Charlie once again proved that he is a fast and deadly hunter. I’m not sure how I feel about it. I let the three dogs out to do their business and Charlie shot up the steps, and disappeared behind the car before I could run up the steps behind him. As I walked to the back of the car I heard a squeal and found Charlie flinging a squirrel to the ground. Evidently he had run it down before the squirrel could get to the safety of a tree. I called him off the wounded squirrel before he and the other dogs could finish it off. The squirrel laid on the ground panting heavily for a few moments before getting up and scrambled to the closest tree, barely escaping death.
I took the dogs back inside and checked Charlie for any wounds from the squirrel and found a couple of places below his right eye that looked like the squirrel had scratched him trying to get away. I cleaned the scratches up and put ointment on them. He looked up at me with a quizzical look of his face. He wanted me to proud of him for his quickness and precision at snagging his prey and a part of me was. I’m proud that he is fast and doesn’t have any hesitation when going after prey. When we’re pheasant hunting it’s important that the dog is willing and without any hesitation, rushes into brush, tall grasses and plum thickets to flush and retrieve birds. But at the same time I was appalled that he ran the squirrel down, grabbed it, flung it to the ground and if I hadn’t stopped him, he would have gone back in for the kill.
Does that make me a hypocrite, it’s okay for us to hunt and shoot pheasants (we do eat them), but not let the dogs do what comes naturally to them? It’s not like squirrels are on the endangered species list, and are terribly destructive, but somehow my sense of fair play was bothered by it all. I felt bad for the squirrel and at the same time was proud that Charlie had once again proven that he will be an asset when we go pheasant hunting this fall.