frustrating, but it happens.

Several years ago a friend of mine, his dog and myself were pheasant hunting. Knocked a rooster down that fell into a patch of sagebrush about 10 feet across, and nothing of note within several yards of it. Spent 1/2 hour with the 2 of us and the dog searching that little scrub of sagebrush. Nothing.

Author:  Pine Creek/Dave [ Wed Dec 09, 2020 5:43 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: do you think this bird was dead

John H,

This all depends on the dog and the experience the dog has at tracking winged birds. I have some very good Gordon dogs that tracked pretty well, however they were no match for my Small Munsterlander Versatile dog, when tracking anything that had been hit. I had a few friends who would on occasion have problems coming up with birds that they thought should have been retrieved by their Setter dogs. More than once we took my big SM male dog out the next day and recovered their still alive winged birds.
I did find out thru experience that the harder the birds were hit, the easier it was for Sampson my SM to track and find the birds. Sometimes birds look to be hit pretty hard, unfortunately no vitals were actually hit, and the bird runs and finds a hole to disappear into. This happens more with Grouse than with Pheasants, it's important to let your dog start to retrieve on gun fire in the Grouse woods, because of this exact scenario.
With Quail a dog can be steady to wing and shot, most times you can get away with this disciple even hunting Pheasants. When Grouse hunting the dog needs all the advantage it can get, a winged Grouse will usually head for a hole or up under a creek bank as fast as it can. Many actually go back up into the trees if they are able to fly for a short distance, and the dog never has a chance to retrieve them. Others are easy running retrieves. The more experience the dog has the better tracker/retriever it becomes.

Pine Creek/Dave
Pine Creek Grouse Dog Trainers

Pine Creek Sampson our incredible SM - with his true Double Grouse, taken with a 1913, 16 Gauge L.C. Smith Hammer Gun, both birds retrieved to hand.


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