I train bird dogs. READ THIS if you don’t want to Train In Vain.
The Flight Pen
These are my chukars and this is my flight pen. The first thing visitors ask when they see my pen is “what are they?” and, “what do you do with them?”. Well, the birds are for dog training (shooting) and the bonus is that they are great eating. No, they don’t taste like chicken.
It is roughly 30′ long and 8′ wide built of a free-standing design. Chukars themselves don’t really weigh anything so the pen basically only has to support its own weight and the weight of the person that needs to climb inside and capture the birds. It will easily carry 100 adult chukar… possibly more. I built this pen using modular panels constructed of 2×4 treated lumber ripped in half to 1.5″ and covered with galvanized hardware cloth and the panels are bolted together with carriage bolts to form the platform. The side panels are also 1.5″stock but they are covered with galvanized chicken wire. The canopy is simply 1/2″ PVC hoops covered with 1″ aviary netting. There is a roofed-in feeding shelter at the far end that houses a range feeder and a bell waterer.
Pen amenities include several “activity centers” made out of congregated plastic pipe and cheap plastic trash cans cut down the center lengthwise.
Why chukars are the best bird for training pointing dogs
Over the years I’ve raised quail, chukar, and pheasant and so far, I’ve found that chukar are the best compromise. Quail are neat little birds but they are frail and die easy. Pheasants are big and beautiful and yield more table fare but they are costly and they require a lot of space and a lot of feed. Chukars are hearty birds. A bonus is that they lay beautiful speckled eggs that make super cool Easter eggs when colored. I buy my chukars in early July as 6 week old started birds from Mahantango Game Farms. The guys there are knowledgeable and always willing to share info and they raise healthy birds. At 16 weeks of age, the chukars are physically mature and ready for training/hunting.
A Few Things
When training with chukars, there are a few things I try to never forget. This post contains some links to products on Amazon that I use and recommend. If you are interested in these products, by clicking on the link you will help support Yankee Hunter 😉 . (After viewing my affiliate links you have 24 hours to make a purchase, if you so desire. After 24 hours my sales credit will expire.)
- LaCrosse Alpha boots– I can’t say enough about these boots. I have different types of boots for different activities but I never plant birds without my LaCrosse Alphas. I can walk for miles in these boots and they keep my training area free of human scent and prevent the dog from simply backtracking the trainer’s scent to the planted birds. The LaCrosse company makes the best rubber boots.
- Rubber Gloves– These gauntlet-style Gut Gloves brand gloves are comfortable and allow ample dexterity. They keep bird scent off of me and my scent away from the training area. This is a factor that should not be overlooked. It’s commonly heard that a trainer should wear gloves to “keep the human scent off the training birds”, but I never subscribed to that. The reason I wear gloves is to keep the bird scent off of me! They also keep the vicinity of the planted bird free of my scent. These gauntlet gloves extend up to your armpits and do just that. Dogs quickly wise to the planted bird game and can eventually lose intensity when they associate bird odor with the trainer and the trainer’s scent around the planted bird.
- Bird Traps– These “bird traps” work perfect for the type of training I do. They’re a lot less expensive than electronic launchers and keep the bird where you want it to be without having to dizzy the bird.
- Check Cord – I get all of my check cords, dog collars and supplies from my friend Bob Warner of Warner’s Sporting in Carlisle Pennsylvania. Bob has been in the in the bird and bird dog business for many years and partners with Dick Weaver to raise and breed Ryman-type, Dark Hollow Setters. Bob used to raise the best training birds available but now he focuses on his dog supply business. Click the link to view Bob’s products: Warner’s Sporting
- SportDog 1875 Upland Training Collar– This is my favorite e-collar for training and hunting. Click here to READ MY REVIEW.