Friday, November 2, 2018

Hiking or Hunting

Can the dogs tell the difference?

Colby helping Val
pick blueberries.
We love our dogs and treat them like family members. That means they go almost everywhere with us and enjoy outdoor activities that can be shared with them. A great way to keep bird dogs in shape during the summer is to take them hiking. We are fortunate to live where upland birds are abundant and hiking trails abound. Can our dogs tell the difference between a day of hunting and a day of hiking? Of course they can.
Whenever we work the dogs on birds, whether hunting or training, they wear collars with bells attached. Hearing those bells brings on a level of excitement that exceeds anything else. The dogs love to go on a hike during the off season, but it isn’t the same as putting on those belled collars.
Val and our old girl Chara
on a summer time hike.
In April and May, when ruffed grouse and woodcock are nesting and have young broods, we hike less and pick our walks carefully so not disrupt the birds. April up here can be muddy and is a great time to work on the next year’s firewood supply. May is a great time to do a little trout fishing.
During normal summer hikes, the dogs run ahead and make swings back through the woods, just hunting for fun, but generally don’t go too far. The exercise keeps them and us in shape. There are frequented trails that they remember and longer trips to explore new country, sometimes miles in the woods. It's a great way to find new bird country and sometimes a beaver pond to fish.
Slip on those collars with bells and they kick into high gear, hunt hard, and point solidly on birds. The transition is like flipping a switch.

Maggie on another summertime hike.


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