I have fallen in love with the way Doree, who is just 10 mo’s old, hunts for me. What a pleasant surprise she has been this season. I really didn’t have big expectations for her this season due to her age and just plain goofy nature. I discovered that if you put her in a field she is all business all the time.
The thing that really sets her apart for such a youngster is her willingness to work with me. What do I mean? I am walking a field in one direction with Doree working back and forth in front and out to the side of me within gunshot range. When I change direction she will notice and move out in front and resume quartering in front of me.
Another thing that sets her apart, is that I rarely have to give a verbal command. A soft whistle usually does the trick. I truly feel like we are a team already, thanks to Doree’s high level of cooperation.
Sunday Dec 1st, 2013 will be a day to remember. My friend Dave and I took Doree and Duke ( English Setter) to see if we could find some Pheasants. The day started off slow with only hen Pheasants being found. Doree found five hens in a group that flushed at her approach. We worked a 40 acre field that is mostly chest high prairie grass. With some shorter stuff mixed in. It was a warm day with barely any wind. To summarize it was a difficult situation for two young dogs.
After working from one end of the plot to the other without finding more birds, we decided to take the dogs to the river south of the field. There is a finger of cover 30 yards wide that stretches towards the river. We worked that finger and the dogs got “birdy” but found no birds. Next there is a gap in the trees between the finger and a levee. In the woods to the right of the gap the dogs continued to act “birdy” but since there wasn’t enough cover to hide a mouse we blew it off and called the dogs to us. We wanted the dogs to cool down in the river.
Just as we started to climb the levee, three rooster Pheasants burst out of a tiny strip of grass behind us. The strip of grass was about 6 inches wide and four-foot long located to the left of the gap. Dave managed to down one of the birds and Doree retrieved it to hand. How the birds manage to get from the right side of the gap to the grass on the left without leaving a scent trail we will never know.
We took a 10 minute break to let the other two roosters settle down, since it appeared they headed back in the direction we came from. After the break we let the dogs work the hedge row bordering the two properties. Both dogs began working a scent trail, and Dave saw the rooster running ahead. Doree worked out the trail and the rooster flushed as she began to get near. He was a bit out of range and we watched him fly back to where we started off the day hunting.
After a second bird was trailed by Doree and it too flushed before she could point it. (It headed in the same direction as the other one). So we headed that way too. Roughly midway down a long narrow food plot, Doree found scent and pointed until she quickly realized the bird was gone. She the began puzzling out a complicated trail that went this way and that way. It truly was a sight to behold. When she lost the trail she definitely had a strategy that she used to pick it up again. After working the trail for at least 12 minutes and covering 70 yards she slammed on the brakes and went on point. Held her Point until the rooster broke from cover. Unfortunately we let her down by missing what normally would have been an easy shot. Probably because we were pretty shot ourselves. I checked my watch and we had been in the field for 4 hours by that time.
Dave, who was a field trail judge and a hunt guide for many years, paid Doree a real compliment. He said, ” She hunts like an experienced three-year old should hunt” I couldn’t be prouder and it truly was a day to remember.