It's always a good day to be on the water or in the field with my daughter Lisa.
Yesterday she and I along with our two German Shorthaired Pointers, Wager and Profit went hunting at the Rooster Heaven Hunt Club in Forrest, Illinois.
We had a great time and what made it even better, manager Terry Cope had time to join us. Terry not only manages the club and guides hunts for visitors without dogs, but also trains dogs for hunting. It was great to have Terry walk along Lisa and me and give us some pointers to improve our dog's field work.
I know that I was well aware of this in the past but it was a good refresher course for me to know that much of "dog training" is actually "handler training". Some times we need to give our dogs direction and often reinforcement of training is important. This was our first time in the field this season. It's great that we learned a few things and were a great help and surprisingly almost instant.
I'll give you one example. When Wager retrieves a bird, he'll often stop several yards away as we call him to come to us with the bird. Think about it, Wager GOT the bird. He wants it. So Terry suggested we turn our backs to him and walk away. The majority of times the dog will come to your side where you can get the bird. Seems like the dog realizes that you're off to go hunt some more and it wants to be part of it. So not wanting to loose the bird it will come to you. This also enhances the dogs desire to hunt.
It worked every time.
I shot at 6 birds and got 4. One was missed because I opened the gun and closed it again (over and under) and forgot to put in a fresh shell. Bird flushed, CLICK! Bird gone.
Now for the other missed bird I can tell you that Lisa flushed the bird that Profit was pointing. His point was rock solid. Picture perfect as he was standing on 3 legs and had his right front paw up and tail pointing to the sky. When the bird got up it came right at me and over my head. It happened so quickly and in only a moment the bird was behind me. I tried to turn and shoot but I know it felt awkward. I did let one round go but then thought it would have been a miracle if the bird went down.
I got one black pheasant; what a beautiful bird. The tails on the roosters were long and straight. Gorgeous birds.
I'm going back on Saturday November 1 to do a TV show at Rooster Heaven. It will be a special day as they're offering Wild Bird hunts. Rooster Heaven has hundreds of acres that are not hunted throughout their extended season. Birds are not released there. However there are quite a few wild birds in those fields and it will be a special hunt.
It's been years since I've hunted wild birds. Property to hunt has changed from open fields to residential subdivisions. This will be like hunting in the old days. Only roosters can be harvested. They'll be big birds and most likely we'll see 5, 6 or more birds coming up at once.
I can't wait to go back.