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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Oct 2007
    Location
    Wiltshire
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    7,719

    Default And off we go once more.

    The partridge season is under way and today is my first day out picking up this season and only 49 more to go! I approach it with my usual feeling of anticipation but this year it is combined with more than a touch of trepidation.

    I am bringing out a new dog to join the team. 16 months old English springer who is full of enthusiasm as most of the breed are. A very tall and long young dog who would give many a greyhound a run for his money. Once he settles down I think he will be a good picking up dog. He already shows signs of being a real hedgerow specialist.

    I will have to tread carefully and not to let him do too much today.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Oct 2007
    Location
    Wiltshire
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    Default Re: And off we go once more.

    I can relax now. Young Juneau performed extremely well for his first day. Found & retreived two partridges and worked very hard. There are a lot of hares on this estate and I've been a bit concerned about him chasing. We pushed up four and while he had a little gallop after three of them I was able to stop him quickly. The fourth one jumped right under our feet and a stern word stopped Juneau in his tracks.

    So, all in all a satisfactory start to the season. Far too hot though.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jun 2014
    Location
    Provence, France
    Posts
    1,132

    Default Re: And off we go once more.

    Bob, please keep us informed as to how young Juneau gets on as the season progresses.
    I'm not a hunting man now, to my regret, it's complicated but I really do miss that interaction with my environment.
    One day, ...maybe !
    I've recently lost my dog after 16 years, it's far to soon but my thoughts are a wandering.
    I've been googling sprockers when feeling low.
    I've never had a trained hunting dog but from what I've read it's sounds like a great partnership/exchange, something I'd like to get involved in one day, ... Maybe !
    I'm looking forward to hearing all about your trials and tribulations
    Thanks Bob.
    Last edited by corto maltese; 13-09-2019 at 07:23 PM.
    Yes, I do heartily repent. I repent I had not done more mischief; and that we did not cut the throats of them that took us, and I am extremely sorry that you aren't hanged as well as we.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Oct 2007
    Location
    Wiltshire
    Posts
    7,719

    Default Re: And off we go once more.

    Quote Originally Posted by corto maltese View Post
    Bob, please keep us informed as to how young Juneau gets on as the season progresses.
    I'm not a hunting man now, to my regret, it's complicated but I really do miss that interaction with my environment.
    One day, ...maybe !
    I've recently lost my dog after 16 years, it's far to soon but my thoughts are a wandering.
    I've been googling sprockers when feeling low.
    I've never had a trained hunting dog but from what I've read it's sounds like a great partnership/exchange, something I'd like to get involved in one day, ... Maybe !
    I'm looking forward to hearing all about your trials and tribulations
    Thanks Bob.
    I'll try to keep you updated for sure. Juneau is the 7th ESS I have brought into the shooting field and in many respect he has been the most difficult to train. Not only that, I had to leave him with a river keeper friend together with the other three ESS I have for 7 weeks this summer while my wife and I were away.

    We returned with about 5 weeks to go before Day 1 so you can readily understand my feeling a bit apprehensive this morning.

    We did very little on the first drive other than let the team have a bit of a run over the ground to stretch their legs. Drive 2 was serious work and Juneau worked well and responded to the whistle exactly as he should. the senior dog, Toby, picked two and Number 2 dog Sarsen also picked 2. I was very pleased when Juneau popped out of the hedge and delivered his first. It took Sarsen three days to pick his first partridge as a young dog and he has become a picking up dog anyone would be proud to have.

    There really is no bond quite like that between a man and his working dog. It is pure magic.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jun 2014
    Location
    Provence, France
    Posts
    1,132

    Default Re: And off we go once more.

