Tag Archives: upland hunting

Gumbo is a new junior hunter!

24 Apr

I’m proud to report that Gumbo completed his junior hunter title on Saturday! Conditions were ideal – the sun was out and temperatures were in the 40s/50s. MUCH better than the 90 degree temperatures we had to deal with a few weeks ago.

Gumbo’s bracemate was a no show, so he got bumped to the bottom of the running order to run with a bye dog. While waiting, we watched a number of dogs go birdless. I was a little concerned by this, but the course seemed pretty straightforward. It was basically just a grassy field. However, it was lacking in objectives. I did learn a trick from the long grass though – follow the 4 wheeler tracks :-).

Gumbo had a pretty nice honor in the back field. I wasn’t expecting it and although I have been calling him away from other dogs on point (since it is not a requirement in juniors), I let him work in the area because he made it pretty clear he wasn’t going to bust in on the point. The other handler was nice enough to work around a little bit and Gumbo ended up sharing the point. I wasn’t sure this would be enough to qualify though.

We took the lead entering the bird field, and Gumbo found a bird within the first two minutes. The judges yelled “got it”, and I knew we were home free. He found a second bird shortly after his first, and I slowed him down to work the untouched part of the bird field until time was called. He came across a third bird and hit an absolutely stunning point. He held it beautifully and let me flush it without trying to bust in at all. The judges called time immediately afterwards and congratulated me (knowing this was Gumbo’s last leg). It was a really fun way to end our junior hunter adventures.

This will be our last hunt test of the spring as Ilsa and Gumbo need quite a bit of work before they are ready to compete at the senior level. We will continue to work until the fall season and of course keep you updated along the way :-).

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Hooked on field training

10 Feb

Our introduction to the world of hunting upland game came during the new year holiday of 2011.  We were invited to join some vizsla friends for a 3 day trip to Rend Lake, Illinois for some pheasant hunting.  Little did we know what we were getting ourselves into!

In preparation for the expedition, we purchased what we thought were field clothes, ordered field collars for the dogs, and packed up.  As we were driving to the lodge, Ben asked me what all the excitement was with regards to hunting.  My naive answer was something like “Well, best I can tell it involves walking around in the freezing cold wearing a very unflattering shade of orange.”  [Note, I’m still not a fan of wearing blaze orange but obviously understand the importance of being visible for safety reasons.]

Anyway, we hit the field for the first time with 4 experienced hunters, 1 field champion, and 3 master hunters… WOW!  After the first 10 minutes, the field champion struck a hard point and didn’t move.  She didn’t even blink!  It was amazing!  Her owner stepped in the flush the bird, shot the bird, and then it was retrieved perfectly to hand.  This field champion was so exuberant in the field it was magnificent to watch!  We were hooked!  A little later in the morning, the same field champion went on point again and both the dogs in the field with her honored in the most spectacular way.  I was floored!  I couldn’t believe that 2 high-energy vizslas stopped hard to honor a fellow hunter who found a bird.  This was (and still is) amazing!

Now, we spend our weekends training our vizslas and ourselves to hunt upland game.  We buy Valentine’s gifts of bird launchers and anniversary gifts of e-collars!  Even my new pajama pants have bird dogs and pheasants on them… we are totally loving every minute of this.

For those who haven’t seen a vizsla work a field in search for birds, it is truly something else!  I couldn’t truly appreciate it until I saw it for myself.  It is safe to say, I’m bird dog crazy!

Happy weekend!