"The excitement of seeing a bird explode out of the underbrush... the thrill of watching a well-executed retrieve... these things never change for the true hunting enthusiast."
Guess what American adult beverage company celebrated 100 years with this advertisement depicting a turkey dog hunt in the October 1955 issue of Outdoor Life?
Hint: Brewed in Milwaukee. Click on picture to find out.
|"Dogs trained for turkey hunting are probably the happiest of all canines.|
No one expects them to stay within 50 yards, hold a point until their owner strolls over or swim through icy waters to fetch ducks bobbing atop distant waves.
No, turkey dogs are expected to freely range far and wide to search for birds, gleefully bark their heads off when finding them, and not bother trying to tote a 25-pound gobbler to anyone’s waiting hand." Patrick Durkin Maribel, WI 10/21/16
"The first picture is my nephew James who I have hunted with since he was 8 or 9. He shot his first deer with me. This is his first Fall gobbler he shot right at dark, as the gobblers Maggie busted tried to get together, right before roost. It was in the National Forest in Montgomery County, VA. Maggie was proud of her part in the hunt as were we. This was her first gobbler and she was only a 1 year old!
The birds on the hay stacks - those were taken in Shenandoah County. Maggie busted a big flock in the National Forest. My friend Tom shot the first bird I called in, as Maggie sat quiet between my legs. We stayed put and I called in another bird that I missed. I'll never forget the look I got from Maggie, after all her hard work! We could hear the mother hen getting the flock back together, so I sent Maggie to bust them again. She got a second great bust. We set up again further up the mountain, towards the break site and it took a little longer this time before the birds started to talk and reassemble. I proceeded to call one back and made sure I did not miss this time. If I had I am not sure what Maggie would have done to me. At minimum bite off my shirt tail I am sure!
The last picture is my son, with his first Fall gobbler, with the help of our turkey dog Maggie! Ben is 17 now and Maggie is 5. Ben has been hunting since he was 8 and has spent his fair share chasing birds in the Fall VA mountains, but this is his first gobbler Fall or Spring, so he and I were very excited.
Maggie is also a therapist and companion for our special needs child. Due to hearing and speaking disabilities, we use hand signals. Maggie learned them too and practices strict obedience. So, when we're hunting, I can signal Maggie from across a canyon; to keep hunting and in what direction, or to come, stay or lie down. All without a training or tracking collar. This chocolate Lab is a real joy to be with all the time.
Maggie is definitely in her prime and a terror on the birds. We just need to find some people that have property and want to Fall turkey hunt, so that Maggie can hunt more!" Tom McMurray, Lorton, VA 11/28/15
Update 2/16/16 - Great time at the NWTF Nashville '16 turkey dog seminar - learned a bit more - met some great people. Most of the questions at the convention were what kind of dog hunts turkey? The seminar turned into a conversation between me and the four on stage, but mostly between Steve, JT and I, for a good 2/3 of the seminar! Even continued in the hallway afterwards - great stuff. I am guessing there were close to 200 people in the room and it seemed most were there because they knew nothing about bird doggin. Questions such as: "how do you use a dog in the spring to hunt turkey" were tendered. This led me to believe there were many that just had no idea about this sport. I answer that question based on my 30+ years of Fall turkey hunting with a dog and what I learned at the convention: Fall Turkey Hunting with a Labrador by Tom McMurray
|We used to equate the small brain size of a wild turkey to their intelligence. But recent studies say some Birds are as smart as Apes: The cognitive skills of crows, ravens and other corvids are as sophisticated as those of apes, even though they have a much smaller brain.|
|"I'm looking forward to
starting this new venture of hunting wild turkeys with my
Short-hair, Sophie and my two sons. I live in
Vermilion, approx 45 miles west of Cleveland.
