The Gladiator Enters the Coliseum

 The day started with a two hour drive. We arrive early  at the hunting grounds for a preserve hunt. This is the first time on the ground in a hunting situation for Max. 

 I have introduced Max to birds and guns but have not been able to put it all together for him.

 This trip was going to be a combination of training and hunting for the young gladiator.

 The birds get put out and the owner of the place tells my buddy and I where we will be hunting and what the boundaries are. We drive to the area of the preserve that we will be hunting.

 After we park, we discuss what I would like to accomplish with Max. I let my buddy know I would like him to shoot and I will handle the dog. We are all set and we release the pup. So even though there is no crowd cheering wildly in the stands the gladiator enters the Coliseum of the Uplands.

 Before we go much further I need to talk about the conditions a little. The temperature is very warm in the mid seventies. The humidity is high. There is very little wind if any. The cover is still really green and has not thinned out yet. So this is going to be a challenging day for the older dogs never mind the young one.

 I put Max on the ground and after a few minutes we get a point. We move in. I hold the pup to start letting him know that this is a team effort. We flush and he waits. We get the flush but no shot as the bird flew for the thickest blow down mess that I have seen in a long time.

 I call him off the chase and he responds very well. As we start heading in another direction we get another point. We go through the same routine as last time and again get no shot as this bird does not present a safe shot.  Now I get a little concerned about the birds being used and I don’t want to use all of them for the pup.

 We continue to move on in the same direction. This time I get a very tall point and he isn’t moving. I am pretty excited because he is finding the birds and is now starting to hold them for us to flush. We just need to put it together. We move in for the flush and up goes a rooster pheasant.

 A little caveat here, this is the first pheasant that Max has encountered. All summer it has been quail.

  This bird flushes high and starts to fly in a direction that presents a good shot. Max is in full pursuit and my buddy drops the bird with one shot. There was no reaction from Max other than him pouncing on the bird. I am super excited about this. We have finally connected the dots for him and all the gun introduction work that we did has paid off. 

 After a picture because this is his first bird, we move out again. We get another point and flush and this time a quail goes up and the shot brings the escape to a quick halt. Max is on this bird quickly. So now I am really happy because there is no sign of any concern for the gun and he just wants to hunt.

 We head back to the truck and give him some water. I get the older dog out and my buddy puts his dog on the ground.

 We start out again with all three dogs hunting. Max is showing some independence and not just chasing the older dogs. As we move through the woods and fields we come across other birds that are put out for us. The older dogs get a few points and I bring Max in for a back. He hits the scent and points. Not really a back but the beginning of teaching it to him. 

 Now my older dog decides to range out a little bit and by the time I check the tracker he is about one hundred yards out and on point. So I turn Max towards him and start to close the distance. We come around a corner and Max sees him and moves up to him. Max goes past him, hits the scent and goes on point. I am really happy to see both my dogs on point and take it in. Again not a true back but the beginning of one.

  As I move in for the flush the pressure seems to get to the bird and up goes a nice large rooster. I cut his escape short with one shot. Both dogs are on him quickly and they share the retrieve. In all honesty I believe that Max was trying to steal the bird, but I will take it.

 We hunt for a while and then head back to the truck to water and let the dogs and hunters take a break. It is really humid and that makes the already warm day feel so much hotter.

 We rest until the dogs are not panting heavy and seem ready to go again. This time we take advantage of being the only ones around. We head out across a dirt road and into an area where we saw a few pheasants flush. 

 As we start moving out Max and my buddy’s dog are to the front. Max is running in front and misses a bird. The other dog goes on point and it is a really nice looking point. Max starts to come back towards me and honors the point. This is a no kidding back and I admire it for a couple of minutes. When I finally realize that I should get the camera out the bird is flushed and shot and retrieved. I missed an opportunity at a great picture unfortunately. However it is burned into my memory and I hope to recall it fondly for years to come.

 We move to the end of the field. We then move through some trees to another field. As we get to the long end of the field all three dogs lock up. Up go two more roosters. I knock one down and get a retrieve from my older dog.

  We move through this field and then a cut corn field and get no more action. Next to the corn field is a man made impoundment that my old dog can’t stay out of. So he swims back and forth. No big deal it is hot and he is a good swimmer. As we come to the end of the impoundment Max goes on point and then rushes in. This is different, up go two mallards. These birds fly to the far end of the corn field with Max in hot pursuit. I check the tracker and he is two hundred and thirty yards away. I give him the tone on the collar and three whistle blasts and he recalls all the way back. This makes me so happy that the obedience work that we did all summer actually stuck.

 This was our last excitement for the day as I checked the time on the ground and realized that we have been at it for over two hours and didn’t want to over use the pup.

 I put both dogs at heel and we all head to the truck.. After we arrive at the truck I water the dogs and set up for the pictures of the birds and dogs together.

 This is the first hunt that Max has done and I think he did amazingly. I know that people are going to say “Of course he did, he is your dog and you are biased.”  The affirmation of my thought came from my friend at the end of the day when he says that Max handled his birds well for a young dog and did a good job. That made me happy that he did well enough to get a good review from another dog guy. 

 This was such a rewarding day, to see Max put it all together and really start to come into his own. We will work on some manners and I am sure he will only continue to get better each  time he enters the Coliseum of the Uplands.

4 Replies to “The Gladiator Enters the Coliseum”

    1. Thanks for the comments. It was a day to remember that is certain. I wish I was a little faster with the camera to get some of the great pictures that I missed. There will be more to come. Thank you for joining the conversation.

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