Friday, November 15, 2013

Georgia, the story continues…

Room to run in the big woods.
At a little over two and a half years of age, it was Georgia’s third foray up to the big north woods with me. Her owners, both non-hunters, loved that their shorthair got the chance to experience “what she was bred for”.
Her first year she just tagged along, playing as much as hunting and learning what life is all about. Ruffed grouse baffled her, but occasionally a woodcock would hold for a point. The second season it all started to come together, and during the second week of that trip she pointed her first ruffed grouse. There were more points that week, as it all started to come together, but also periods of over-exuberance (read: unruly flushing of grouse, most far enough away that they could be heard but not seen).  And then this fall, after a couple of rather rowdy days burning off steam, she settled down and hunted like a champ, pointing over a dozen grouse, politely honoring on still more than that, and doing both on countless woodcock.
Georgia with a bird pinned.
In her puppy days, Georgia had been taught the basic manners that all dogs should be taught, but since then has had almost no training in hunting. Before taking her north for the second season, we did a little work on planted pigeons and stalked a few pheasants that the state of Massachusetts had nicely provided, but I doubt there was five hours of training all together.
Before heading north this year I took her out into the fields behind the house to find pigeons that I’d planted, and she solidly pointed every single one of them. Georgia did it with such regularity that it was almost boring to work with her. Again, we only trained a few of hours, total.
Three tired dogs.
Her breeders, Hedgehog Hill Shorthairs in Belmont, Vermont, did a spectacular job of breeding for temperament balanced with hunting skills. Georgia was so well mannered this year that I’ve told people it was as if she knew she was a guest and wouldn’t be invited back again if she misbehaved. It was a pleasure to have her in the house as well as on the hunt.
We won’t get north again this season, so now it’s the waiting, but it’s only three hundred and twenty days until it’s October again! I think Georgia has the days marked on a calendar in her kennel.

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