However, I would be very willing to travel to work (play)
with folks who have turkey dogs." Gary Flynn - Vermilion,
(Gary spent his life with Search and Rescue dogs that meet NAPWDA standards. He was at the World Trade Center in NY with his dog in September 2001. He's jumped out of airplanes with his dogs and knows as much about training dogs as anyone. But his new puppy is for hunting turkeys. Gary shared his tips on training a pup and has put together an article on choosing a puppy for Members to read, see those and watch Sophie develop here).
| "My dog Remy
is a Brittany Spaniel. Remy is 10 months now and showing
great promise as a hunter, mainly doing upland birds this
year. Not sure if I'll have a chance to do any serious
work on turkeys. One issue we have in Ontario is the fall
season is very short and only takes in one weekend. We're
hoping it will expand soon. I'd be interested to hear from
other members who use their pointing dogs on turkey. Does
the flushing ruin their ability to hold point on other
birds like grouse or pheasant? Or can they distinguish
between birds?" Anthony 9/1/2010. "Remy's coming along
good with his bird/pointer training. Haven't had much
chance to work him on turkeys yet. The fall season in
Ontario is only 12 days which doesn't give much
opportunity and running the dogs on birds is illegal
during the closed season. We're hoping for expansion soon.
I think next spring season I'm going to take Remy along in
the blind, just to get him used to sitting quiet." A. C.
|This is "Annie," she's a
Byrne Appalachian Turkey Dog. I just picked her up
02-13-10. She will be a house dog. She's my first hunting
dog and I am excited to start working with her, and to get
her in the wood this fall. I am happy about becoming part
of the turkey dog community and have met some great people
and look forward to meeting many more, as well as many
years of hunting with Annie. Fred
Deluca - Youngstown, OH 2/24/2010
|I just got a
turkey dog pup from Mr. John Byrne. His name is 'Gage' and
he will be a house dog. I'll build a kennel for him in the
spring, but when I'm home from work and in the house he
will be too. I can't wait to get him in the woods, snow is
too deep for him now. This is my first new pup in 17 yrs.
My old dog Jack died in March '08, and I was crushed for a
while. He wasn't a turkey dog, but he was a great friend
and I still miss him. Rob
Mucinski - Limerick, PA 2/17/10
a story and pictures of fall turkey doggin' 2009 with Kip
Pangman and Charles Hartman. "The black dog is a
Flat-Coated Retriever named Marley, that some people
bought for their 7 year old son about a year ago, then
decided that it was to much to have a dog, so I adopted
her. She is 1 ½ years old and has a real good idea about
turkey hunting. She’s been in a few busts that turkeys
have been taken and she lays pretty still most times.
This was a hunt that if it was not for a dog, there would have been no turkey. As soon as I shot, the bird went down but flopped around out of sight, so I let Boykin go. She was off like a shot. I walked over and expected to see her with the bird, but neither dog nor bird were there. I waited for Kip and then we went to find the dog and the bird. We walked down through the woods a little ways and she was standing there with the bird, with her tail going 90 miles a hour.
When Boykin saw Kip's dog Bailey, she let go of the bird to give a little growl to let her know that it was not her bird, and at that time the bird took off again. But Bailey got to get in on the activities and ran and caught it and took it to him. I held Boykin back so Bailey could get a chance with a bird and see that she wants to be a turkey dog.
The hunt was not a typical break, we broke the birds up first thing going into the woods. Found spots to set up and started to call. After an hour we finally heard a cluck. It was a decent size flock, they just didn't call often. After that bird was shot, we set up again for Kip to get a bird. Again after another hour of calling, we just heard a couple clucks. A couple of birds showed up, and that was it. So you see, those who have never hunted with a dog, just because you have a dog it does not mean that it is going to be a piece of cake. But, I will say that I think it is the most enjoyable way to hunt turkey that I have ever done.
