Mia’s tough retrieves

Mia’s tough retrieves

On Saturday’s duck hunt, I asked a lot of Mia and she responded quite well under challenging conditions.

Posing with Mia and her two ducks

Posing with Mia and her two ducks

The temperature was in the 20’s with a stiff wind, however a light jacket was all that was necessary – although I would have liked to have had my gloves.

Mia waits with our hunting vests and gear

Mia waits with our hunting vests and gear

Our Pheasant hunt quickly became a duck hunt when we noticed large numbers of waterfowl that the recent storm had pushed into our area. Mia stayed with our gear and hunting vests while we sneaked up to jump shoot ducks along the shoreline, then I’d call her over to make the retrieve.

This tactic made it tough for Mia since I was asking her to do blind retrieves in water that had whitecaps and was very choppy. Furthermore, she was having to approach her retrieves from upwind so there was no chance of being helped by their scent.

Wade shot the first duck and although Mia took a nice line to it, was unable to find it in the choppy water. The wind was blowing it towards a bay and by the time we walked there, Mia was left with a short retrieve.

Mia patiently waits for more ducks

Mia patiently waits for more ducks

It wasn’t long before a flock of Widgeon came over. I dropped two with my shot and Wade hit his but that duck continued on with the flock. By the time Mia retrieved the drake, the hen I’d hit had drifted well away from the shoreline.

Mia is about 100 yards out searching for the duck that drifted out of sight

Mia is about 100 yards out searching for the duck that drifted out of sight

Again, Mia took a nice line to it but was unable to find it in the choppy water, and the duck drifted out of sight.

We then came upon a number of ducks scattered along the shore. I dropped a Mallard with a long shot and sent Mia after it. Again, the choppy water made it a tough retrieve and after a couple of failed attempts, took a nice line to the bird.

I thought that Mia had locked onto the bird when she was 80 to 90 yards out and only about 20 yards from the duck, however she turned around just short of the duck.

Mia finished retrieve over half a mile from where I shot the duck, it had washed up on the shore

Mia finished retrieve over half a mile from where I shot the duck, it had washed up on the shore

After lunch, we drove to the opposite side of the bay where we thought it might have drifted. As luck had it, Wade spotted the duck under some trees and Mia finished her retrieve 0.6 miles from where it began.

The bluff where I shot the Mallard is circled, over 1/2 mile away

The bluff where I shot the Mallard is circled, over 1/2 mile away

Another hunter had dropped a duck on some ice but was unable to get it, however I knew that the water was relatively (waist) deep, and didn’t want to leave it. With Mia following me, I broke through the ice and was almost to the duck when I recognized it as a Merganser. Since they are not good eating, I turned back; by then it was late afternoon so we called it a day.

Mia returns through the trail of broken ice

Mia returns through the trail of broken ice

Sophie’s 13th birthday party

Elettra, Doc, Elvis, Sophie, Mia and Dakota tolerate party hats and a picture before digging into their hamburgers

Elettra, Doc, Elvis, Sophie, Mia and Dakota tolerate party hats and a picture before digging into their hamburgers

It’s hard to believe that nearly 13 years ago Carrie brought home this little 2-month old bundle of brown fur. But now age is taking her strength, the cold she once enjoyed now brings an ache to her joints, and her passion for hunting has now become a passion for therapy work.

Elvis stretches his legs with a run before starting his therapy visits, 11-19-15

Elvis stretches his legs with a run before starting his therapy visits, 11-19-15

Sophie and Elvis made their therapy visits on Friday and Sunday she celebrated her birthday with party hats (not her idea) and hamburgers (definitely her idea).

Sophie is eager to begin her therapy visits, 11-19-15

Sophie is eager to begin her therapy visits, 11-19-15

 

Roasted grouse

I roasted the two Ruffed Grouse that I got last month, nothing fancy but they turned out pretty good. I mixed light olive oil with a little poultry seasoning, black pepper, and a little seasoned salt. A side dish of sliced and breaded summer squash, and it made a pretty good lunch.

Retrieving basics

Elettra with bumper

Elettra’s last retrieve was a couple of years ago in sub-zero temperature so I went all the way back to square one with her retriever training.

Elettra retrieves a bird wing

Elettra retrieves a bird wing

I teased her with a bumper that had a wing attached to it, and tossed it a couple of times but she wasn’t too interested. Maybe that was too basic and she was insulted, I don’t know.

Elettra races back with the bird wing

Elettra races back with the bird wing

However she was happy to play fetch with the bird wing by itself, which we did for a little while.

Saturday stroll

Doc pauses the check the wind.

Doc pauses the check the wind.

Our Saturday hunt turned into a stroll through the countryside as there were no birds to be found. Literally. We didn’t see a single waterfowl or game bird in the air, on the water, or even bagged by another hunter, and those I spoke with reported much the same thing.

Doc on the cliff's edge overlooking the river

Doc on the cliff’s edge overlooking the river

There were a few sporadic shots throughout the day but none of the hunters I spoke with had any birds. However it did give me an opportunity to add some photos of Doc to my album.

Doc works a grove of Russian Olive trees for Pheasants

Doc works a grove of Russian Olive trees for Pheasants

2015 Family Outdoor Festival

Heavy frost covers the ground at the archery range

Heavy frost covers the ground at the archery range

youth learn safety at the trap range

youth learn safety at the trap range

Fishing, duck calling, elk calling, decoy setting, trap shooting, black powder shooting, and archery were just some of the free activities available at the 2015 Family Outdoor Festival.

Mia on point as a young hunter moves into flush

Mia on point as a young hunter moves into flush

Mia retrieves a Pheasant

Mia retrieves a Pheasant

Mia on point as the young hunter moves in to flush

Mia on point as the young hunter moves in to flush

For the second year, what began as the Youth Hunt Clinic has become an outdoor festival for the entire family sponsored by the Idaho Fish and Game along with Pheasants Forever. This year it was held at Smith’s Trout Haven, a beautiful camping and fishing facility just outside of Lava Hot Springs.

Mia poses with the young hunter

Mia poses with the young hunter

Youth hunter moves in on Doc's point

Youth hunter moves in on Doc’s point

Doc on a nice poitn

Doc on a nice poitn

Doc makes a nice retrieve

Doc makes a nice retrieve

I braced Doc and Mia for three groups of young hunters, the first group consisted of a single hunter, but had a full group for out second and third groups.

Doc on point

Doc on point

Doc poses with a successful group of youth hunters

Doc poses with a successful group of youth hunters

The third group of the day heads out into the field

The third group of the day heads out into the field

Mia retrieves a winged bird

Mia retrieves a winged bird

I ran Mia for the first and third groups, Doc for the second group, and then as there were still birds left in the field after the last group had finished, I braced them for one final bird.

Mia on point as a young hunter moves in to flush

Mia on point as a young hunter moves in to flush

Doc and Mia brace for one last bird

Doc and Mia brace for one last bird

Mia makes a nice retrieve

Mia makes a nice retrieve

Doc an Mia pose with the final group of hunters. Although the temperature never got out of the 40s, it was too warm for a jacket

Doc an Mia pose with the final group of hunters. Although the temperature never got out of the 40s, it was too warm for a jacket

 

Not taking No

Doc was upset when I took Mia hunting and left him home.

Working Elettra on pigeons

Working Elettra on pigeons

Then he had an absolute fit when I worked Elettra on pigeons and left him in the yard.

Doc happy to finally get into some birds

Doc happy to finally get into some birds

Since the kid refused to take No for an answer, I took him out and put him on a couple of birds and all was right with the world.

Doc on a nice point

Doc on a nice point