I have only hunted once on a game farm, and frankly I didn't think it was worth the money. I'd rather be skunked with money in my pocket than skunked and broke. Instead I'll opt to spend a little cash on a drive a little farther from home to where the birds are, than to go to a game farm. So do you hunt primarily on or off game farms, or both? why do you choose one over the other?
My buddy's farm, as well as state game lands - I guess that's the wilds; or as wild as the outdoors get here in W. Pa. I agree, Trois_Beaux_Canards - why spend the extra dough? Besides, I couldn't afford to hunt a game farm, anyhow. Additionally, getting skunked on a hunt has become a way of life for me; especially on turkey hunts. Seems that the biggest turkey around here in W.Pa. is the one who typed this post.
I think game farms are a great training tool for dogs. I think the best way to finish dogs is on wild birds, but as far as guaranteeing bird contacts, you can't beat them. I have gone to two of them in Missouri. One is about as close as you can get to real hunting, and the other I took my dog to when I wanted to get her on birds for the training experience. If I didn't train my own dogs, I would probably never go to them, but that is why I do go. The prices are unbelievable too, but training birds aren't cheap either. It only costs me 2 more dollars to have someone else plant all my birds and not have my scent around the birds that are planted. Wild hunting is still the best though, there is nothing like a covey of 15 or so quail busting in your face.
Here in california sometimes it's hard to find good public land or land that you can get the rights to hunt. So for the last couple of years i have been going to a place where they plant the birds. I call this chicken hunting. But i wanted my young dog to get the idea of what upland hunting was like, because we mostly only hunt waterfowl. But after the last time we went, must have been in first part of feb. , i think it was my last. We had about 20 some birds planted (costs us an arm and two legs) my 2yr old lab caught 8 chucker before we could get a shot off. Their feathers were so wet they couldn't fly, the don't have feathers like wild game. Not only was it not fun, now my dog thinks he is doing a good job by snachin a bird out of the air and bringing it back to me. Probably done with the chicken huntin.
You have to be careful about hunting dogs too much on chicken farms, if they plant the birds in the same spots your dog will learn to just run to the spot instead of finding the bird. I have seen a couple pointers ruined from this...
Your right ram, I've seen guys with the old fat dogs, the dogs are smart, they know that if they follow the buggy tracks in the grass, they will find a bird sooner or later. and the hunters just smile like mann do i have a great dog. I grew up in southwest kansas, so i know what upland huntin is all about, its not a "farm".
Also i don't think that the farm birds have the same smell. I worry that my dog will just get stuck on that fake smell. Anyways i'm done with the chickens. cost too much for too little. But it's always good to let the dog work.
I am planning a kansas pheasant and duck hunt later this year. If everything goes right i can squeak out two weeks back there. Show the old pup what cold is. Probably won't even get out of the truck.
I would love to take my chessie to kansas or somewhere on a pheasant hunt. I can usually hear him chasing up pheasants while I am setting decoys in the morning. My female was flushing quail at 14 weeks pretty good, she hasn't been on a quail hunt since! I didn't hunt upland at all last year. Damn greenheads are addicting. My dog loves to hunt upland though, He thinks he is part springer or something. (might be, he did come from the humane society!)
I do hunt farms occasionally. In MN all of our seasons are crammed into just a few months and farm nirds offer an opporutnity to hunt when all other hunting seasons are closed. For me, upland birds (except turkeys) are great eating but probably wouldn't do it as often if it was not for the dog work. That is what makes upland game hunting special is watching great dog work. There are farms out ther that do not plant birds at all. They every so often release a bunch of birds into the fields. These birds are a little more willey than those taken out fo pens and planted. There is still no doubt that wild birds are harder to hit than farm birds but again, it is still about the dog work.
brett, while reading your post, i remembered the first time i went chicken hunting. Me and my buddy are waiting by our assigned field just before our shoot time 8 a.m., and i see one of the guys planting the birds, he had the pheasant by the feet spinning it in circles. I asked my friend what the hell he was doing, and he said "Oh, he's making it dizzy so that it doesn't wander off to far>" I about packed up and went home. I would love to find a farm that didn't plant birds.
Ace, you're right. It would be nice if they could just turn about a thousand birds loose at the begining of there season. Then the birds would be in natural cover when you came and actually "hunted" them. When I said that I train my dog on them sometimes. I didn't start going to them, until she was steady to flush. I haven't seen good enough flyers at the farms to bring a flushing dog.
You have to look around but they are out there. They do exactly what gsp had mentioned. When the flush counts start dropping they add another 1000 or so to the fields. There is no scratch hunting as all birds are not dizzied up and planted. They become better fliers as they still have to survive natural predation as well.
I do both Where I live hunting land is hard to find close by (major metro area). The place I take my labs has great fields & the cost is not outrageous I would like to upland only wild & do for a week-10 days every year But the put & take places help me keep my dogs sharp Just my$.02 :salude:
gotta agree with the "chicken hunting". i know alot of game farms don't really offer much in the way of "sport".
however, i do know of one that offers you a very real hunting experience. the birds are placed out well ahead of time and tend to start to move around on their own after a short time. there are wild birds that share the same land and the area is a fairly large and open space with lots of cover and good escape routes. the birds usually flush hard and are willing to run from hunters making too much noise.
it still isn't the same as wild birds, but dang close.
I know this post is kind of late from when it started, but being from South Dakota and pheasants are kings. What my family does every year is the best of both worlds. We raise anywhere from 500 to a 1000 pheasants untill they are old enough to fly and when that happens we open the pen gates and let them go. The reason behind this is, to protect the wild birds from being eaten by preditors and it also boost the pheasant population. And by the time opener rolls around, you really can't tell the differnce between the ones we raised and the wild ones. It also helps with the following year with more cabale breeders.
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