Thursday, September 23, 2010

The not-yet-ready puppy blues...

Maybe it's reading all the posts on Upland Journal  about the various bird seasons kicking off in seemingly every state but mine. Maybe it's reading about Norcal Cazadora's and Chas Clifton's North Dakota sharptail hunt. Maybe it's reading about Scampwalker's awesome Kansas prairie chicken opener and upcoming two-week Montana bird odyssey.

Maybe it's the realization that as much fun as Jenny is and as much promise as the future holds, she's only five months old and I can't expect much from her this first year. Maybe it's because I'm missing Lewey, who, for all his goofy shenanigans, was a helluva good flushing dog who could run all day. Whatever the reason, I'm feeling kinda down because it seems everyone else is out on the road hunting. Everyone but me. And the reason I'm not out hunting is simple: I don't have a dog that's ready.

Oh, I suppose I could take some weekend, load up Tess and Jenny and hit the road. But Tess is a marginal flushing dog at best, ducks are her game, and Jenny was only recently introduced to gunfire and has yet to point her first wild bird. It'd be the height of folly to pin any hopes or expectations on such a trip.

Sometimes I wonder if I should have looked around for an older started dog to go along with Jenny. But unless someone knocks on my front door with a nice finished (and free) gundog in the next month, that particular ponder is a moot point.

So we'll wait for the Oklahoma quail opener and start the journey there, close to home. We'll even make a few trips right up the road to Kansas. We'll concentrate on enjoying this year for what it is and save those great expectations and road-trip dreams for the future. We'll get there. It may feel sometimes like we're driving a Yugo, but we'll get there.


  1. I don't probably 6 or 7 hours you could be in some pretty good blue grouse country in northern NM. $80 or thereabouts for a three day license and the season runs to mid-October. Low budget so no worries about expectations.

  2. Just enjoy the puppy in her while it's still there -- or at least that's what I have to keep reminding myself with my own youngster.

    Is it legal to run dogs in OK prior to the season starting? Just because you can't shoot them doesn't mean you can't give her wild bird work (provided it's legal, of course). I've found it gets them (and me) into better shape when the season finally does roll around.

  3. I second Scampwalker. As a novice dog trainer I constantly fall back on wild birds as my default training method. Get the pup out early and often. Keep your mouth shut and let the birds teach her. You could probably get her green broke before the opener just driving country roads and getting her on road coveys.

  4. I'm with Scamp too. If the weather's cool and it's legal, go ahead and run her. She'll figure out quite a bit on her own. Birds make bird dogs.

  5. Mdmnm, actually Greg McReynolds and I have kicked around that very idea...

    Scampwalker, Jon, Mark, just checked with my county warden and he said nothing illegal about running my pup on the WMA so I'll probably start doing that this weekend.