The set up was one of those that you can see good standing up, but when you sit down you lose about half the area you could see while standing. But we did not have much of a choice. The call used was Franks Cox’s trumpet, it seemed to be getting an answer when nothing else worked." Charles Stub Hartman
"Bailey took this glove from Charles’ turkey vest and vomited it up shortly after we finished dinner. It was in her stomach for 24 plus hours, so glad it came up on it's own!" Kip Pangman
got my Wire Haired Pointing Griffon named Otto from a
Virginia rescue shelter at eleven months old. He really
shines on turkeys. He doesn't bark at them, but he gets
them in the air. He's good about sitting with me when I
call the birds back. These dogs don't range too far and
check on you regularly. The older I get I like that! The
guys I hunt with really like him and ask me to bring Otto
along. He's now two years old, weighs 80 lbs. and stays in
the house with us. He's a good swimmer and will retrieve
anything you shoot. 12/26/08
First off, I want to say how much I enjoyed your book. I'm sorry the season is over now, but I take Otto with me all winter to camp and he gets a chance to track and find birds. Otto is a work in progress. He's such a good natured dog and I enjoy his company. I want him to have as much fun as I do. He digs a hole next to me and sleeps while I call. He hasn't barked at the birds yet but, I put a bell on him and he rarely goes so far I can't hear it. At that distance I can hear the turkeys when they scatter. We had alot of singles this year that ran like track stars and finally flew. Calling was tough and some even stayed in trees till we got close. Spring should be interesting. I would encourage anyone looking for a dog that may hunt turkeys to check the rescue shelters. Given the chance, these dogs may really shine. 1/17/09
I had to leave my buddy at home Saturday morning to go spring gobbler hunting. He was upset to say the least! My wife said when I pulled out of the driveway, he laid on the floor and howled. Of course, at 4:30 a.m. she was thrilled! After all that, he was still glad to see me that evening, that's more than I can say for my wife! It's good to get out but, not as much fun without Otto. 4/12/09 Never leave your door open when you're trying to sneak off. I guess this says it all - 'We Hunt Turkeys'. 4/17/2009 Good hunting. Drew Cashatt - Staunton VA
|"It's not the
breed of dog that makes a turkey dog - it's the amount
of time the owner spends with the dog." #1
|I have a 15
month German Shorthair Pointer mix that we got at the dog
pound and named Max. He's very energetic, loves to run and
interacting with me. I've taken him to several dog
training classes and we both enjoy it. He's also very
smart. I know everybody says this about their dog, but I
really believe Max is probably smarter that the average
dog. So as a result, I decided that I wanted to try and
train him to hunt with me, mainly for the fun of just
being and working together. I don't expect to have Max
hunting this spring but figured I might be able to
introduce him to it. This is with the fact in mind that
I'm totally new to this and I'm expecting many
surprises.Whatever rolls around the corner, we are going
to have fun doing it. I don't know what he is mixed with
but I don’t really care, either. He is definitely a bird
dog. If it is sitting still, he’ll point and if it moves,
he’s after it. One thing is he can really run. I’ve seen
him outrun a greyhound at the dog park. About the time the
greyhound would catch up to him, he would cut. After about
3 times of doing this, the greyhound was tired and
couldn’t keep up with him. Michael Christensen - Omaha, NE
it looks like labs can be used as turkey dogs after all.
Dazie Mae busted up a flock of twenty-some yesterday. I called this jake back, and she held still the whole time. Dazie didn't go for the retrieve until she was told." Kenny Wayne Kishman, Louisville, KY 10/26/08
"Dazie died of a pulmonary embolism at 2 1/2 years old. I did CPR all the way to the vet, but it wasn't survivable. Way too young to go, and way too many seasons we'll miss her. Rest in Peace, Dazie Mae." Ken 7/25/09
"We pick up a male Boykin pup 9/20/09 from Nancy Boykin. I not only check the blood lines of my pups, but the breeders too. Once I shot that jake with Dazie this past fall that turkey dogging switch flipped on and snapped off, so there was no turning back for me! " Ken 8/29/2009
"Here are some pics of Hunters Rest Barley. We pick him up in 2 weeks.
Looks like Nancy has him on the right path with some of the turkey feathers I left with her." Ken 9/4/09
"Here's my dog 'Gia' as a pup, a little older, and with my first fall bird. She's a John Byrnes Appalachian Turkey Dog.
|It's always a
good idea to train your turkey dog to lay in a bag. Even
if your dog is dark colored, a bag can be a necessity when
hunting on cold, wet days. Use the bag to carry your other
gear, and throw an old towel in the bottom for your wet
dog. Unless your dog is a hardy breed like a Labrador,
after scattering the flock they'll appreciate a place to
get out of a raw wind. During play time, routinely have
them lay in the bag, make it fun, and give them treats
before they take a nap in it. The bag training comes in
handy too, when trying to weigh them like shown here.
pure-bred liver and white Pointer would lay quietly in a
bag. The only Prisoner of War dog in World War II.
