We just got home from pheasant hunting in Central Nebraska. There were ups and downs with the trip. We even made a few discoveries. We bagged eight birds. That was an up. The weather was way too hot, 75 degrees with 25 mile an hour winds. That was a down. We walked through prairie grass fields that were six feet tall plus in spots. And so dense I couldn’t see the dogs with their neon colored bandanas through the tall thin reeds right in front of me. When one of the dogs would flush a bird, it would hang suspended in the sky for just a split second before it caught the wind and take off making that whump, whump, whump, sound like a helicopter. They were very hard to hit in the high winds and when one was shot, the pheasant were hard to find in the dense grass.
Charlie was the star of the hunting trip. This was his best year ever. He didn’t range out too far, stayed in close and checked on us frequently to see where we were in the tall grass. He flushed two birds right off and retrieved both of them.
One of our discoveries was that not all hunting dog breeds are hunters. Mitch has had such high hopes for Orso, our chocolate lab. Orso, the water dog that doesn’t especially like water, doesn’t retrieve and doesn’t use his nose to hunt. He is four years old and has absolutely no interest in pheasant hunting. His idea of pheasant hunting is chasing after Charlie and AJ in the field to see what they are doing and then running back full bore into me to make sure I’m still there. Try walking on uneven terrain carrying a seven pound shotgun, wearing an ammo belt full of shotgun shells and a quart of water and have a ninety pound dog bash into you.
Mitch shot a pheasant and before picking it up called Orso over to find the bird, hoping he would show some interest in the dead bird. Orso walked up to the bird, put his paw on it and preceded to start pulling feathers off of the bird. A huge no-no. Then it even got worse. I shot a bird and called the dogs to find the bird. After not getting the retrieve as quickly as I thought they should, I ran down the hill to where the bird dropped and there was Orso and now AJ pulling the feathers out of the bird. Orso was teaching bad habits to our best hunting dog. That was definitely a down. Needless to say, Orso is not going on any future hunting trips with us.