i know most of you fish junkies are shaking with anticipation for the upcoming season but allow me to interrupt your ice out skunking frustrations for just a moment!
my pup blue had quite the run during his second pheasant season. back in october, i started to wonder what he would be able to achieve in his sophomore year. his first season, just out of training, was very promising in terms of what he'd be capable of in his hunting career. as a first time bird dog owner, i held slight skepticism over whether or not he would retain what he had learned given how much time had passed over summer and how busy we kept him with exercising and just having fun around town. i wondered if the training sessions i put him through on my own during the off season was enough to keep him in the game. at the conclusion of season 2, i slept like a baby knowing i will never have to doubt this dog again when it comes to his killer instinct and ability to hunt.
some of my favorite hunts this year involved watching blue and his GSP pale work together at the club. having never met before, they sniffed butts for a minute and got right down to working the fields flawlessly. the second time they met, i could tell they were so pumped to see each other again and do what they were born to do.
the absolute highlight of the season was the opportunity to hunt the sacred wild pheasant in our great state of IL. during the off season and not without the endorsement from a great friend of mine, i was able to form a friendship with a landowner who manages wild pheasant on the farms he owns. with anticipation of the season opener one fine morning, i didn't sleep a wink knowing blue would have 5 guys hunting over him while chasing wild birds for the very first time. it was hilarious watching the fast flying hens fly off the roost and blue look at me with the look, "dad, why are we just letting them fly away!?". blue went on to flush and retrieve a handful of big, wild roosters that day including one for his old man. what i enjoyed even more was the compliments blue received from the die-hard upland guys that have hunted over many dogs in their career.
as the season wore on i decided to throw the dog a curve ball and take him rabbit hunting on a friends farm in galena, IL. he took to it right away; checking brush piles and pushing cottontails out of ditches and other hideouts. it was a bit of a learning curve for me as the handler but his retrieves were still rock solid and we'll certainly be making it a tradition.
wild pheasant came to a close by january but as long as it is cold enough, blue is ready to hunt. so it was more club work with some of the boys.
looking forward to many more seasons with this good boy!
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