    I've only ever had one experience of having a working dog "look after me"
    I was lucky enough to be invited to a driven pheasent shoot when I was younger. I was lent an older female ess called Pip, a day I'll never forget, I've not forgotten her name after all these years. She picked up the two I downed without needing to be told and spent all morning at my feet at my post criticising my skills with her eyes !
    In the afternoon we had a walk through/rough shoot, more of the style that I was used to. That was something else, I've always rough shot on my own but that interaction with a dog, moving in front of me, flushing out, turning round to make sure the inexperienced amatuer was keeping up, doing his part in her team, filled me with joy, another dimension to my shooting pleasure, it felt bl**y good. That dog was brilliant, she flushed me the only hare I've taken and a woodcock.
    I've never forgotten that, it was probably the high light of my short shooting life and now I am dog less and ruminating I can't help but keep revisiting that day.
    I do like the look of and nice things I'm reading about sprockers.
    I don't shoot here in France, it's not the same vibe, I have a lot of shooting freinds here but I'd rather not spend time in the field with them, it's just not the same mentality as back home. That's sounds terribly snobbish but I'm not and it's not. I used to shoot alone in my own rented wood, here it's a free for all and no land is private, I like to shoot alone, or with four legged company !
    So even if I took a working dog and didn't shoot, I'm sure I could stimulate her enough to take pleasure in a long walk, going fishing and playing.
    Don't you think ?
    Yes, I do heartily repent. I repent I had not done more mischief; and that we did not cut the throats of them that took us, and I am extremely sorry that you aren't hanged as well as we.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Oct 2007
    Location
    Wiltshire
    Posts
    7,719

    Default Re: And off we go once more.

    Quote Originally Posted by corto maltese View Post
    !
    So even if I took a working dog and didn't shoot, I'm sure I could stimulate her enough to take pleasure in a long walk, going fishing and playing.
    Don't you think ?
    I thoroughly enjoy walking with my dogs, & let's face it, I do a hell of a lot of it as they need to be out twice a day. So that's about 40 minutes in the morning and an hour or more in the afternoon.

    BUT, and it's a very big BUT, there is no kick like seeing your young dog doing his first retreive; or any of them finding that pheasant that everyone had given up as lost; or sending the selected dog out 3 or 400 metres for that fast running cock pheasant; or watching the dog work out just where that wounded partridge is in that dense cover. Those are the moments we remember for ever.

    My first picking up dog was a black flatcoat. I still remember his best ever retrieve that brought the whole shoot to a standstill while everyone, guns, beaters and all stopped to watch & the head keeper on what was a very big and prestigious shoot said it was the best he had ever seen. The dog was buried there several years later.

    Walking with the dogs is great, but working with them as a partnership brings a whole new meaning to dog ownership.

  7. #7

    Default Re: And off we go once more.

    Good luck with your season and new dog Bob We've been out on the moors for a month now. One big driven day on th 12th with all the bells and whistles for the owners, followed by 2 gun teams over pointers. Our lowland shoots have yet to start but are eagerly awaited

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
    Location
    Scotland
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    3,986

    Default Re: And off we go once more.

    Stories from the beating...
    I used to go to the Pheasant beating around Edinburgh and Dumfries and Galloway, one time at a beat just outside Edinburgh a dog goes charging of out of control, the keeper shouts whoever owns the dog is going home, a reply comes back well you had better leave its your dog ��

    Al

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    Location
    Dorset Wilts Borders & Baja
    Posts
    2,524
    Blog Entries
    1

    Default Re: And off we go once more.

    September Partridge time.We too are away Bob.Have a look at Shotaway Films on YouTube.I lost my best ESS pal Kip in 2017.I have worked three dogs in past seasons but as the years piled on I was down to one and he was a star.I am of that age now where having second thoughts about taking on another working dog but I have some wonderful memories from over 40 years of working companions in the field.Never say never but have think twice and seriously.Highly recommend the experience to anyone with the overriding factor being take the time and do it right.In most cases I have witnessed many owners need training much more than the dogs..

    Best JP

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Oct 2007
    Location
    Wiltshire
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    Default Re: And off we go once more.

    Second day yesterday and once again the sun shone and it was far too warm even for September partridges. Juneau found 2 on the first drive and then brought in his first wounded partridge on the second. Big step forward.

    He does like to show off a bit when he thinks he's done well. Lots of wriggling which is quite funny.

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