I wrote this post in late January, but accidentally deleted it. It was such a fun experience, I had to add it back in .
During the last few weeks of the chukar season I decided that I wanted to get Annie, the Brittney Spaniel we are training, out on wild birds. She is a bit young (14 weeks), but so long as shooting over her would not produce any gun sensitivity, I thought any experience this season on wild birds would not be a bonus; she could dream about finding chukars all during the off-season.
I have been working with gun sensitivity with her during mealtimes and she hasn’t shown any reaction at all to gun shots. Nevertheless, I decided that I would forgo any shots right over her head and only take ones away from the puppy.
I got Annie out with about two hours left to hunt. She was clueless, but had a great time following one of the older dogs around the steep rocky slopes. She did a great job and only had to be lifted over obstacles a few times. When we got into birds it worked out perfectly. Allie, my older dog (18 months) hit scent and started working a flock around a rock outcrop. Annie saw her excitement and started following the scent. She was behind me by 10 yards or so when the covey flushed, but she saw one of the birds fall, thanks to the sweet 16 o/u.
Allie was right on the downed bird, but aside from a broken wing the bird was in good shape and it still had its feet. We worked the scent but were having a little trouble coming up with the bird. Then I looked over and Annie, the 14 week old puppy was nosing up into a cavity under two rocks. Mistakenly, I pulled her off and went back to where the bird hit and left some feathers and we tried to initiate the search again. After a few minutes I looked over and Annie was again working the little cavity, so I decided to trust her and we went over to investigate. Darned if that little puppy didn’t come up with that chukar way up under the rock. The hole was so tight that the older dog couldn’t fit, but little Annie was just right and she pulled out a fluttering flabbergasted chukar. Needless to say I was beaming. We’ll both be dreaming of that one all through the off-season.