A winter advisory greeted participants of this year’s Family Outdoor Festival, with rain until about 10:00 a.m. then turning to snow. The afternoon hunts were cancelled due to bad weather.
I ran Doc and Mia for two junior hunters. We had a good hunt with both hunmters bagging two birds apiece. Mia decided that she wasn’t going to honor Doc after his second retrieve, and began stealing his birds.
Doc did make one impressive blind retrieve. The junior hunter flushed the pheasant and hit it hard enough to knock out a few feathers, but not slow it down. The bird flew over the ridge we were hunting with both Doc and Mia in pursuit.
When neither dog returned after awhile, I climbed the hill to look for them. Mia came back but no Doc. I neared the crest of the ridge when Doc came over it with the bird in mouth.
Later, one of the hunters winged a pheasant and it gave both Doc and Mia a merry chase through the brush. From time to time they lost the bird and had to track, but eventually they ran it down and retrieved it. It was poor form but humorous to see both dogs retrieving the bird, Doc with the head and Mia with the tail.
Our hunt ended, and I was leaving when an officer asked if I’d handle the dogs for a junior hunter who had not gotten a chance to hunt. I agreed and after new birds were planted, we headed out for another hunt.
The guys did very well and the junior hunter limited out, although Mia continued stealing Doc’s retrieves so that’s something we’ll have to work on.
Doc and Mia made a big impression on both the mentors and Fish and Game officers. Specifically, they loved the pace that Spinone hunt, the way they work the bird’s scent before going on point, and as one officer told me, “these dogs are very thorough, when they hunt an area, you know they didn’t miss a bird.”