Friday, October 12, 2007

en fuego...

I have mixed feelings sharing this publically because I wouldn't give this advice to anyone with a 5mos old pup unless they had way more experience than I do. (Now I don't have a particularly huge amount, but I do know my dogs.) In any case, read the following as the words of a proud father not as a prescription for all you aspiring gun-doggers out there.

I shot Jozsi's first pointed bird today. I'm a little stunned. Not just because I did it, but because he pointed, held for the flush, hunted dead, and returned the dead bird to hand! 2 days shy of 5mos old. Picture perfect... not at all. But an incredible omen.

(Here's a pic taken from my fairly new cell-phone because I forgot my camera.)

The boys and I went up to a hunting area where the State does some bird stocking, but when you enter a particular hunting area you might find quail, or pheasant, as well as the occasional grouse or woodcock. I decided to 'hunt' with each boy in turn: using Momo to find spots with birds so that I could at least take Jozsi into places where he should find scent. After a bust in the first fields, he and I got into some bobwhite quail. We found and shot 3 and then time was up for Momo in that particular field.

So I put some subsonic 12ga shells in my gun... shells that most folk ask if the gun is a 28ga or .410... figuring 'what the heck, if it happens...' And despite his age, I rationalized potentially shooting over him by looking at his demeanor during his brother's recent hunt tests when handlers and gunners were shooting off some pretty loud cannons. He's shown no problems with sudden loud noises.

Now his nose is nowhere near as sensitive as Momo's yet, and so after I accidentally foot-flushed a quail, I got him to sniff the spot and he got all jazzed up. We heard a quail call further up a stone wall line that the birds appeared to be hunkered down in and set off. And Jozsi sets up on a lovely point, head in tall grass, tail out... and he holds when I called 'whoa' and move in to flush it... the bird takes off without a good shot possible... I send him in after it. He locks up on point, and then changes his mind and relocates. I'm laughing slightly because he is now standing directly over the bird. It flushes from between his back legs! I shoot it and immediately start with the happy voice and send him off to hunt dead. Again, with a little coaching, the next thing I know he's found it. So i back off 3-4ft to see if he will do what he's done before with wings and bird-field quail... he puts the semi-dead bird in his mouth, I call him to 'come', he comes and on 'drop' puts the bird at my feet. I almost fainted.

I told this story to his breeders who said that Jozsi's great-grandfather, Obertakt Hollywood Debut, 'Woody', started his first season at 5mos old and found 24 birds that year! Here's a picture of Woody. Now Jozsi certainly needs a lot of polishing with a check-cord, but the omens remain very very promising for the little guy.


Steve Bodio said...

I am in awe-- never heard of success this young. I hope to have a bird dog as well as my tazis again one day-- vizslas just advanced from an already high position!

Andrew Campbell said...

Steve: I was in awe, too. It may have just been an incredibly fortunate synchronicity of moon phases and freshly released birds. And again, picture perfect he wasn't. I was lucky he was already comfortable plucking live, tired quail out of the bird field at his brother's hunt tests.

Now we just need to find some more birds to see if it was a fluke!

Shawn K. Wayment, DVM said...

Very Nice!