The best compliment for a bird hunter: I want a bird dog like yours
Last autumn, on a bird hunting trip with Anthony Hauck, Pheasants Forever’s online editor, we stopped by my brother’s house in Rhinelander, Wis. Anthony’s little nugget of a bird dog, “Sprig,” was in tow.
Sprig, an English cocker spaniel, made fast friends with my niece, nephew, and brother. So much so that my sister-in-law, Julie, said that Sprig might be just the ticket for helping push my brother over the ledge to adding a bird dog to their busy family. We ventured further on the trip to Escanaba, Michigan where both my parents also offered to “take Sprig off Anthony’s hands.”
While “nice shot,” is always an appreciated sentiment on a pheasant hunt, I don’t think there is any greater compliment for a bird hunter than a fellow hunter remarking “I want a bird dog like yours.” For all the trials of potty training and the tribulations of obedience afield, bird dogs provide the greatest rewards when others appreciate the fruits of your labor.
Although my immediate family seems fixated on Anthony’s Sprig, I’ve been honored to have many hunting partners comment on their desire to have a shorthair like my “Trammell” pup. A few have even gone so far as to connect with Trammell’s breeder and seek out her bloodlines. That’s a fact I’m flattered by . . . although Top Gun Kennel’s breeding has more to do with Trammell’s prowess than any training I accomplished.
At its foundation, following the bloodlines of a bird dog you enjoy hunting behind is a great formula for finding a bird dog pup that you’ll cherish for a decade and more. Have you ever pursued the pup or breeding of a hunting partner’s stellar bird dog?