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Responding to another post (dog training on public land) made me recall a story. Some years ago pheasant season in my neck of the woods preceded duck season by a full week. A friend had gone out hunting and hit a bird which did the long super-glide thing into a marshy area. His old springer just couldn’t handle the mud and tules, so in late afternoon he called me for help. At the time I had a nine month old Lab trained and ready for his first season.

I met my friend at the edge of the wetland, and he showed me where he last saw the bird. Now mind you, this was to be my dog’s first attempt at a “wild” retrieve, and he had never had so much as a whiff of pheasant scent. I remember calling him to heel, and then I actually leaned down and whispered to him: “Gotta work hard on this one,” or something to that effect.

I gave him a line and sent him out. He was a big dog, even at nine months, a real hard charger. He disappeared into the tules, and I could hear him thrashing around and quartering back and forth in the muck. Suddenly he paused, but almost immediately I heard the flapping of wings. Of course I was thrilled. He came out of the mud and water and weeds proudly carrying his first bird – a hen mallard! My guess was she was either sick or hit by a hawk, but she was very much alive.

The dog brought her to my hand, but what to do with the bird? We were on public land, and I expected ODFW folks to pop up out of the ground at any moment. My dog and I - busted! I was desperately trying to figure out an explanation for the situation. Finally, it hit me. I had the dog sit and stay while I walked off a good distance. Then I whistled him in and rewarded him with a good sniff of the duck. I repeated the process but the next time I stashed the duck under a bush and took off in another direction. To my relief, when I called the dog to me and he didn’t find a bird, he stayed with me and we worked our way across the fields and back to the car.

I’m happy to say that we hunted together for the next eleven years. He never failed me in the field, or, for that matter, in life in general. I hope he would say the same thing about me.

 

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That's a good one! I hope me and Katie develop such a long and deep friendship. She just turned two and I think we're both looking to a fun season of birds.
 

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I had this one BLF, Brandy Duckfinder, who had absolutely the BEST Nose and was as "birdy" as any dog could ever be.



All my Pointing Dog friends would marvel at how she'd attack the large thickets of dead Russian Olive trees piled up that we'd often hunt, and crawl down from the top and bust Quail out of them while all the other dogs just stood around and watched!:bigshock:

She was the "final word" in what anyone could ever hope for for dense cover Pheasants.

Your story reminds me of a time when we were hunting over near Boardman on some private land and we got into some heavy grass and suddenly she was wildly onto a running Pheasant. She pushed it up against a fence with the lower part constructed of that Sheep Wire and the next thing I knew here she came with a very agitated HEN Pheasant in her mouth.:passout:

Fortunately for all she had a very soft mouth and the hen wasn't hurt a bit and I was able to take it from her and release it.

Gotta love those great Labs.:bowdown:

:cheers:
 
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