My new bird dog is still too little to hunt

I’m missing most of the upland bird and waterfowl season this year, because I’m spending what free time I have training a new bird dog. The dog training is fun and rewarding, but I still wish I could get out in the field to actually hunt more.

I wish I could have timed it better this year, but my new bird dog wasn’t born in time to get out and actually hunt this season. He’s coming along nicely in his training, and I could take him out after some sharptails or pheasants, but he’s still pretty small. He knows how to retrieve, and he’s kicked several birds out of the weeds in the pasture, so I know he has the instincts to flush the birds for me. But if I were to knock down a grouse or a pheasant, let alone a goose, he’d have a hard time bringing it back to me. He’s growing fast, but he’s still not big enough to bring back a big bird.

I did take him out in the pasture to see if we could get some practical training on some doves last week, because there are still quite a few of them around. Most of the ones still in the area are the Eurasian collared doves, which are slightly bigger than mourning doves, but I think Copper could handle one. Unfortunately, our training session ended up just being a long walk with some practice sitting still and waiting, because no doves chose to fly through while we were out there.

I could go hunting with friends who have full-grown dogs, or I could walk the field near my house where I have permission to hunt, but now that I have a hunting dog of my own again, I just want to hunt with him. I may break down and go with a friend before the season closes, because the hunting bug is starting to bite harder than the hunting with my own dog bug, but so far, I’ve managed to fend it off.

Even if Copper’s not big enough by the end of the wild bird season, the pen-raised bird season will still be going. He should be big enough for me to go to a hunting ranch in a month or two and buy a few pheasants for him to flush. I just wish he’d grow a little faster.

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