Sunday, August 8, 2010

Bird on a Wire

My experience with bird dogs is seriously limited. When I was 18 or 19 I worked for an Irish Setter breeder who did a lot of hunting with his show dogs (try not to faint) and unfortunately I never saw him work the dogs - all I know is that he'd go away for weekends to hunting events and I'd dog-sit the balance of the kennel. I also once photographed a retriever trial many moons ago but that was retrieving dead birds ... not flushing live ones. What I have read about hunting dogs is that there are setters, pointers, flushers and retrievers. Each breed in the Sporting group is capable of doing one or more of these tasks depending on the terrain the dog is working. Having never actually seen more than one of these activities performed (retrieving - which BTW is impressive enough in and of itself - this ain't no tennis ball retrieve) I can't speak to what I am seeing when I walk my dogs.

Leeloo doesn't know how it's 'supposed' to be done, she does it the way she thinks it should be done, just like everything else in her life. All she knows is that there are pheasants in them thar hills and she's going to find them. So what I see her doing is arranging herself downwind and then weaving through the brush to pinpoint the bird's location. When she's honed in on the hiding place she creeps slowly toward the bird and then stops and points. Then she moves slowly forward until the bird takes flight. Honestly, it looks to me like setting, pointing and flushing ... but what do I know?

I'm not sure how many 'gun dogs' try to catch the bird as it streaks skyward in a panic but Leeloo gives it a fair go. Then she follows the flight of the bird and races off to find it again. Leeloo lost interest until we looped back to where she initially found it and spent some time trying to locate it again. Fortunately pheasants seem to be unusually stupid birds so chances are high it will be in almost the exact same place next walk. There is always tomorrow Leeloo.

No comments: