How to Retrieve Birds Without a Dog
This does not suggest dogs are not desirable. And, even when hunting with good dogs you still should mark birds you shoot!!!!
TIP - Marking the exact spot where a bird falls and never taking your eyes off of the location is an important part of bird hunting with or without a dog.
Use these easy tips in the field to help you make sure you don't lose any feathered game;
1. Pinpoint the location by mentally marking it.
2. Go straight to the marked spot.
3. Use nearby landmarks to help you judge distance and location of downed birds.
4. Do not approach downed birds with an unloaded gun. Injured birds can re-flush.
5. If you miscalculate the spot, use your cap or other item as a marker then start making ever-widening circles.
6. If you are hunting with someone, help each other by guiding them to the location. Sometimes they had a better vantage point to where the bird fell.
7. Look for signs. Feathers and shot-shell wad can help you determine a general area and gives you a starting point. If the dog isn't already tracking the bird, take the dog to located feathers and have them start their track from that location.
Understand that birds may hit the ground running, especially roosters. That's not to say, quail won't run. Recently, while quail hunting, a shot quail ran over thirty yards towards heavy cover to avoid capture from both hunter and dog.
8. Make EVERY effort to find a downed bird.