Thursday, July 10, 2008

Wild Birds in Motion

I've only been hunting for seven years, over dogs for six, and only over my own for three now--a relatively short span. So, I've taken heavy preference to using wild birds to train my dogs, as opposed to more formal training with liberated or planted birds. The latter carries with it the much higher probability that the inexperienced trainer could make a mistake that creates a significant setback in a young dog's training.

Also, after hunting with someone new, I get to puff out my chest and answer "yes" when asked if I've trained my dogs myself. Little do they know, as this really proves is that I'm capable of driving my dogs to the birds, and keeping my mouth shut as we look for them. The birds do the rest.

Here, Sage points a hen pheasant during a spring run in central KS:

Taken on the same day, Ike also finds a hen, and Sage is honoring.

You can clearly see the difference in style between Sage and Ike, and I think their respective breedings play the biggest part in this. Sage came from a breeder in the northeastern US, and is likely intended to be a "grouse dog," whatever that is. His lines also have much closer ties to European dogs, which explains his tendency to crouch low, or "set" when on point. On the other hand, Ike was intended to be a field trial dog, and it's no secret the trialers like a high and straight tail.

Sometimes it's fun to have someone else flush the birds for you...

Anyway, I hope to get many more clips like this later this fall.

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