I didn’t get to enjoy much pheasant hunting this year, so I was fortunate enough to take my three labs, out for a day of chasing birds at Viking Valley Hunt Club, located in Ashby, MN. Yes, that’s right, I have three labs: Kati, my yellow will be 11; Mady, my black is 6 and Lucie, my chocolate is 2 years old, and yes, I hunt with them, most of the time all together. I can’t bring one out without the other knowing and putting up a fuss.
This past Saturday was no different of my girls (that’s what I call my dogs) just somehow knowing that we were going hunting. As I was getting my shotgun cased and my pheasant jacket on, they were crying, howling and shaking with excitement. It’s no wonder one didn’t have a heart attack with the fuss they were creating.
Darrell, my husband and I got them situated in the backseat of the truck and we headed to our destination.
We had requested a smaller field because Kati, our oldest lab, has elbow dysplasia but it doesn’t stop her from hunting as she’ll go until she can’t move. Because we know her condition, as well as her drive to hunt, we take special precautions to make sure that she’s able to go with and hunt without over doing it.
The birds had been placed shortly before we arrived and we were told that because we were the only hunters for the day, we could check out adjoining fields for “scratch” birds if we wanted. As soon as we reached our field and opened the truck doors, the dog’s noses were going in high gear.
Darrell and I spread out in the field and let the dogs start to “work”. Watching them work is one of my favorite things when we’re in the field. They all have different ways to find the birds, but they’re all successful. Plus, they seem to learn from each other different tricks that I can’t show them. I’m fortunate because they all work really well together.
It wasn’t long before Mady was on the scent; nose to the ground, she was on a mission. She worked the grass, tail wagging 100mph in anticipation of what she was after. Suddenly a nice rooster flushed into the pines. Unfortunately, I didn’t have a clear shot and the bird flew through the trees and across the slough.
We continued to trek through the CRP grass and pretty soon Kati was locked in on a hen. That bird held tight and wasn’t going to move. Kati had to push it with her muzzle to get it to flush. As soon as it rose, Darrell took aim and hit the target. 1st bird for the day!
All the dogs got to smell the bird and lots of praise was given. You could see their excitement increase. A few more birds were flushed and more shots taken. We hadn’t found all the birds after one complete pass so we decided to do another walk through. Lucie began to get “birdy”; her tail going round and round and round. I knew she was on something, so I quickly caught up.
She went around one pine tree, then another and another, the whole time her tail was going faster and faster…..pretty soon she finally caught up with that running bird and he flushed. Luckily I was right behind her to take a shot. Another bird on the ground!
We walked a little bit more and checked out one of the other fields, but because the snow was still pretty deep and the girls were getting tired, we decided to call it a day. It was definitely a great day! All three of the dogs had flushed birds and both Darrell and I had successfully shooting. We couldn’t have asked for much more.