Luckly living here in south east NE we have tons of crp ground for trainig and hunting. Today i took Axe to a basin a couple miles away from the house that is backed up to a feedlot so i knew there were at least a few birds in this field. todays trip was more to work on our field "woah" and it was flawless (that was a great feeling btw) but after working for an hr on woah and some retreveing walking the whole field and comming across no birds we were 200 yrds back to the truck thewind in our favor Axe was running his normal pattern roughly 40 yrds in front of me he stops, no point, turns then starts pattern again... up goes a rooster.... then a hen! He tottaly missed both birds. he watched very closly after it came up and was ready waited perfect. was a great training day but damn walked by two birds soo close to the truck twice.
There could be any number of factors involved with the dog's behavior - wind speed, how tight the bird was tucked (or running), fatigue... The list goes on. I would not dwell on it too much. If he is on birds consistently, his reliability will improve. He already learned something from this hunt - guaranteed. I won't comment on the training (too much/etc). I don't know your dog enough, but I do understand your reluctance to put obedience aside. I don't think that is necessarily what PB is saying - just separate out the field-work and allow the dog to run a little and figure out how to work birds (especially wild ones). Maybe limit expectations to an occasional recall (for safety).
One more thing - if the birds he is on 3 days a week are planted, you may want to review your process on planting birds. Dogs are smart - they figure-out the routine. So, if you are planting birds on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays, Axe will point birds on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays - because that is what you "trained" him to do (inadvertently). "Stumbling" onto birds may not compute to him, YET. Shake up the schedule on birds. Also be sure to wear some gloves when planting birds, or, better yet, have someone else do it.