With a younger Lab, I wanted to ease Ruby into dove season and passed on invitations for opening day. Being 30 yards from shouting, shooting, and other dogs is too much for a four year old, and I didn’t want to spend the afternoon yelling at her and tracking her down. We went out alone yesterday to an ideal hunting spot along a nice piece of creek. I had been consciously leaving Ruby outside in the evenings, and throwing dummys for her to acclimate her to the heat.
We probably got out too early as there were initially no birds and Ruby did what Labs do in the presence of water, she swam, and swam, and swam. Since there were no birds flying, I let her have the fun, taking a walk every once in awhile just to keep her mind in the game.
Once we saw some activity, I called her in and she did fairly well, although several missed birds just HAD to be fully investigated. With time, she will learn what “no bird” means, as she will unfortunately hear it many, many times if hunting with me. I purposely took an old 12 gauge this time, hoping to improve my average for her and it worked well. Once she calms down, I’ll go back to a 20.
For now, she is coming along well and is a pleasure to hunt with. I intend to re-visit yesterday’s hunting spot next week after she recovers. My place is in the South Zone and does not open for another week. Once it opens, we have that and several other places for quiet hunts and better birds. Trips like this one tune her up for the future excitement of hunting a stocktank with another dog or two.
Tired, sore, and with tender paws, Ruby is taking the day off, but has some good memories of her opening day, 2019.