Sep 14, 2012, 1:02 AM EDT
By Jerry Sather
The experienced hunter knows if you don’t have the training and conditioning done by this time, it pretty much isn’t going to get done for this hunting season. You and your dog are either ready or your not. Nothing can be done to improve your dog’s performance … or manners … overnight. It just doesn’t work that way.
So on the eve of hunting season, we’ll take a break from all the training talk, conditioning advice, and repetitive drills. My friend and customer Bill Miller, who is also an NBC Sports From the Lodge Blogger, shared with me a piece he wrote years back about why we hunt with good retrievers and put so much blood, sweat and tears into their training.
I liked it so much, he gave me permission to sample a portion of it with you, here:
The reason waterfowl hunters hunt over well-trained retrievers is because they know there is no greater conservation measure than a good dog. It doesn’t take many days in the company of even a mediocre retriever to appreciate that a dog will find downed birds no human could ever recover. Even the most extreme waterfowl hunter has nothing in the repertoire that can compare to the canine sense of smell or instinct for the hunt.
The reason waterfowl hunters own retrievers is because they are the ultimate year-round link to hunting. The care and training required to maximize the great potential of a well-bred retriever is a 7-day-a-week, 365-day-a-year commitment that lasts for anywhere from 10-15 years. Yet the rewards far exceed the investment.
There’s a warm feeling in the hunter’s soul with every little triumph in training, with each great retrieve, even with the smell of wet dog lingering in the truck. Yet the greatest reward comes from sharing life with a creature who lives for the hunt even more than we do. Every time you scratch those ears and look into those eyes, you go hunting together … even though it might be the middle of June.
The passionate waterfowl hunter hunts over good retrievers. The passionate waterfowl hunter’s soul is owned by at least one good retriever in his or her lifetime.
Here’s wishing you and your dog all that and more for the upcoming hunting season.
And now, time for the commercial message: I thought you might want to know, Bill Miller’s dog Callie who’s photo is at the lead of this posting and who we have both written about a good bit is due to deliver puppies late in September. We already have a number of the pups spoken for, but the vet’s predicting a big litter, so we’re still taking reservations. If you’re interested click on my website link at the top of this post and contact me for more information.
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