"Frank Williams managed to teach Judy to lie still and silent inside a rice sack. When he boarded the ship, Judy climbed into a sack and Williams slung it over his shoulder to take on board. For three hours the men were forced to stand on deck in the searing heat, and for the entire time Judy remained still and silent in the bag on Williams's back."
"My new Boytel turkey dog pup 'Heidi'. October 2007."
"Here's one of Heidi loving the snow last winter, and appropriating my couch. She's one of the best dogs I ever had."
Steve Turpin - Turpin Custom Game Calls
"I got Heidi out in the Fall turkey woods and she did pretty good for her first efforts. She busted up two different droves and I killed 4 of my 7 turkeys over her, including a smoke grey phase young gobbler. She still has a few obedience problems, like squirming too much in the excitement, and not wanting to stay seated. This cost me a few turkeys, but overall I was extremely pleased with her performance. I know she will get nothing but better, as she's only 15 months old. Since this was her first season, I only hunted with her when I was by myself. That way, she would be easier to work with and not be distracted by other hunters. I'm REALLY proud of her. Happy Thanksgiving to all." Steve 11/25/08
"Steve Turpin and his young turkey dog 'Heidi' with a couple of young gobblers that were scattered from the flock by Heidi and then called back into gun range during the Tennessee Fall turkey season. 12/14/09
Helping turkeys make BAD DECISIONS for over 100 years! © Turpin Custom Game Calls
|I'm glad to finally
find a website and information regarding fall turkey
hunting with a dog. It seems not many people in Kentucky
know anything about turkey dogs, or want to learn. I am
the only turkey dog owner/hunter I know in Kentucky. My
dog Belle is half Gordon and half English Setter, and just
turned 3 on July 4, 2007. She came to me through a turkey
dog man from Virginia. It started with a conversation with
my brothers buddy, who talked to several other guys, that
led me to these fellers in Virginia with flight pens and
everything. It took a lot of talk to convince them to sell
me a dog. They breed for black or liver color, and would
never share a word about their dogs secret pedigrees.
They're what you'd call 'old
school', if you know what I mean. If you're ever
in Central Kentucky during the fall season, look me up. Eddie
Williams - Harrodsburg, Kentucky
KY Dept of Fish and Wildlife Resources-Kentucky Afield TV host Tim Farmer joins Eddie Williams turkey hunting with dogs.
|Here's some pictures of our new turkey dog. The
name is Remington Hazelwood Jake, born 17 April 06. My
grandaughter who is 5 years old and I got brainwashed with
the wild turkey and hunting, she came up with the name of
Jake since she said boy baby turkey's are jakes. Comes
from a great line of Brittany's. Right now for only 3
months old the dog has mastered sit, lay, stay, fetch, and
is showing signs of barking at a turkey wing I saved from
the spring season. Showing a little sign of blind trailing
after I drag it in the yard and then let him out. I have
had him out back in the pastures were he sees deer and has
not showed much interest in them, seems more scared of
them right now. Earl
Sechrist - Midland, Virginia. August 6, 2006
The dog is doing well, but he is getting a little hardheaded, my wife says like his master. Started shooting the grandaughters BB gun off by him. Thanks again for the tips. Earl
started out a cold day. Left the truck it was 31. Heard
some birds about 150-200 yards from us at first light.
Took the dog on a lead towards the birds and found where
they were scratching since fly down. Put the dog on them
and again he followed for a short time and then broke off.
(since my other dog died he has not been the same, he is
only a year old and I think I ran him to much with the
other one). Anyway, the birds were headed towards a road.
I then put the lead back on him and went down and around
and hit the road. Once at the road I walked up it to get
in front of the birds. I went about 150 yards when I seen
a couple birds cross the road about 60 yards in front of
me. I turned Jake loose and he made a bee line for them.
He got over a little rise in the road and started to bark.
Turkeys all over the place and air. The first 8 birds flew
off together, the other 10 or 12 was a good scatter. I
then got the dog and set up about 20 yards in the woods.
