Friday, October 19, 2012
Proud Moments-First Retrieves
Molly made her home at the Meurett camp 2 years ago and even though she has a stellar pedigree, one never knows until feathers hit the water so to speak. She had a prolonged training period since signing on with her hunting partner (me)-a major injury kept her out of her first fall, but we resumed working in the field as soon as possible after that. A considerable worry for all hunters is gun shyness, but a gentle introduction to the report of a shot proved no problem for the excited dog chasing pigeons. Good friend Jamie (a master with German Wirehaired Pointers) provided the birds and encouragement through Molly’s indoctrination to the gun.
It’s been 2 years since I donned waders, tossed out decoys, and slid 3 steel 12 gauge shells into a gun. Man, I’ve missed that. Molly didn’t know what to think of all those bird looking things floating around in the water-they sure looked like her retrieving dummy. I figured as much, so I tossed her fake duck out a few times and let her thread her way through the bobbing decoys to see if she could distinguish between the two. She could. We settled into a makeshift blind behind willow branches I’d cut and the natural cattails getting pelted by the rain and waited. I’d brought my two favorite calls along, but realized any bird that flew near this pond was going to land here with no encouragement from me. That’s exactly what happened-I heard a splash and glanced to see 3 woodies already swimming toward the decoys. Molly did as well and spun out of the blind and in seconds, I managed to stand and drop one of the birds in the water. Molly was interested in perusing the flying birds, but quickly saw the flapping in the water and was in, instincts taking over and she was back with the bird in the blind. That was her first duck, so I snapped a few pictures, which she seemed ho-hum about, it was like she was saying “that’s what I do dad-dahhh.” It would also be the last bird we’d see that day, but it surly was a successful hunt.
We returned one more time, but birds were scarce and soon decoys were packed in oversize bags and the clumsy hike in waders back to the truck began. I’ve found that hunting with a dog changes everything. If I’m by myself, working brush or a swamp for hours and never click the safety off, it can feel like a poor hunt. With the dog along, it’s fun just to see them work cover, get birdy and in the end, trot alongside you as we return to the pick up-they are just happy to be out there, as I am. I hope we have many more years together in the field and marsh, for seeing how Miss. Molly did on her first retrieves I know all the summer “work” pays off and there will be many more proud moments for this hunter and his pup.
Posted by Steve at 6:46 AM