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That largely depends upon the terrain you are hunting and the density of birds in the area. That being said, before me or any of my hunting friends had any disposable income (or discipline) to buy and train dogs, walking up birds was or primary means of shooting them.
 

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Michael, not a waste at all.
Like rpm, I too had to pheasant hunt in the old days without a dog. The key is to kick the smaller cover, work it slowly, zig zag as you walk, stopping occasionally, hunt all the way to the end of the cover. As you gain experience and start flushing some birds you will learn what type of cover is more productive than others and how to work those areas.

In this late season you can hunt a lot quieter than many guys with dogs because many of them are always having to yell at their dogs. Quiet hunting often means close flushes.

Good hunting!
Wayne
 

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we hunted in central SD 2 weeks ago and we didnt have a dog for the most part a golden that did our retrives and we didnt need a pointer at all, and we had our limits every dayit was easy where we were. The rabbits were as big as my dogs back home and we could have shot them all day also. but alot depends on the cover also late in the season some places dont leave much cover and the birds spook easier also and the grouse coud see you coming a mile away but still walked up a few in some ditches. You dont have to have a dog but its a treat to watch a good dog work.
 

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I agree with Riley. It can be done, but it is far more enjoyable with a good dog. To be honest, if I didn't have a dog, I probably wouldn't hunt upland or waterfowl. They are my true enjoyment. The teamwork between hunter and dog is awesome.
 

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Have only used dogs a couple of times at my uncle's place in Kentucky. Have not hunted with dogs in over 40 yrs in Illinois and have done alright, even limited out a few times. I've even done better than some friends who did use dogs.
 

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Hi, Slick13...DwayneDW gave you some good pointers. That bit about stopping from time-to-time is more important that many hunters think. Pheasants can be tricky...flushing wild one minute and sitting very tight the next. When hunting without a dog, you'll walk right by those that are sitting tight. If you stop and wait a bit (and that sort of depends, but a minute or two, usually) the birds will get nervous. That's when they'll take to the air and give you a shot.

The other good tip is to hunt all the way to the end of the cover. Again, pheasants will run ahead of you as long as there is cover (and you'll be surprised at how little cover they need to stay hidden! At the end of it, though, they'll flush. If you give up 10 or 15 or 20 yards from the "end" because you haven't seen anything, you could well be stopping just short of the good shooting. Again...at the very end, take your time and wait 'em out. (That's good advice even if you have a dog!)

Finally...if you have a hunting partner, together you'll cover more than twice the territory. I often hunt alone (no friends, I guess... :lol: ) but I've got dogs. Without a dog, though, you will see more birds if there's another pair of feet on the ground.

Watch where you shoot the bird, too. If the bird is flying over heavy cover, you'll have a harder time finding it, even if you dropped it dead. If you can see that it's flight path will take it over more open land, that's where you'll want to drop it if possible. There's nothing I find more frustrating than to work hard for a pheasant, outsmart it, then screw things up at the very end by dropping the bird in head-high cattails or other heavy cover, where even a dog will have some trouble finding it dead. (And if it's only wounded...good luck ever finding it!)

If you have a bit of snow on the ground, that helps, too. You can see tracks and that helps keep you motivated.

good luck and good hunting
hunter20ga
 

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hunter20; where are you in NoDak?
I'm heading there this long weekend for some late season pheasants. My buddy has some farmer contacts in SE North Dakota, around Milnor he said. It'll be my first time hunting up there and am looking forward to it.

He was there earlier in the season for ducks and says the pheasants are plentiful. What sayest thou? I'm packing my snow shoes, am I going to need them?

Wayne
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Thanks for the replies guys. So I'm not wasting my time, but it sounds like maybe I'm hunting in the wrong places and need to head someplace with heavier cover.

Michael
 

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yes you are wasting your time! Would you go to a costume party with out a costume? Would you go to a keg party without a keg? Would you go cruizing with you friends without music? Would you go duck hunting without a duck call? would you cut the lawn without doing the edges? Would you wife make a cake with out the frosting? Would you get all camoed out with mossy oak gear and hat and all and wear your sneakers? Would you go to a toga party in your jeans! If you want the full blown experience of working the doy, and the whole enchilada, get the dog involved! you can even rent a dog!
 

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The trick is to find places you can actually pich the birds to make them run out of cover thus making them flush. Big fields they will hjust run and run.

Hunted without a dog for years and could never go back if I didn't have the dogs I wouldn't hunt. But for me the dog work is far more of a reward than the shooting of the bird.
 

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If only dogs could talk. How about when they make a good point or flush and you miss. They turn around and look at you like, you friggin idiot!
 

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cascadedad said:
If only dogs could talk. How about when they make a good point or flush and you miss. They turn around and look at you like, you friggin idiot!
That would be a great thread what would your dog say if they could talk about the days hunt.
 

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That would be a great thread what would your dog say if they could talk about the days hunt.
That I would not like to hear. I'm glad that dogs (my dog especially) don't have the power of speech.

Slick13
Since you are not going to cover as much ground w/o a dog, you should study the bird habits. Zig-zaging and stopping all that that takes time; you better your chances if you can go directly to them. But like everything, it's all a crapshot. You'll find birds in the most unlikely places. I can't count how many times a bird will pop-up next to the truck that's been sitting there all day while your eating lunch. Makes for interesting curse words.

I like to listen to old-timers I meet and ask them where to hunt then do the opposite. Usually because of less hunting pressure. And if I have to be in the same field, I will walk the edges. But with a dog, even a pup, I find more birds in one day then I've found in two seasons without albeit I didn't go as much without a dog.
 

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dear mike,
DON"T YOU DARE LISTEN TO THEM FELL"Rs
no..your not wasting your time! :wink: wasting time is sittting at home cuz you don't have a dog.I'm not saying you'll do as well,but at least your out there.And if your out there you will find birds.I 've hunted without dogs and done ok.the biggest problem I had, was birds flushing so close scared the b'jesus out of me and couldn't get a shot off.
If there's birds in a field and you walk it,you'll see 'em
good luck,good huntin' Ed
 

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No you are not wasting you time. Been there done that many times. You just need to be ready beacuse don't know what is jumping or when. Also you need to make sure you mark your downed birds or you could spend a lot of time looking for birds.
 

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I wouldn't say you're wasting your time at all. This next hunting season will be my 40th. In all that time, I've owned a dog only for the past two years.

Hunting with a dog is easier in some ways, especially when it comes to retrieving injured birds. But, they can cost you a few chances, too, if they aren't disciplined enough to stay close to you. For my part, I don't try to teach my dogs to follow my every command. I worry that to do so will result in nothing more than a remote controlled bush pusher. Instead, I rely on their instincts to guide them and their intelligence to help them realize that we are more successful when we work as a team. So far that approach seems to work well.

Here's my tip for you: Equipment selection, dogs, choice of habitat, etc., etc., are all important factors. But, THE most important factor in hunting success is how much time you spend at it. As a previous sage already said, "Wasted time is that which is spent sitting at home". Every year, there's a direct correlation between my bag for the year and how many days I spent in the field - dog or no dog.

SS
 

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Any game that can be hunted with just a dog along for retrieving can be hunted without a dog, if you can retrieve the game. Doves, ducks, pheasants, rabbits, sage grouse, sharp tailed grouse, prairie chickens, squirrels, blue quail, snipe, geese can all be hunted easily without a dog. All of these will flush on their own out in front of hunters.
 

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40 years of chasing roosters. Last 6 with dogs. That would be 34 wasted years. Ate a lot of pheasant though, so definitely not a waste of time. Jack
 
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