The dog would not sit still so I took him back to the
truck, which was only about 200 yards away. Got back and
set up. 5 min. went by and I heard some key-en and
yelp-en. Started to do likewise in return. They were
answering great to the wingbone and Steve's x-trm Kee. I
had one in front of me and 2 to the left coming in Keeing
and Kalking. It was a little noisy, I could hear about 100
yards from me one of the brood hens giving the assembly
call. When the one to my front got to about 15 yards I let
him have it with Grandfathers old Fox double, Win 2 3/4",
1 1/4 oz. #4's. 9 3/4 lb. Jake. Earl
"I did get lucky and was drawn to hunt on the Caswell Game Lands this year. This is a limited permit hunt on NC state game lands. Due to the fact that it was open only Thursday, Friday and Saturday, I got to hunt only one day and did not get a bird. But I did get to get my turkey dogs out for a good day in the woods. Talked to a biologist that day and he said I was the only one using turkey dogs. I also hunt near Appomattox, VA, along the Blue Ridge Mountains. This year my buddy and I each killed one each using our turkey dogs, so all was well. My dogs are german shorthair pointers that I use strictly for turkeys. Just got 2 new pups from a friend 1/2 german shorthair, 1/2 brittany spaniel." E. Jones - NC. January 2006
“Over the years I've had a lot of hounds. I had one redtick hound about 7 or 8 years ago that would strike turkeys from the pickup box. If I let her loose, she’d take the track and run it baying just like she was on a fox, a coyote, or a bear, up until the birds took off. Then she’d bay yet for a while, until I’d go get her. She’s deceased now, but I have one of her pups. That hound sure liked turkeys. I’ve often bred two dogs that love the same game, and of all the puppies, one prefers fox, one likes bear, one likes cat, and one likes turkey, etc. Just because the parents like one game, doesn’t guarantee the pups will. Each dog turns out to be an individual, and will prefer their own game." R.B. Sturgeon Bay, WI January 2006
"I went grouse hunting on the public hunting grounds in Green County, WI where it backs up to Dane County with my english setter, Rebel. There was a wide field between the woods, and his first point was on a big ol' tom turkey. Reb was up on his tip-toes, and leaning ahead as if to try and see what that bird was.
At first I wondered what he had. Reb never acted like that on a pheasant or a chukar, so I knew it wasn’t that. When the bird took off and its' wings made that whoosh whoosh whoosh sound, Reb's eyes got big as saucers. After that first one I could always tell when Reb had a turkey, because he acted so different, up on his tip-toes and leaning ahead, he liked turkeys so much.
It was tempting to shoot, since I had a turkey permit in my pocket. But at that time you couldn’t be in possession of a turkey and a dog. The fourth or fifth turkey Reb pointed that day was an adult hen. When it took off she flew right into a hunter (who was not with our party) that had been standing nearby. He broke several ribs, either from the hen, when he hit the ground, or both.
Another time Reb pointed two turkeys on a field trial grounds.
I think Reb wanted to point turkeys better than anything else. He liked the helicopter-like sound of them flushing, and then he’d stand there watching them until they were out of site. Reb was one dog in ten thousand.
Reb proved that pointing dogs can point a turkey just as well as a flushing dog can flush them. I buried Reb five years ago, right where we hunt turkey every spring and fall." James Gleash - Madison. VP - WI Association of Field Trial Clubs 2006
|"I had never seen a wild turkey till I moved here, now I look for them everywhere. Sometimes I feel like the scene in Jurassic Park, where they see the dinosaur for the first time... I've had Irish Water Spaniels for 20 years and did some hunt test stuff with my first one. He had never seen a bird and at age 5 knowing nothing about bird dogs I started him myself. He turned out to be surprisingly good, and sired some good bird dogs too (as well as the foo foo show dogs). I used to do dog shows, 30 years ago, then did a little obedience and greyhound racing; now I can barely stand to watch a dog show, it's the real life use of the dog's natural ability and drive that gets my pulse racing! Thanks so much for letting me know about turkey dogs, maybe that is a future dog for me!! The other thought I have had about turkeys are their metallic colors, once I saw some in the sunshine and they looked like jewelled robots to me. When I was driving west to Minnesota along Hwy 21, west of Oshkosh, along a stretch of RR track that is up above the road, I saw what had to be about 50 of them, strung along the tracks, looking for bugs in the gravel, or maybe grit for their crop. Then a couple hours later, heading home the same way, there they still were!" Dana K. Vaughan, Ph.D. Associate Professor of Biology, University of Wisconsin Oshkosh|
|The bloodhound is the only
animal in the world whose evidence is admissable in court.
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