Exposure To Geese and Guns- Introducing Your Puppy To Hunting
It was 4:30am and I was awake before my alarm even went off. The excitement I had for this particular hunt was pushing me to get up and get going. First thing I had to do was wake my new hunting partner and hope he would be just as excited. I went to his carrier and whispered, "Tank, Tank, ready to go hunting?" He sprang up and began whining....I took that as a sign he was definately ready to go!
The newest member of our hunting crew is "Tank", a 12 week old white Labrador Retriever. I say white because that is exactly what he is. Most people would just call him yellow but I feel like he deserves to be described just as beautiful and unique as he truly is. He will be registered as a yellow because at this time the only recognized colors belonging to this breed are yellow, chocolate, and black. The AKC and UKC are currently considering the recognition of white and silver labs and we should be informed soon whether or not they have decided to accept them into the standard.
So, we got loaded up and headed out to a promising location where we hoped to have successful Canadian Goose Hunt. Tank was watching out the window the entire time anxiously waiting for us to stop. Every corner we took he perked up and looked at us as if to say, "are we there yet?" Already at 12 weeks of age we have exposed him to retrieving live pigeons in our training area, took him on his very first dove hunt, and now this. He knew something fun was about to happen!
We arrived and began setting up our decoy spread. Tank, as usual, followed right at our heals watching every move we made. It was amazing to see how curious he was to this new situation but yet he had no fear. He checked out every possible inch of the area and was instinctively drawn to the goose feathers and droppings that had been left by the live flock the day before. I think when he found all this he knew exactly what was going to happen.
Before we knew it everything was ready and we were in our blinds listening to a group draw closer and closer to our spread. Tank sat next to me lunging forward trying to jump out and chase what he was hearing. I held him tight and repeated, "Bird, Bird, Bird." When the shot was called I immediately opened the blind and let him watch the birds fall from the sky. He was trying so hard to break free from my hold and run to the birds! It was amazing to be experiencing this moment with him! The instinct he was showing gave me chills and I felt so proud to know he was our hunting partner!
Once it was safe to let him go I gave his release command and watched proudly. He followed the adult dog, who had been patiently waiting in his own blind, and ran across the field to find their birds. Even though Tank is to small to retrieve such a large bird, it didn't stop him from trying! It was one of the funniest things to watch, but yet it was extremely satisfying to know that he has that drive every hunter hopes to see in a young pup.
I have no doubt as we continue his training and exposure to all hunting situations he will continue to excell. This was a day that we will remember forever and hopefully be blessed with many more to follow as Tank grows and learns.
-Kelly Olson Professional Gundog Breeder
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Introducing Your Puppy To Hunting By Sully Chaudry