Wednesday, October 20, 2010
Snippet from Minnesota
Bird numbers were good in NE Minnesota. Weather was balmy, a little on the dry side. Unfortunately I wasn't able to get my dogs on the ground much -- a couple hours for Brody on Saturday 10/9 and a couple hours more later in the week during scouting; an hour w/ Spy during the RGS hunt, and finally (after the work was done) about 6 hrs w/ Brody over this past Sat eve/Sun morn. This was our first hunting of the year anywhere.
Little things can make or break a hunt. Spy made the most of his hour of hunting last Friday by pointing 3 wc and 4 grouse; all 7 birds were quite killable and were shot at, but we bagged just two: a wc by my hunter (his first!) and a grouse that I killed on Spy's last point of the day (at his age -- 13 -- you never know when it's his last. Period.).
Brody showed alot of... "variation", and alot of progress in a short time. He bumped plenty of birds early on, and made some nice points - and more consistently worked birds nicely - as his time on the ground increased. He ran w/ alot of urgency initially, probably a combination of pent-up energy and inexperience (as well as the potential to race in his breeding), and later settled into an easy handling mode, but still covering ground quickly. In the end I killed a woodcock and 3 grouse over his points, and I let go alot of killable foot-flushed and bumped birds. All those bumped birds and the few killed birds are great training. It's those pointed birds that got away that I regret not bringing down to reward the pup.
The photo is Brody last Sunday morning/noon in MN. It was dry as chips, but the birds were abundant and Brody was getting the hang of it. I had just knocked down a grouse from his 3rd or 4th point in a row, and he pointed it "dead" -- you can see it through the veg below about 6 inches to the front-right of his nose, its head is up. Pup was in a stupor, standing paralyzed, drunk on scent, eyes were just slits.
Also that morning I got to educate Brody on porcupines. For anyone who runs an e-collar, you might want to take advantage of your next porky encounter by setting the transmitter on fry-o-lator and nicking your dog when he knowingly approaches the porcupine too close. You want him to see and smell it. He'll think the porky gave him the jolt. Don't say a word, just pet him when he runs over to you, and hunt on. Try to come back around down wind later for another lesson. This could pay off some day. Hopefully you'll never know.